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Book four in Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune Chronicles--one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction. Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world's savior, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity's future, he sacrificed his ow Book four in Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune Chronicles--one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction. Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world's savior, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity's future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years. Leto's rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman. A rebellion, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family, has risen to oppose the despot's rule. But Siona is unaware that Leto's vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted--or could possibly conceive.... Includes an introduction by Brian Herbert


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Book four in Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune Chronicles--one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction. Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world's savior, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity's future, he sacrificed his ow Book four in Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune Chronicles--one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction. Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world's savior, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity's future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years. Leto's rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman. A rebellion, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family, has risen to oppose the despot's rule. But Siona is unaware that Leto's vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted--or could possibly conceive.... Includes an introduction by Brian Herbert

30 review for God Emperor of Dune

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    Thirty five hundred years has passed since the end of the previous book. Leto II (I will just call him Leto for the sake of brevity) has been the God Emperor of the known Universe practically all this time. He is not shy about using pure despotic methods of governing when he feels like it. Unfortunately with all his infinite wisdom he forgot the most important one: a smart despot knows when to leave; the stupid one remains in power until his subjects remove his head – against his wishes obviousl Thirty five hundred years has passed since the end of the previous book. Leto II (I will just call him Leto for the sake of brevity) has been the God Emperor of the known Universe practically all this time. He is not shy about using pure despotic methods of governing when he feels like it. Unfortunately with all his infinite wisdom he forgot the most important one: a smart despot knows when to leave; the stupid one remains in power until his subjects remove his head – against his wishes obviously. As a result practically everybody and their brother want Leto gone. Heck, I wanted him gone. I can only think of two exceptions: his fanatical and specially cultivated Fish Speakers and his majordomo Monteo scared into submission by constant mood changes of his not entirely human and sometimes homicidal boss. Unfortunately Leto is very slow when it comes to taking a hint, so he stays. He continues making endless philosophical speeches about everything in a true prophet fashion: in the most runaround possible way. Ask the guy (being) about the color of the sky and you will receive a speech worth a couple of pages. I assure you, you will not find word “blue” anywhere in the answer. Thus Leto committed the ultimate sin: you can be a despot and sometimes your people can tolerate and even forgive you, but absolutely nobody wants an Emperor who baubles non-stop. This leads to total rebellion. The book has an excellent beginning which made me really excited. Thirty five hundred years has passed and it means all the annoying people of the first trilogy are long dead. The story starts with a great action scene (the only one in the book, it turned out later) featuring Dune rebels. The philosophical speeches of Leto were quite refreshing in the beginning. I loved what I was reading more than the last two books and thought everybody who gave the novel low rating had no clue. About 150 pages later the rebels mysteriously disappeared never to be heard again. Leto’s word diarrhea started to get on my nerves. Blah blah blah Golden Path blah blah blah I am not a despot blah blah. A normal human being can only read so much of it before it gets really old. I need to add that Leto never bothers to explain what the Golden Path is about except that humanity is doomed without it. Both Leto and the author himself try to convince the readers – real and imaginary – that the God Emperor is not a despot, using exactly the same arguments every single despot in recorded history justified his behavior, including the classic one: My answer to Leto would be slightly paraphrased well-known saying: if you walk like a despot and quack like a despot – you are a despot. What else do you call a monarch with unlimited power who kills his subjects when he is in the right mood? No Golden Path can change it. In the last part of the book – where I get to on sheer willpower – Leto finally shut up to my surprise. The moment he did everybody started to behave like teens on serious hormone overdose. My apologies to teens in real life; this is a cliché and rarely happens. I mean to this extent. Let me just mention that all the people in question were grown-up adults; I am not even sure this term applies to Leto. I suddenly realized I became a faithful of God Emperor as I promptly went down on my knees and prayed, “Oh, God Emperor! Hear your faithful. Please enlighten your undeserving worm with one of your heavenly speeches and make these kids stop”. Needless to say my prayer was not answered. So much for God Emperor. One of the first disappointments of the book was continuous recycling of poor Duncan Idaho. Leto seems to be fond of resurrecting him and killing the guy the moment he showed an independent thought. How many times do you want to stumble upon the same stone? As many times as can fit into thirty five hundred years that is how many. His personality changed dramatically: in the three books he was a selfish hero completely loyal to his masters (the way dogs are loyal). In this book he is a lovesick teen – well in mature age by years count. Then again if Leto being 3509 years old acts the same, there is no shame for Duncan to behave so. One of the biggest plot holes is related to this guy as well. To explain it I assume everybody knows Dune – from the book, or movies. The original guy died a heroic death giving Paul and Jessica time to escape. His countless clones keep his memory. Yet during the first meeting of a brand new Duncan Idaho – fresh from a cloning factory – and Leto II the latter asks, “Do you remember me?” Duncan answer with yes. Leto II was born way after the original Duncan died. How the hell his clone was supposed to remember him? Especially considering the fact that the current incarnation spent the majority of his time wondering what happened to previous ones? There is no way the memories are shared between incarnations. One more fact I found hard to believe: nothing much changed during 3500 years between the books. Even considering that Leto suppressed all changes, that many years is a lot of time. May I remind you the whole recorded history of humanity took less than that and look at where we are now. We do not have any wars anymore. Sorry, scrap that. We go to work by flying cars. Sorry, scrap that too. We conquered terminal diseases like cancer and AIDS. Sorry, I keep coming up with bad examples. I guess we are still not that different from our distant ancestors who just discovered the wonders of controlled fire. The whole book is way below the level of the first trilogy. This is not just my opinion. The original illustrator thought so too and decided a phallic symbol is needed to salvage the novel. And thus the following cover was born: This cover promptly ends up among the top three positions of all worst science fiction covers lists by the way. This shows people have no appreciation for true art. Herbert himself used similar symbolism in the novel when Leto commanded a woman dying of thirst to caress the inside folds of his worm body until water mixed with spice comes out to satisfy the woman’s thirst. I am not even commenting on this one. So the book started on strong 4 star rating level which became 2 stars fairly fast and remained this way until the end when it ended up in 1 star territory. It is not completely hopeless and Leto’s ramblings are interesting until they overstay their welcome, so 2 stars is the final rating.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katrina MacWhirter

    I hated this book the first time I read it. Hated every person in it, did not understand why anyone acted the way they did. Now it's one of my top-ten comfort reads, and I see so much in Leto I want for myself. Dune was the perfect hero book, and then Herbert turned the trope of “boy becomes Messiah and saves the noble people” on its head with Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. In those two volumes, everything assumed and trusted became so much sand, and a son had to destroy his Messiah father’s I hated this book the first time I read it. Hated every person in it, did not understand why anyone acted the way they did. Now it's one of my top-ten comfort reads, and I see so much in Leto I want for myself. Dune was the perfect hero book, and then Herbert turned the trope of “boy becomes Messiah and saves the noble people” on its head with Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. In those two volumes, everything assumed and trusted became so much sand, and a son had to destroy his Messiah father’s legacy to save the universe from religious genocide and tyranny. We closed on the boy becoming yet another saviour and had only a vague, hopeful idea of what he intended to do next. Herbert could have left us there, many thought he would when he finished his Dune Trilogy. Instead, he published his most difficult and daring book yet. In Emperor, we discover that the boy’s plan to save humanity from tyranny is... to become the ultimate Tyrant, and Predator of humankind. Yeah, I’m with you. Just say “huh?” and get it over with. I can’t explain without giving plot away. Emperor is a masterpiece of philosophy, and the best book in the series, but I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped somewhere in the middle and stuffed it to the back of your shelf for ten years before you gave it another chance. Who am I to argue? I did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    [SPOILER ALERT: if you never read Children of Dune STOP NOW!] Leto II is now the God Emperor after merging with the sandtrout and becoming a monstrous worm-man powered by melange. He rules the known universe with an iron fist - not unlike his Aunt Alya did actually - but this is of course because he is SAVING the human race from itself. He has an army of woman, the Fish Speakers, that carry out his bidding spreading terror and, still, peace across his vast domain. He has reigned for 3000+ years a [SPOILER ALERT: if you never read Children of Dune STOP NOW!] Leto II is now the God Emperor after merging with the sandtrout and becoming a monstrous worm-man powered by melange. He rules the known universe with an iron fist - not unlike his Aunt Alya did actually - but this is of course because he is SAVING the human race from itself. He has an army of woman, the Fish Speakers, that carry out his bidding spreading terror and, still, peace across his vast domain. He has reigned for 3000+ years and sees the end nearing. There is a lot of philosophy here and it is interesting. perhaps it gets a little slow. I know several people that get fed up with the Tleilaxu ghola of Duncan Idaho's appearance (and, yes, he is back in Heretics of Dune as well). But overall, it was a good read. One thing I still don't understand - and perhaps someone more versant in the Dune universe will enlighten me - is what was the threat to humanity that the Golden Path was initiated to alleviate? Was it just infighting that he thought would exterminate the human race? If so, just enforcing a brutal 3500 year peace was just postponing the inevitable? Perhaps this will be revealed in Heretics or Chapterhouse. Another puzzling thing was the tolerance of Ix. Apparently, in the distant past before Dune, the Butlerian Jihad was raged against "thinking" machines which resulted in a world with human computers (Mentats and Guild Navigators) and a formal universal proscription of computers. However, Leto II apparently allows Ix to wind up production again as he purchases machines for transcribing his thoughts among other things. I found it a bit frustrating not to understand more how the Ixians themselves. I really love this series although I probably will not read the apocryphal 7 and 8 written after Frank died. [UPDATE] I am looking forward to Denis Villeneuve's Dune in October 2021. The previews I have seen so far seem to be quite coherent with respect to the book. I was a fan of Lynch's Dune and am curious to see what Villeneuve does with this one. Feel free to comment below. Fino's Dune Reviews Dune Dune Messiah Children of Dune God Emperor of Dune Heretics of Dune Chapterhouse: Dune

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    *** 2021 reread - Paul M’uab Dib: Son, I’m going to break all the rules and then provide a new order to the galaxy. I’m going to change everything and establish a revolution that will affect tens of billions of people and then when that’s done, I’m going to be a prophet of what went wrong and institute a theological framework for the continuation of our rule. Leto II: Hold my beer. This is the greatest reversal of opinion about a book I’ve ever had. There’s an old saying about how you can never ste *** 2021 reread - Paul M’uab Dib: Son, I’m going to break all the rules and then provide a new order to the galaxy. I’m going to change everything and establish a revolution that will affect tens of billions of people and then when that’s done, I’m going to be a prophet of what went wrong and institute a theological framework for the continuation of our rule. Leto II: Hold my beer. This is the greatest reversal of opinion about a book I’ve ever had. There’s an old saying about how you can never step twice into the same river, because both you and the river have changed. Wonder if that’s what happened here. I reviewed this in 2011, giving it a two star, and taking a break from the Dune series and even from Frank Herbert for over three years. In the past ten years, I’ve grown more comfortable with my love of all things Dune, and maybe matured some in my appreciation of fantasy literature. I’ve reread Dune several times, reread Dune Messiah a couple years ago and then Children of Dune this year, enjoying Herbert’s writing more and more. As I turned the last page on Children, as Leto is demonstrating his superhuman powers, I looked ahead knowing that I had rung up a 2-star rating on the next book. Critics of God Emperor, and I was one, compare this to the original, even lamenting the absurdity of Leto’s transformation into a near worm. Herbert was too good for such a continuation; in Leto he crafted a character unique in SF literature. Leto as Superman. As great a character as Superman is in the DC universe, and in our superhero mythos over the past 80 years, becoming an iconic image of all things symbolizing truth, justice and the American way, critics have correctly lampooned that he’s too perfect, god-like in his power and invulnerability. Garth Ennis, in his brilliant anti-hero satire The Boys, made up Homelander, a hero much like Clark Kent except he is twisted to evil. Ennis poses the delicious question, if superman is bad, what are you going to do? As Children of Dune ends, Leto has become a symbiosis of man and sand trout, becoming something else. He demonstrates his new powers to the Fremen, revealing that he is inhumanly strong and seemingly invincible. Hold my beer. More than three thousand years later and he has transformed the known universe as completely as his appearance. He is a massive creature, more worm than man, and possibly immortal. THREE THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED YEARS. It would be like if an Egyptian pharaoh began to rule in 1500 BCE and is still in power! All the world a vassal under his sandaled feet. Herbert describes the Pax Leto, an enforced tranquility where Leto is worshipped as a god, supreme in his power and influence. And here is where Herbert demonstrates his genius: this is a character study, a glimpse into ultimate power. The galaxy is ruled by the iron hand of a single entity, a thing who is both man and woman and neither, having a complete recall of millennia of collective memories and a prescience of future events. There is a scene where Leto discusses with one of his most trusted servants about how the man, already elderly, is a mote in the god Leto’s eye, his long life a mere speck in the measurement of a being who had lived more than thirty times as long and without a definite life span ahead. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Herbert, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame member, and winner of the Nebula and Hugo awards, then reveals in Leto a lost humanity. He laments his lost manhood and weeps for love and intimacy that he can never realize. Leto and Duncan Idaho. When I first read this over ten years ago, I found some comic relief in the endless parade of Duncan Idaho ghola clones who came to serve Leto from the axolotl tanks of the Ixians. When one Duncan dies, usually at the hands of Leto, his replacement arrives soon thereafter, recalling his death in the pages of the original Dune and not understanding the world in which he lives nor the master he now serves. This time around I see that Herbert uses Duncan not just as a tie in to the earlier story, but as a grounding vehicle for Leto, Duncan is his connection to his humanity, and from the perspective of as voyeur his surrogate. Duncan’s relationship with Hwi Noree is all the more poignant when considering this odd love triangle. Leto and The Worm. Many characters in the book note that Leto is a composite of man and worm, even distinguishing behavior associated with Leto and other, more bestial and unpredictable and dangerous, as that of the worm as apex predator. In this way Herbert evokes the duality of man allusion from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hide. Stephen King noted, in Danse Macabre, that Stevenson’s 1886 work was a fundamental template upon which much of the horror genre was based. Storylines and themes as divergent as werewolves and The Incredible Hulk all share horrific foundations of man and monster, of man losing control of the thin veneer of civilization to quickly and irrevocably become beast. In Leto, Herbert has envisioned the culmination of this concept – man to god, man to devil – and we can also consider an association with Arthur Machen’s 1890 publication the Great God Pan as Leto is referred to as wild and threatening, a hulking killer. And of course a sand worm has special significance in Frank Herbert’s Dune world building. Leto has become that time’s Shai-Hulud. So, my opinion of this great book has been radically changed. Not the weakest link in a great series, but a brilliant work in its own right.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Du4

    It's not until the end of this book that you begin to understand Herbert's grand plan for his series. DUNE is really about shaking man out of an evolutionary cul-de-sac, showing a frustrated civil(?) society that despite its technological and social superiority is stagnating. The inventions of the Bene Gesseritt, the Guild, the Mentats, all of these are bulwarks against the decline of man that are failing. And the only one to understand this is Leto II, God Emperor of the Known Universe. In his It's not until the end of this book that you begin to understand Herbert's grand plan for his series. DUNE is really about shaking man out of an evolutionary cul-de-sac, showing a frustrated civil(?) society that despite its technological and social superiority is stagnating. The inventions of the Bene Gesseritt, the Guild, the Mentats, all of these are bulwarks against the decline of man that are failing. And the only one to understand this is Leto II, God Emperor of the Known Universe. In his transformed state, he rules a bizarrely changed Dune, and through more political intrigue and the continued centuries-long resurrection of Duncan Idaho clones, we learn that Leto has seen this decline of man coming and his twisted machinations are an attempt to prepare the human race to evolve beyond this end. Fucking BRILLIANT stuff here, even if it's not fully borne out until the next novel. But wow. They don't make 'em like they used to.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    God Emperor of Dune (Dune #4), Frank Herbert God Emperor of Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert published in 1981, the fourth in his Dune series of six novels. Leto II Atreides, the God Emperor, has ruled the universe as a tyrant for 3,500 years after becoming a hybrid of human and giant sandworm in Children of Dune. The death of all other sand-worms, and his control of the remaining supply of the all-important drug melange, has allowed him to keep civilization under his complete com God Emperor of Dune (Dune #4), Frank Herbert God Emperor of Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert published in 1981, the fourth in his Dune series of six novels. Leto II Atreides, the God Emperor, has ruled the universe as a tyrant for 3,500 years after becoming a hybrid of human and giant sandworm in Children of Dune. The death of all other sand-worms, and his control of the remaining supply of the all-important drug melange, has allowed him to keep civilization under his complete command. Leto has been physically transformed into a worm, retaining only his human face and arms, and though he is now seemingly immortal and invulnerable to harm, he is prone to instinct-driven bouts of violence when provoked to anger. As a result, his rule is one of religious awe and despotic fear. Leto has disbanded the Landsraad to all but a few Great Houses; the remaining powers defer to his authority, although they individually conspire against him in secret. The Fremen have long since lost their identity and military power, and have been replaced as the Imperial army by the Fish Speakers, an all-female army who obey Leto without question. He has rendered the human population into a state of trans-galactic stagnation; space travel is non-existent to most people in his Empire, which he has deliberately kept to a near-medieval level of technological sophistication. All of this he has done in accordance with a prophecy divined through precognition that will establish an enforced peace preventing humanity from destroying itself through aggressive behavior. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز هجدهم ماه ژانویه سال 2019 میلادی عنوان: خداوندگار تلماسه: کتاب چهارم از سری تلماسه؛ نویسنده: فرانک هربرت؛ داستان تل‌ماسه در آینده‌ ای دور می‌گذرد و در جامعه‌ ای ملوک الطوایفی که با الهام از جوامع اعراب بدوی ساخته شده‌ است؛ سه عامل اثرگذار در این جامعه ی فراسیاره‌ ای، عبارتند از: «پادشاه امپراتور (صدام چهارم)»، و «خاندان‌های حکومتی»، «اتحادیهٔ فضایی (صاحب انحصار حمل و نقل فضایی)» و گروه «بنی جزریت».؛ پس از جهاد بزرگ «باتلری»، ساخت و ایجاد دستگاه‌های خودکار، و رایانه‌ ها تابو شده، بنابراین جوامع انسانی مجبور به افزایش توانایی‌های جسمی، و ذهنی انسان‌ها، با استفاده از پرورش نژاد، و نیروهای مرموز، ماده‌ ای به نام «اسپایس ملانژ» یا ادویه شده‌ اند؛ «ملانژ» ماده‌ ای است، که قادر است نیروهای ذهنی آدمی را، تا حد بسیار زیادی افزایش دهد، حتی در مواردی می‌تواند باعث ایجاد پیش آگاهی از رویدادهای آینده، و طی الارض شود؛ «ملانژ» تنها در سیارهٔ بیابانی، و بسیار خشک «آراکیس (اقتباس از نام عراق)» یافت می‌شود؛ خشکی «آراکیس» به حدی است که مردم آن (فرمنها = مردان آزاد)، برای از دست نرفتن رطوبت بدن، مجبورند از جامه‌ های مخصوصی استفاده کنند، و آب در آنجا ارزشمندترین چیز است؛ «ملانژ» را ماسه کرمهای «آراکیس» می‌سازند، و استخراج کنندگان ادویه، علاوه بر جنگ دایمی با آب و هوای وحشتناک این سیاره، مجبورند گاه‌ و بیگاه با آن‌ها هم سر و کله بزنند ماسه کرمهایی که قطر آن‌ها گاهی به بیست متر هم می‌رسد؛ «آب حیات» نیز از همین موجودات استخراج می‌شود؛ ماجرای اصلی رمان، نبرد بین سه خاندان بزرگ: «آتریید»، «هارکونن» و «کورینو (خاندان صاحب مقام امپراتوری)» بر سر تصاحب این سیاره، و زندگی‌نامهٔ قهرمان افسانه‌ ای فرمن‌ها «پل مودیب» است؛ خاندان امپراتوری، تسلط خود را با کمک نیروی نظامی هولناکی به نام «ساردوکار» بر عالم مسکون حفظ می‌کند؛ «ساردوکار»ها از کودکی آموزش می‌بینند که بی‌رحم باشند و در نبرد از هیچ عملی فروگذار نکنند گروه «بنی جزریت» هم از سوی دیگر، برنامه‌ ای دیگر برای خود تدارک دارند؛ آن‌ها نسل‌هاست که اذهان مردم را با اعتقاداتی مذهبی اسیر کرده‌ اند، و برنامه‌ ای دقیق و حساب شده برای کنترل نژادی نسل انسان‌ها دارند؛ هدف آن‌ها تولد «کویساتزهادراچ» است، تا بر عالم حکومت کند؛ «آتریید»ها جزو محبوبترین خاندان‌های حکومتی هستند؛ «پادشاه امپراتور صدام چهارم» که از قدرت «آترییدها» هراسان شده، و به خاطر ترس از اعضای درباری «لندزراد» نمی‌تواند خود مستقیماً علیه آن‌ها وارد عمل شود، کنترل منابع «ملانژ» در «آراکیس» را، از «بارون ولادیمیر هارکونن (بزرگ خاندان هارکونن و دشمن قدیمی دوک آتریید)» می‌گیرد، و به «آترییدها» می‌سپارد؛ «دوک لتو آتریید»، سرور خاندان «آتریید»، «آراکیس» را با وجود آب و هوای خشک و سختش، سرزمین خوبی می‌بیند، زیرا امید دارد ارتشی از «فرمن‌»ها، که زندگی در «آراکیس»، آن‌ها را سخت و خشن و شکست ‌ناپذیر کرده، بسازد، تا با گارد ترسناک پادشاه امپراتور، «سارژوکار»، برابری کنند؛ از سوی دیگر پسر «دوک آتریید»، «پاول»، و وارث «بارون هارکونن، فیض-روتا»، هر دو از پروردگان برنامهٔ «بنی جزریت» هستند؛ تنها با این اشکال که طبق برنامهٔ «بن‌جزریت»، «پاول» باید دختر به دنیا می‌آمد، تا از «فید-روتا هارکونن»، «کوییساتزهادراچ» را به دنیا بیاورد؛ اما سرپیچی مادر «پاول»، «لیدی جسیکا»، این برنامه را برهم زده‌ است.؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 22/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric Allen

    God Emperor of Dune Book 4 of the Dune Chronicles By Frank Herbert A Dune Retrospective by Eric Allen What do you say about the book that was so completely terrible that it so turned you off of the series that you refused to read the four books that came after it for over a decade? This book is bad in a way that few things achieve. Oh, yes, there are worse things than this book in human history, and I do not mean to cheapen the horror of those atrocities, but when it comes to complete and utter fail God Emperor of Dune Book 4 of the Dune Chronicles By Frank Herbert A Dune Retrospective by Eric Allen What do you say about the book that was so completely terrible that it so turned you off of the series that you refused to read the four books that came after it for over a decade? This book is bad in a way that few things achieve. Oh, yes, there are worse things than this book in human history, and I do not mean to cheapen the horror of those atrocities, but when it comes to complete and utter failures in fictional exploits, this is amongst the worst. By this time in his career, Frank Herbert's Dune series had sold multiple millions of books. He was a veritable gold mine for his publisher, and so, he had the power and influence to basically get anything he wanted from them. As a result, God Emperor of Dune is pure and complete insanity. Oh, but its not just normal insanity, oho no. Its a special sort of insanity. Its the sort of insanity that happens when you give crazy way too much money, power, influence, and creative license. I like to call this kind of crazy, George Lucas Syndrome. Allow me to explain. In 1977 George Lucas, a rookie filmmaker, under huge budget constraints, and with heavy studio influence, managed to produce one of the greatest movies of all time. Though Star Wars was well recieved by the world at large, his distributer still placed very harsh budget constraints on the following two films. These movies were a great illustration of the concept "Art from Adversity". Despite all of the people telling him no, all the limitations of special effects technology, all of the problems with budgeting and studio executives trying to change his work, he managed to produce one of the most lucrative franchises in movie history. He was viewed as a filmmaking genius by many... and then he made the prequels. He had unlimited funds, was no longer constrained by the limits of special effects technology, and most importantly, everyone on earth was utterly terrified to tell him no, because he could very easily take his goldmine of a series elsewhere and be just as happy. When you take the adversity, the thing that CLEARLY created the art to begin with, out of the picture, you are left with a man who is completely insane, making movies that are also completely insane. What does this have to do with Dune, you ask? Plenty. You see, having sold millions of copies of his first three books in the Dune series, Frank Herbert had enough clout with his publishers that he could have taken a dump on a blank piece of paper and they would have published it, because they were utterly terrified that he would take his series elsewhere. And so, when he handed them the manuscript for God Emperor of Dune, NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT HOW TERRIBLE IT WAS TO HIM!!! They published it because he wrote it, it had Dune in the title, and people would buy it, read it, and claim to love it because of it. So, this leaves the question, was Herbert balls out insane from the beginning, and simply constrained by his publishers and editors to create art for his first three books? Or did he just do a crapton of drugs between book 3 and book 4? We may never know the answer for sure. Why is this book so bad? Well, lets find out, shall we? I can't put enough quotation marks around the word "story" here, so I won't even try. 3500 years have passed since the events of Children of Dune. Leto Atreides II has become a giant sandworm with a human face and arms... Yeah, I'll give you a minute to wrap your mind around that. You good? Ok, moving on then. The ENTIRE plot of this book revolves around Leto talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking, and talking. He talks about being a sandworm. He talks about what it means to be a sandworm. He talks about why it's important that he has become a sandworm. He talks about how being a sandworm fits into his plans. And through all that talking, HE NEVER MANAGES TO TALK ABOUT WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT OR WHY I SHOULD CARE!!! And then he dies, easily killed by his utter arrogance in believing that mere humans could never possibly rise up against him. And I get a lot of people telling me I've got it wrong on this... but try reading his last few bits of dialog after falling in the water with this in mind and tell me I don't have a point. If this was not what Herbert meant to convey with this dialog, he sure failed at what he actually meant to get across to me. The Good? Nada. In fact, skip this book if you plan to read this series. Your life will be better for it. You miss absolutely nothing that the next book does not readily explain in a few sentences, and you don't have to wade through all the complete fail that this book embodies. The Ugly? First of all, while Herbert's views on women were pretty apparent in his previous works, he is openly sexist in this book to a huge and offensive degree. He has some extraordinarily strange views on the roles women play in society, what they want out of life, and how their thoughts and feelings differ from those of men. He devotes a large section of the book to explaining in great detail why women are inferior to men, veiling it behind the guise of praising them as a gender. Nice try Herbert, but you FAIL to hide your complete contempt for women in general. Every woman that I know that has read this book has come away from it TERRIBLY offended. Women beware, this book basically says that you're the scum of the universe and the source of every problem that man knows. If this sort of thing offends you, and believe me, I'm a guy and it offends ME, steer clear of this book. Not only does Herbert put forward some very offensive ideas about women, he also puts forth some very offensive views about homosexuals, soldiers, and pretty much all humanity in general. Women get the worst of it here by far, but soldiers and homosexuals come close on their heels. He seems to have great contempt for pretty much anyone that is not exactly like he is. This is an actual line from the book. I have not altered it in any way. "All soldiers are homosexuals at heart." There are so many layers of offensiveness buried in those six little words that I could write an entire essay on that alone. Needless to say, it is offensive to every party mentioned in multiple ways. It takes true talent and bigotry to imbue such a short sentence with so many layers of insult to so many different people. And let me say right here and now, so that there is no mistaking Herbert's views for my own, though I may come from a strong Christian background, I have no problem with gay people. My philosophy on life is that everyone should have the freedom to live as they see fit, and it is not my place to tell them that they are doing it wrong, regardless of my own personal feelings on the matter. I have worked with gay people all my working life and you know what I've learned about them? They're people. Just like everyone else. Doing their best to live their lives in a world that is not very accepting of them. They deserve to live their lives just like everyone else. Every character in this book other than Leto exists for one purpose and one purpose alone. To ask questions that facilitate even more talking from him. Let me describe to you every scene in this book. Leto rants for about thirty pages on his morality and plan for humanity. Someone is confused by his complete insanity and asks him a question. He then goes on at great length explaining the answer. The other character is still confused and asks another question, which facilitates yet another long and boring rant from him. These characters have no personality. They have no motivation. They have no plans or desires of their own. They exist within the plot for one purpose and one purpose only, to give Leto an excuse to further explain Frank Herbert's insanity. Leto is still not a sympathetic character. He has more personality here than he did in the previous book, this is true, but here he is even more loathsome because of it. I'm sorry, I do not sympathize with a grotesque mockery of humanity who goes on, and on, and on, and on about he's the only hope of said humanity, and as such has the right to severly subjugate all life in the universe under his strictures and rule. He was not a likeable character to begin with, and here, he has become a loathsome tyrant that it is impossible to sympathize with. So why should I care about a book that is, primarily, about him talking at GREAT LENGTH about his own personal philosophy? I don't. I really, REALLY don't. He's a terrible character, and as an extension of that, any story revolving around him is also terrible. Herbert STILL does not seem to feel the need to explain what motivates Leto to do what he has done, and why I should care about it. These are basic elements of the plot of this book and the previous one that are COMPLETELY LEFT TO THE READER'S IMAGINATION. IF you want me to care about your character and the story revolving around him, you have to tell me WHAT he is doing, WHY it is important, and most importantly, WHY I SHOULD CARE!!! These are basic storytelling elements that Herbert completely FAILED to employ. In conclusion, this book is awful. It's a special kind of awful, the sort of which you will rarely find in fiction. It's basically a thinly disguised excuse for Herbert to give his own philosophies on life. If you want to write a book of philosophy, by all means, go ahead and do so. But don't try to tell me it's the next installment of your epic science fiction series. This book gets ZERO stars, but since the rating does not show up here on Goodreads with zero, I threw one up there. It feels FAR longer than it actually is. It centers around a character that is completely and utterly loathesome, without a SINGLE redeeming characteristic, and I'm supposed to feel for this character? Yeah, sorry Herbert, but no. I don't. I really, REALLY don't. This book is terrible in a way that few books are. And worst of all, it's boring. I can forgive bad writing. I can forgive a bad story. I can forgive wooden characters. It is my opinion that one of the truly unforgivable things that a storyteller can do, is to tell a boring story. Only the most hardcore fans of the Dune series will likely be able to find any enjoyment here, to any casual readers I typicaly recomend that this book be skipped over, because it really is THAT bad. Check out my other reviews.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Reviews for this book have called it "heady" and "deep." I cannot concur more. Few books have mastered this combination of deep material with a hurtling plot, and this is one of them. Of the Dune Chronicles so far (this is book 4), God Emperor of Dune is my clear favorite. This profoundly philosophical installment in "the bestselling sci-fi series of all time" explores the now-verdant world of Arrakis thirty-five hundred years after the events in Children of Dune. Leto, the nine-year old son of P Reviews for this book have called it "heady" and "deep." I cannot concur more. Few books have mastered this combination of deep material with a hurtling plot, and this is one of them. Of the Dune Chronicles so far (this is book 4), God Emperor of Dune is my clear favorite. This profoundly philosophical installment in "the bestselling sci-fi series of all time" explores the now-verdant world of Arrakis thirty-five hundred years after the events in Children of Dune. Leto, the nine-year old son of Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides, has assumed control of the galaxy-spanning empire described in the first three books, and has transformed himself into a grotesque synthesis of worm and human in an effort to avert a terrible catastrophe which would render all of humanity extinct. To be sure, Leto's transformation is both disturbing and uncomfortable (and yes, the full physical ramifications of this transformation are explored thoroughly), yet it feels quite naturally based in the mythology that Frank Herbert has laid out thus far in the series. It is the logical conclusion of a mythology steeped in the surreal and otherworldly. God Emperor of Dune explores nature of despotism, the conditions under which it's called for, and the attendant concerns that such a dictator would have (amongst them the nature of religion, government, trade, rebellions, mythology, armies, sexuality, war, family, duty, and sacrifice) and depicts Leto's difficult - near impossible - choices and the poignant destiny which results from them. The portrait of Leto - God, Emperor, saint, tyrant, martyr, human, sandworm - is a portrait of one of the most complex, sympathetic, and lonely characters I have ever encountered. I loved, Loved, LOVED this book. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Black

    God Emperor of Dune is one of those books you can measure inner growth and change by. As a child, I hated it. I got bogged down in what I felt was a lack of story and plot. I hated the characters which I felt were very, very one dimensional and boring. I hated the protagonist, Leto II, who I thought was stuffy and pretentious. Then, as an adult, I rediscovered it and it is now my favorite book of the Dune series (the original Dune is right behind it) and indeed one of my favorite books in the worl God Emperor of Dune is one of those books you can measure inner growth and change by. As a child, I hated it. I got bogged down in what I felt was a lack of story and plot. I hated the characters which I felt were very, very one dimensional and boring. I hated the protagonist, Leto II, who I thought was stuffy and pretentious. Then, as an adult, I rediscovered it and it is now my favorite book of the Dune series (the original Dune is right behind it) and indeed one of my favorite books in the world. I think it takes an experience of time and pain to be able to understand Leto. The sacrifice he makes to save the human race is doubly painful because his prescient gifts make every nuance available so that he can see exactly what he is missing and will never experience. He is the ultimate outsider staring in, in love with the human race, and completely reviled by them in return. One wonders if they deserve the great sacrifice he has made for them and if they will ever understand or deserve the great words he leaves behind in his journals. Every time I read God Emperor of Dune I find new layers of meaning, new ideas to ponder, and new beauty to appreciate. Frank Herbert was a genius ahead of his time. Give the series a try and if you can not read God Emperor yet, set it aside and try again another time. You may end up being pleasantly surprised and greatly touched.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    Buddy read with Athena! “I am a collection of the obsolete, a relic of the damned, of the lost and strayed. I am the waylaid pieces of history which sank out of sight in all of our pasts. Such an accumulation of riffraff has never before been imagined.” More than three thousand years have passed since the events described in the Great Dune Trilogy, and everything has changed. Arrakis is now a planet of running water and green growth, and the days of stillsuits and crysknives are gone. The Sandworm Buddy read with Athena! “I am a collection of the obsolete, a relic of the damned, of the lost and strayed. I am the waylaid pieces of history which sank out of sight in all of our pasts. Such an accumulation of riffraff has never before been imagined.” More than three thousand years have passed since the events described in the Great Dune Trilogy, and everything has changed. Arrakis is now a planet of running water and green growth, and the days of stillsuits and crysknives are gone. The Sandworms and the Fremen remain only as legends from the Ancient Days of Dune. Only one part remains from the old days: Leto II, the God Emperor. God Emperor of Dune is, logically, a book centred around Leto. However, that is precisely its greatest problem. The so-called God Emperor who so valiantly sacrificed his human existence for that of an emperor doomed to serve his people by living through the ages and preserving the universe, has turned into a tyrant. And everyone sees him as such, except for himself and his fanatically loyal Fish Speaker cult. It seems as if though the book is an attempt to justify the government of Leto, and that is a task in which it fails miserably. Because of that, one should think that there would be other people to sympathise with. People living under the oppression of Leto’s rule joining together in rebellion against the monstrous tyrant. Well… there really aren’t any. The rebels on Arrakis are led by Siona, the last of the Atreides line descending from Ghanima, Leto’s sister. But in reality, Leto is allowing the rebellion to happen while secretly grooming Siona to become another of his instruments. Siona knows this, and knows that the God Emperor doesn’t want her dead. That, of course, makes one wonder what the point is about the whole thing. Next to Leto and Siona, the rest of the characters are few and uninteresting. There were a couple of them in particular that were a bit interesting in the beginning, but my interest in them quickly evaporated into thin air. And when you don’t have any characters that are fun to read about, the book gets terribly boring after a while. This book is actually not as bad as it sounds. The story was intriguing at times (not often, mind you), the great writing of Frank Herbert is still present, and the fourth book is just as much of a lesson in power and politics as the first three books. But the point is that compared with Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, three of the greatest books ever written, this one is a disaster.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Ciuleanu

    Okay, this was my second read of God Emperor of Dune. Honestly, it was quite an useful read because now I understand more precisely what was Leto's goal and the exact purpose of his Golden Path. To make a long story short the Golden Path is nothing more than the survival of the human race. At the end of the old empire (period described in the previous books) the human race has become doomed beyond hope with a corrupt and decadent feudal ruling system, stagnant and with an major addiction to subs Okay, this was my second read of God Emperor of Dune. Honestly, it was quite an useful read because now I understand more precisely what was Leto's goal and the exact purpose of his Golden Path. To make a long story short the Golden Path is nothing more than the survival of the human race. At the end of the old empire (period described in the previous books) the human race has become doomed beyond hope with a corrupt and decadent feudal ruling system, stagnant and with an major addiction to substance ( the spice) that influenced almost all aspects of life (transportation, science, technological advancement, religion, food, etc) across the universe. The Bene Gesserit has foreseen humanity's disaster and they hoped to avoid it with the Kwisatz Haderach, the prescient messiah who will save us all. As we know, they lost control of it and Paul Muad'dib became Emperor on his own. Paul with his ability to see the future also saw the end of humanity and acted on it and he tried to save it with his Jihad. But wiping all resistance to his rule was not enough and something more drastic was needed. Because of Paul's love for his wife and because he still had his thirst for his humanity Paul couldn't make the ultimate sacrifice. Instead his son, Leto did it. Leto transformed himself in to a half man-half sandworm creature that permitted him to guide humanity on the Golden Path journey. The Golden Path acted on several different aspects. First, he needed to free the humanity from the spice addiction, thus during a long period of time he wiped out the sandworms, which wore the only source of spice and could live only in one place: Dune. Upon his foreseen death, Leto would breed a new kind of sandworms, with conscience and more intelligent and also with the ability to live on other planets besides Dune. Second, Leto also begun oppressing humanity like no ruler, (thos the Tyrant nickname) before him. This had also several reasons behind it: he slowly started reducing the spice addiction of humanity, by the end Leto's rule people wore almost free of it and the spice influenced only a few essential aspects of life (ex: space travel) . Also oppressing the people for long enough, he created a longing to be free of him, a desire for freedom (which is basically, the Scattering, in the following books). In particular, by oppressing the ixians and tleilaxu and not destroying them entirely, forced these two factions to be more inventive, creative and eventually it will lead them to discover space travel without the need of spice and the invention of artificial spice. Third, Leto had to be sure that in the future no other will ever posses the power he had possessed and that no person, no matter how prescient, would ever be able to track down all humanity and control like he did. So, he took from the Bene Gesserit their prized breeding plan and with Siona he managed to make a new kind of Atreides, free of the prescience vision. Fourth, with his all-female army, the Fish Speakers, Leto ensured that after he was gone, these women (with their training, discipline and life philosophy) will guaranty humanity's survival and guide them along the right path. God Emperor of Dune might not by so actioned packed like the previous or the following books in the Dune Saga but it is most certainly the center one and the most important one of all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    God Emperor of Dune is the red-headed stepchild of the series. Frank Herbert delves into the mind of a near omniscient god-creature. Many people feel disturbed or bored by this book, calling it the most "dull" of the series. From a philosophical point of view, this is probably the most advanced book in the series. Definitions of humanity and morality are contrasted in very personal ways in this book. Those familiar with Lovecraftian Cthulu mythos could well use this as a textbook to start thinki God Emperor of Dune is the red-headed stepchild of the series. Frank Herbert delves into the mind of a near omniscient god-creature. Many people feel disturbed or bored by this book, calling it the most "dull" of the series. From a philosophical point of view, this is probably the most advanced book in the series. Definitions of humanity and morality are contrasted in very personal ways in this book. Those familiar with Lovecraftian Cthulu mythos could well use this as a textbook to start thinking about "alien" motives and the human concept of "evil".

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    For any of the times that I may have complained about the characters or how I may not have loved them as much as the previous volumes, I have three or four OMG moments for everything else about this book. The sheer scope of future history is one bit. But I'm all about the reveals about the Golden Path and what it meant for the social, political, scientific, even genderizing the future for humanity. Or perhaps the fact that Leto II Atreides, the son of Paul, with his prolonged life, transforming i For any of the times that I may have complained about the characters or how I may not have loved them as much as the previous volumes, I have three or four OMG moments for everything else about this book. The sheer scope of future history is one bit. But I'm all about the reveals about the Golden Path and what it meant for the social, political, scientific, even genderizing the future for humanity. Or perhaps the fact that Leto II Atreides, the son of Paul, with his prolonged life, transforming into a sandworm, with the opening up of both the male and female genetic bloodline memories all the way back to us on Earth, or his ongoing future prescience, was the de facto SAVIOR of the human race. ... of course, he did it by SQUEEZING it, taking over the Bene Gesserit's breeding program, giving everyone a solid, stable life, SQUEEZING humanity until they just couldn't take it anymore. Nobody hates peace and prosperity more than the people living in it. This book is a wonderful testament to both imagination and INTELLIGENCE. Herbert never looked down on anyone and never spoon-fed a single idea. The same can't be said for the side series. Look to the best for the best, folks.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorite novels. The Dune series is one of the most literate and beautifully written science fiction series ever and this novel certainly continues that tradition of excellence. In fact, this may be may favorite installment of the entire series. I find I may be in the minority with that sentiment based on other reviews I have read, but I found the contemplative and cerebral nature of the story and the many expository monologues and dialogues among the characters 6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorite novels. The Dune series is one of the most literate and beautifully written science fiction series ever and this novel certainly continues that tradition of excellence. In fact, this may be may favorite installment of the entire series. I find I may be in the minority with that sentiment based on other reviews I have read, but I found the contemplative and cerebral nature of the story and the many expository monologues and dialogues among the characters discussing politics, religion, ecology, etc. to be hugely enjoyable as I am a big fan of world-building and enjoyed learning more about the incredible universe that Herbert created. Of course, it should be noted that I could sit and read a Dune Encyclopaedia (is theior one?) from cover to cover and be very content. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!! One note: I have both read the prin version and listened to the unabridged audiobook of this novel (as I have for all of the first 4 Dune novels) and I highly recommeded the audiobook to everyone. The full cast for the audio performance is wonderful and I think it truly enhances the enjoyment of the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    Please, make it stop.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Useful background book to read if you've ever thought you might like to rule the Universe. It's a really terrible job. Useful background book to read if you've ever thought you might like to rule the Universe. It's a really terrible job.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bob R Bogle

    Having finished writing the third book of the trilogy, Children of Dune (first published in Analog, January-April 1976), Frank Herbert did not intend to revisit that imaginary universe. He had said all he wished to say about Paul Atreides and his legacy, and about the spice, and sandworms, and the Bene Gesserit, and the like. He would move on to other matters. And so he did. The Dosadi Experiment followed hard on the heels of Children of Dune, first published in the summer of 1977. This was succe Having finished writing the third book of the trilogy, Children of Dune (first published in Analog, January-April 1976), Frank Herbert did not intend to revisit that imaginary universe. He had said all he wished to say about Paul Atreides and his legacy, and about the spice, and sandworms, and the Bene Gesserit, and the like. He would move on to other matters. And so he did. The Dosadi Experiment followed hard on the heels of Children of Dune, first published in the summer of 1977. This was succeeded by a screenplay for a Dune movie in 1978, and complicated legal wrangling involving the writing and rewriting of The Jesus Incident, which was published in 1979. Competing negotiations for a film version of Soul Catcher preoccupied Herbert during the summer of 1980. During this period he also coauthored a now almost unreadable book about new technology just beginning to arrive on the scene, 1980's Without Me You're Nothing: The Essential Guide to Home Computers. As early as 1977, however, Herbert had admitted that he felt pressure to continue the Dune series, although he was uncommitted to doing so. He said then: "The thing that attracts me is, say, coming back to the character of Leto 3,400 years later . . ." When Herbert did decide to return to the Duniverse, he felt free of any constraints so far as the plot was concerned. So long as he remained within the general boundaries established in the original trilogy, he was free to write about absolutely anything he desired. He must have felt very liberated, knowing he had a guaranteed audience and to be able to start fresh. He wrote the fourth book in the series between March 1979 and July 1980. Published in May 1981, God Emperor of Dune is Frank Herbert's magnum opus. Dune Messiah reads like a convoluted Shakespearian tragedy, but God Emperor of Dune bumps it up a couple orders of magnitude: here we find not excessively Byzantine plot convolutions, but rather a graceful and elegant prose found nowhere else in Herbert's writing. Herbert had begun to consciously try to meld literary and science fiction in Children of Dune, and that experimentation reaches its apex in this novel. God Emperor of Dune is the most literary science fiction novel I've ever read. This is precisely the kind of writing that I wish all science fiction authors would try to meet or exceed. In Children of Dune the character Leto II had unambiguously declared that the choice for humanity was one of extinction or his Golden Path: some dangerous something was embedded in the human psyche that needed to be corrected. In writing this novel, Herbert asked himself one question: If I had thousands of years at my disposal, how would I fix humanity? Within that question lies the character of Leto II, and the character of Leto II provokes all of the action of the story. I'll give away none of the plot here, but in order to appreciate the tragedy that is God Emperor of Dune it's important to consider the quality of the main character, Leto II. In the earlier Dune books, the primary superheroic gift of Paul Atreides was an ability to foresee many different possible futures. The ability of Alia, and of the Bene Gesserit, was to assimilate the life-experiences of their past ancestors. In Leto II Herbert has merged these gifts. The God Emperor has extraordinary access to all spacetime, past and future: he is the real Kwisatz Haderach. Furthermore, enveloped as he is in a skin that is not his own, he has become virtually indestructible and immortal. He may not have the power of physical creation at his fingertips, but for all practical purposes Herbert has created in Leto II what may be at once the strangest and the most believable god-figure in literature. Leto II contains and can access the full-life experiences of all his ancestors, back to the dawn of human consciousness. So how many personages are rattling around within the psyche of the God Emperor? Counting n generations backwards in time, each of us has 2*2^n ancestors, which means after only n = 19 (i.e., 19 generations back), we each have more than a million ancestors. As Herbert elsewhere (i.e., in Destination: Void) posits human consciousness originated 16,000 years ago, a bit of math suggests that Leto II has direct access to approximately 3.0 x 10^371 fully integrated ancestral lifetime memory-records! Add to that his prescient abilities, and this character is suddenly discovered to be the Alexandrian library incarnate multiplied to an unprecedented degree. His experience of humanity is legion. Nowhere else in fiction, to my knowledge, has the portrayal of a character even remotely like this one been attempted. Given this understanding, Leto's unique perspective on the human condition becomes a bit more comprehensible. 3,500 years to such a creature can seem little more than the blink of an eye. He can scarcely be concerned with the individual: it is only survival of the species that matters to him. This makes him the ultimate alien, the enigmatic sphinx whose utterances may be heard and recorded but must be interpreted within the context of millennia. God Emperor of Dune presents us with Herbert's most careful, most thoughtful, most philosophical, most profound writing of his life, and the prose of its telling is exquisite. Every page is alive and electric, jolting with new insights. To have made the prolonged journey with Herbert over the long years and to arrive at this point with him is a kind of privilege. For more than any other character he created, Leto II is inseparable from Frank Herbert. If nowhere else, Herbert will live forever in God Emperor of Dune.

  18. 5 out of 5

    edge of bubble

    I don't accept this monstrosity made of ramblings of an old fart as a Dune book. About 1870 pages of boring drivel that smothers you in it's contemptuous arrogance. GEoD should have been a 50 pages of intro to the next installment of this series. And that would be about 40 pages too long in my opinion but still 1830 pages less of a torture. I don't accept this monstrosity made of ramblings of an old fart as a Dune book. About 1870 pages of boring drivel that smothers you in it's contemptuous arrogance. GEoD should have been a 50 pages of intro to the next installment of this series. And that would be about 40 pages too long in my opinion but still 1830 pages less of a torture.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    With this book I ran out of energy to read the Dune series any further. Reading this book drained life out of me, until I died and abandoned reading science fiction (for the second time). Nowadays of course one can just read the gist of it on Wikipeadia, but in the dim and distant past, curiosity about a story could only be satisfied by the personal turning of the pages of an entire book. The opening I thought was great and it was interesting to see the outcomes of the Fremen's plan, outlines the With this book I ran out of energy to read the Dune series any further. Reading this book drained life out of me, until I died and abandoned reading science fiction (for the second time). Nowadays of course one can just read the gist of it on Wikipeadia, but in the dim and distant past, curiosity about a story could only be satisfied by the personal turning of the pages of an entire book. The opening I thought was great and it was interesting to see the outcomes of the Fremen's plan, outlines the previous thousand or so pages of the three preceding volumes, to irrigate the surface of Dune - and for a book series with such a focus on ecology it was completely indifferent to the number of trees that would need to be sacrificed to the paper-mills and the release of waste water into rivers and lakes...I think I would have enjoyed this more if Herbert had followed the technique that Asimov used in the Foundation series of using short stories and novellas to create a narrative that spanned great reaches of time rather than having great blocky narratives bound into print bricks based around single points in time. One can see the problem, the writer has a vision of a mighty story with deep roots, whose branches sweep across immeasurable distances with a trunk that grows through time to support the universe, but can't realise this without dropping wedgy slices in to the lap of the reader. After a few hundred pages I found myself without interest in a super brained spaceworm using eugenics and captive breeding to plot against itself, or in perpetually reincarnated characters who didn't amuse me the first time they were alive. Possibly best consumed via the medium of Wikipeadia rather than in person.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wendy, Lady Evelyn Quince

    For a book with such a great title, I sure am less than whelmed. I’m certain Leto Atreides II, God Emperor of the known universe, would chide me for my inability to fully understand the truths that he pontificates on… so just call me “stoo-pit.” That's what most of this book is: Leto pontificating and berating people for being too stupid to understand his prescient brilliance. This is a book I can’t possibly review properly. I’ll need to re-read it once or twice more to really get it. Too bad the For a book with such a great title, I sure am less than whelmed. I’m certain Leto Atreides II, God Emperor of the known universe, would chide me for my inability to fully understand the truths that he pontificates on… so just call me “stoo-pit.” That's what most of this book is: Leto pontificating and berating people for being too stupid to understand his prescient brilliance. This is a book I can’t possibly review properly. I’ll need to re-read it once or twice more to really get it. Too bad the SciFi/SyFy channel didn’t produce one of their wonderfully cheesy and camp-tactic miniseries for this book, as they did for “Dune” and “Children of Dune.” Alas, we’ll never get to see what their vision of a cheaply-made CGI giant worm/demi-god who speaks English with a heavy, non-specific European accent would have looked like. All I learned from this book is that: 1) An all-female army is superior to an all-male army because there’s no infighting or hierarchal structure among women (My childhood as the oldest of five kids—four of us female—attests otherwise; I recall a lot of hair-pulling and scratching during my early years. But the God-Emperor sayeth, so it must be.) 2) It’s easy for a beautiful, female human being to fall in love with a neutered giant human/worm hybrid who’s, quite frankly, a bit of an asshole, so long as you were bio-engineered just for that purpose. 3) A woman can come to orgasm by watching a virile male climb up and down a mountain using nothing but his bare hands. 4) To prevent evil despotism that crushes human vivacity and freedom from ruling for millennia, one must become an evil despot who crushes human vivacity and freedom, and rules for millennia. 3 weird stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I keep going back and forth on this rating. Reading this series has been a truly weird experience. The first book is a straight up classic that I enjoy reading, despite some issues with it being dated and gross in places. I will read it again! I will see the movie. The second two books I appreciated on an intellectual level but they did not engage me emotionally at all. I was very much dreading the rest of the series after reading those books. And then . . . this book. I don't even really know w I keep going back and forth on this rating. Reading this series has been a truly weird experience. The first book is a straight up classic that I enjoy reading, despite some issues with it being dated and gross in places. I will read it again! I will see the movie. The second two books I appreciated on an intellectual level but they did not engage me emotionally at all. I was very much dreading the rest of the series after reading those books. And then . . . this book. I don't even really know what to say about it? In general, my reaction is just sort of . . . what the fuck? But not in a bad way, mostly? So, the title of this review may have given it away, but our main character is Leto Atreides II, the son of Paul and Chani, and he's 3,500 years old at this point, and is basically God Emperor of the universe. He's also transformed physically, and is still transforming, into a sandworm of Dune, though he still retains a human face and arms (his feet are vestigial "flippers" . . . gag). (I'm still not clear on why this is happening, or even why he chose to merge with the whatever they're called at the end of the last book, but whatever, I'm going with it.) He is full on a tyrant. Like, he acknowledges this to everyone, out loud. He is all-knowing, and prophetic, and he has the entirety of human history in his mind. And he has some overarching bullshit plan that he likes to vaguely hint at while proselytizing to anyone who will listen. So the thing about this book is that I kind of hated the storyline, and the main character was incredibly unlikable and almost totally unrelatable, but! It did engage me emotionally. I read it pretty fast, all things considered, when I crawled through the previous two. I'm not sure if it was the WTF factor, or the fact that Leto kept making me angry, or that the things that were happening were escalations of fuckery, or all three. There's also the fact that 3,500 years have passed since we last visited Arrakis so we get to go through the process of discovery again, sort of. It's still the same basic universe and planet, but things have changed, and it was interesting to see how, and speculate as to why. I also did like several of the secondary characters (although, some of them verge on sharing protagonist credit with Leto). This is our guy! One of those characters is a clone of Duncan Idaho. I keep thinking we've seen the last of this character (I thought he was full on dunzo halfway through book one, and I was so sad, because Jason Momoa is playing him, but don't worry, Jason, your paychecks are secure forever as long as the movies are a hit). But I think that Herbert was in love with him (despite his very obvious homophobia) and kept bringing him back. Just like Leto does in this book, and in the 3,500 years leading up to it. There have been a succession of Duncan Idaho clones, or gholas as they're called in this universe. Leto goes through a lot of them, either losing them to old age, or more likely, to betrayal or "treason" as the Duncans grow bitter about their master and turn on him. Basically, Leto has been tormenting Duncan Idaho for thousands of years. There's a lot of politicking with the Bene Gesserit and the dirty Tleixaxu, as per usual, but also introduced here is a rebellion led by Leto's sister Ghanima's descendant, Siona. Cool thing to know about Siona: She's the result of Leto's "breeding program." Breeding for what, who knows! Oh, and did I say cool? What I meant is fuck you, Leto. Apparently one of Leto's favorite things to do in order to control a population (aside from making them all complacent with peace and feudal level technology) is to foster rebellion and then disarm it by bringing the leaders to his side. He did this with Siona's father, Moneo, who is also a POV character. I almost two starred this because Leto will not shut up, and half of what he says is worth thinking about and he had some points, but then the other half is absolute nonsense. Like his gender essentialist thoughts about why it's the best to have an all female army, and his homophobic thoughts about how armies make you gay if you're a dude, and homosexuals are bad! There were strong hints of Herbert's homophobia in book one, what with making the main villain being a gay pedophile, but here it's all out in the open. Leto spouts all his theories with a surety that is aggravating. The problem here is that if this type of character did exist in real life (one who could see all of history and desires to shepherd humanity away from destruction), he would not hold a lot of these opinions. A lot of the opinions don't even make sense! Literally, did not know what he was saying. Herbert was not the best at making his meaning clear, so the result is garbled. And yet, I did not stop reading. It grabbed me. The thing is, I see what Herbert was going for (after having read the Dune wiki to make sure), and I admit some of the themes he was working with here are interesting. Leto gives up his humanity because he wants to make it so that no single threat can every destroy the entirety of humanity, and this is the only way that his prescience tells him he can do that. Also, there's a lot of stuff in here about the conflicting desires and needs of humans. We want peace, but we flourish under adversity. This is partly how Leto has been Emperor for so long, because he understands this. The story he used to convey this was such weird nonsense, though. I can't emphasize that enough. Leto sucks. Last thoughts. Only Frank Herbert could have turned this: Into this: [2.5 stars, rounded up because what even??]

  22. 5 out of 5

    Athena Shardbearer

    Buddy Read with Markus Actual Rating: 2.5 stars I was born Leto Atreides II more than three thousand standard years ago, measuring from the moment when I cause these words to be printed. My father was Paul Muad’Dib. My mother was his Fremen consort, Chani. My maternal grandmother was Faroula, a noted herbalist among the Fremen. My paternal grandmother was Jessica, a product of the Bene Gesserit breeding scheme in their search for a male who could share the powers of the Sisterhood’s Revere Buddy Read with Markus Actual Rating: 2.5 stars I was born Leto Atreides II more than three thousand standard years ago, measuring from the moment when I cause these words to be printed. My father was Paul Muad’Dib. My mother was his Fremen consort, Chani. My maternal grandmother was Faroula, a noted herbalist among the Fremen. My paternal grandmother was Jessica, a product of the Bene Gesserit breeding scheme in their search for a male who could share the powers of the Sisterhood’s Reverend Mothers. My maternal grandfather was Liet-Kynes, the planetologist who organized the ecological transformation of Arrakis. My paternal grandfather was The Atreides, descendant of the House of Atreus and tracing his ancestry directly back to the Greek original. Blah, blah, blah. This whole book was about Leto and how amazing he is. And this book started off so strong... The three people running northward through moon shadows in the Forbidden Forest were strung out along almost half a kilometer. The last runner in the line ran less than a hundred meters ahead of the pursuing D-wolves. The animals could be heard yelping and panting in their eagerness, the way they do when they have the prey in sight. Siona is on the run for her life. She stole the journals of the God Emperor of Dune in hopes to find important information. I was ready for rebel fighting and this story to be centered around Siona and the resistance. But it was all about Leto, the journals, and his justification of being a tyrant Emperor. To be quite honest, I was annoyed with his scenes and looked forward to Siona and Duncan..which were rare. This planet of Arrakis from which I direct my multigalactic Empire is no longer what it was in the days when it was known as Dune. In those days, the entire planet was a desert. Now, there is just this little remnant, my Sareer. No longer does the giant sandworm roam free, producing the spice melange. The spice! Dune was noteworthy only as the source of melange, the only source. What an extraordinary substance. No laboratory has ever been able to duplicate it. And it is the most valuable substance humankind has ever found. I want my DUNE BACK! I want the sand and the spice. I want the stillsuits and the REAL Fremen...this didn't feel like Dune at all. The wisdom wasn't there, the feel wasn't there and Dune wasn't what it once was. It would of been better if there was more resistance and fighting to bring Dune back to what it once was, but it was always second to Leto. I really hate Leto, much more than Paul...actually I love Paul. I wanted to love Siona, but I didn't get to see her often and Duncan...is the same Duncan. I think the only thing that saved this book was the writing...beautiful writing and the narrator is awesome but that's about it. I hope in the next book it gets back to what it once was...I can only hope.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Yasiru

    A deep and unflattering meditation on the human condition and whether near absolute tyranny can free mankind from certain of these trappings, Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune is my favourite novel of what is a monumental series and one of the greatest in all of science fiction. This review offers an excellent and concise summary of what the book does for the story. Be warned however that this novel doesn't offer a smooth silk thread of a plot where characters are affixed colourful and appreciab A deep and unflattering meditation on the human condition and whether near absolute tyranny can free mankind from certain of these trappings, Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune is my favourite novel of what is a monumental series and one of the greatest in all of science fiction. This review offers an excellent and concise summary of what the book does for the story. Be warned however that this novel doesn't offer a smooth silk thread of a plot where characters are affixed colourful and appreciable beads sliding along through well-paced curves and loops to a conclusion. The structure is unorthodox and consists mainly and most significantly of digressions from the eponymous God Emperor, Leto II, whose sacrifice in order to set humanity on the Golden Path his father deferred, has physically and mentally alienated him from it. In something of a reversal of the fate Frazer gives for the Sacred King, the God Emperor suppresses and goads the various factions of his new empire to force the end he desires in order to jolt civilisation out of stagnation. Another reviewer briefly notes how this is a glimpse of 'alien motives' à la Lovecraft, which is a very astute observation. At times Leto thinks of the Golden Path as a necessity for humankind's survival quite independently from the transient viewpoint of his human subjects, almost as an intellectual problem. Rarely do we find gods written about intimately in literature. The pitfalls are obvious. This is why all the facets and complexity Herbert bestows on his eponymous character here such a feat- unparalleled in my view. Numerous, often coy insights into the past that leads to doom if not for his Golden Path are ruminated upon by Leto alongside ambiguities which must be addressed at this late stage in his plans before his own necessary demise. To appreciate these requires a broad view of the complex social dynamics in Herbert's universe and an almost cynical openness to how a technologically advanced species might adapt economically, culturally and politically to the long reign of such a threat as the God Emperor. That Herbert was able to distill such far-reaching machinations and give voice to them through Leto instead of letting the narrative unravel more disconnectedly (but perhaps as effectively) as in Stapledon's and Asimov's work is a feat of daring which still strains credulity as I look back on this work. It isn't that the other characters are particularly flawed compared to the other novels, but their shortcomings and struggles of limited scope, given our view through Leto's eyes, appear to condemn the whole of humanity, past and present, which has accepted, but moreover was found desperately needing Leto's direction.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Uhm … holy shebang! I'm very much looking forward to Villeneuve's interpretation of Dune that will be shown in theaters this year so I decided to not only read the original book but also the rest of the series. This books shows Leto II having become a God Emperor to the known universe. Leto still has a human face but the rest of the body is covered in sand trouts. He’s 7m long, 2m wide, the legs have developed back into some form of fin, his arms are still recognizably human though. He knows he’ll Uhm … holy shebang! I'm very much looking forward to Villeneuve's interpretation of Dune that will be shown in theaters this year so I decided to not only read the original book but also the rest of the series. This books shows Leto II having become a God Emperor to the known universe. Leto still has a human face but the rest of the body is covered in sand trouts. He’s 7m long, 2m wide, the legs have developed back into some form of fin, his arms are still recognizably human though. He knows he’ll turn into a full worm soon. We also re-encounter Duncan Idaho. Yep, Leto keeps awakening gholas of the original Atreidis bodyguard and uses them for different roles. Leto and Duncan are the only familiar characters we meet in this volume. Because we start this 4th book off about 3500 years in the future from the previous three books! Leto II has carefully enforced the Golden Path, the great plan to ensure the survival of the human race, all this time. In order to create peace and ensure the survival of us all, he has ruled with an iron fist, holding back most spice, prohibiting mental training and making other "questionable" choices. Spice is rare (not least because almost all sandworms are gone), Arrakis is a forest planet complete with wolves patrolling a citadel and inhabitants that don’t even all believe the stories of the planet once having been a desert. At the beginning of the tale, a few youths break into Leto’s "tomb" on Arrakis, dreaming of glory like the mythological Fremen (yep, there are no actual Fremen anymore either), cursing Leto and being determined to destroy him so as to end his rule! Instead, what they end up doing is stealing personal journals. (view spoiler)[The prologue shows the discovery of records in an even farther future, a time when Paul Atreidis / Muad'Dib and Leto II / the God Emperor are ancestors that have passed almost into myth. Not too much is left of their own original recordings (and what can be found is "of primitive material" and thus only accessible, if at all, with difficulty) so any discovery is extraordinary and valuable beyond belief. What they found are the journals Siona had stolen and their reaction teaches us that humanity will come to appreciate what Leto has done. (hide spoiler)] The one opposing Leto the most is Siona, a descendent of Ghanima and Farad’n ((view spoiler)[she’s the daughter of Leto’s advisor during his last years (hide spoiler)] ). One must understand that despite people living longer than 100 years thanks to Melange/Spice, I doubt that the people living in any given moment could truly comprehend the full plan. The interesting part was that when Siona, for example, saw the Golden Path during her spice-induced trance, she still didn’t agree. However, peace comes at a price and Leto has learned to make the hard choices ((view spoiler)[I mean, he lived so long and is so powerful, yet he is never tempted but accepts and even works towards his own death - to say nothing of the loneliness he must have suffered from (hide spoiler)] ). And that is what has earned him more and more enemies (from within the Empire and outside, because they all want more power for themselves). So yes, several factions are planning the God Emperor’s death. There is so much more to look at, so much more getting explored all the while we’re following Leto, Siona, Duncan and a few others … but I can’t spoiler too much. Let’s just say that, as usual, there are plans within plans, and god-like powers do not mean there is no risk to Leto. But maybe that’s the whole point? ((view spoiler)[I loved that the water of life was what "killed" Leto and that he, technically, didn’t really die but will live on in the many worms his death is creating - it’s like organ donation but with pieces of his mind in those sand trouts - which also means that the life on Arrakis will be aware and conscious, not "just animal". (hide spoiler)] ) In my opinion, this 4th book was the weirdest, most alien, and "worst" so far. I don’t know if it is due to there being hardly any people I knew and couldn’t connect with Siona very much, or if it was for some other reason. Simultaneously, though, it was truly awesome! Not just the typical writing style (which, yes, I love) or the fact that it felt like a story about Ancient Egypt (despite Arrakis no longer being a desert) but also where the author is taking this series, what has happened in this book alone, also what has happened between books 3 and 4, and what might still happen until the end of the series - the scope is actually blowing my mind! I loved how every step served a purpose, how the author never took the easy way out and made us embark on a journey full of twists and turns that has such an intelligent plot, I can only marvel at his creation. So yeah, I’m quite confused now. *lol* Mind you, "worst" book still puts this firmly ahead of most others I’ve read. I’m simply comparing it with the others of this series that I’ve read so far. Not to mention that the books make you think a lot about our reality. The danger of religion or - in this volume, specifically - about the theory regarding stagnation being the death of any species (and what that means for us right now) to name but two examples (I agree with the author regarding both). Considering when the books were written, how the author concealed his theories (had to), … it is irrefutable proof of his intelligence. I can't wait to continue.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melee Farr

    I just finished this one and liked it almost as much as the first, which is really saying something. I have to say that Leto disgusted me at first ... gave me the willies just reading about him, kind of like squishing a snail, but by the end of the book, I felt dreadfully sorry for him, and had a reluctant respect for the lonely choices he made. I'd certainly have never made those sacrifices. I have a pile of quotes from the wise Mr. Herbert to add here .... I just finished this one and liked it almost as much as the first, which is really saying something. I have to say that Leto disgusted me at first ... gave me the willies just reading about him, kind of like squishing a snail, but by the end of the book, I felt dreadfully sorry for him, and had a reluctant respect for the lonely choices he made. I'd certainly have never made those sacrifices. I have a pile of quotes from the wise Mr. Herbert to add here ....

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    I absolutely love this book. God Emperor of Dune is different from others novels in the series, and while I can understand why it might be off putting to some, for me this is the most beautiful and personal narrative in the whole series. I applaud Herbert for trying out something different and going for a book that was so heavily focused on an individual...and what an individual he is! A god who dislikes religion, because: “Religious institutions perpetuate a mortal master-servant relationship,” I absolutely love this book. God Emperor of Dune is different from others novels in the series, and while I can understand why it might be off putting to some, for me this is the most beautiful and personal narrative in the whole series. I applaud Herbert for trying out something different and going for a book that was so heavily focused on an individual...and what an individual he is! A god who dislikes religion, because: “Religious institutions perpetuate a mortal master-servant relationship,” Leto said. “They create an arena which attracts prideful human power-seekers with all of their nearsighted prejudices!” Leto II is one of my all time favourite characters! I read this book years ago, but so many thoughts from God Emperor of Dune are still with me. I can't tell you how many times my mind has remembered something Leto II has said. If you want to avoid spoilers, now is a good time to stop reading this review. It is impossible to say something coherent about it without referring to the third novel in the series, so if you haven't read that one, there might be spoilers for it here as well. This novel is fourth in Dune's series, and although it is in some ways different from others, I would still recommend you to read the others as well, because this book is best understood in the context of Dune universe. I suppose that in some ways God Emperor of Dune might be an interesting read on its own, especially since it is a more personal narrative, but as I said, it is best read as a part of a series. This novel is set in a very different universe, one that is thousands of years away from where the third novel left off. Leto II has access to complete historical records, which allow him to study human evolution- an important theme for this book. At the start of this book, Leto II has ruled the known universe for 3, 5000 years, and the son is nothing like the father (even if he has ever been). Leto II has destroyed Paul's Fremen army and their identity, replacing it with his own Fish Eaters, an all female army. Many known powers from the old universe are either destroyed, suppressed or kept on a very tight leash in this world ruled by one power. That's not the only thing that makes God Emperor of Dune different from the books predating it- a large portion of books is written in the form of quotations, monologues and speeches of Leto II. Apparently, Herbert wrote the first draft of the novel as a first person narrative of Leto II. It definitely shows. I loved learning more about God Emperor of Dune as the novel progressed. At first I didn't know how to feel about him. I mean Leto II is a three thousand year old giant worm, a god of sorts, who also happens to be a ruthless and absolute dictator of the known world, a powerful tyrant who is - wait for it- actually saving the human race by suppressing and opposite them until they can't take it any longer and become ready to scatter into space, thus saving themselves from the threat of extinction. Alright, that was a long sentence. If Leto II wasn't written so brilliantly, this would have been a dull novel. Fortunately, the God Emperor is endlessly fascinating and touchingly human in his strangeness. Another odd but interesting detail was Leto II transformation. He is part animal, part human. As a human, he is more than any human has ever been (having lived for thousands of years as well as having access to full history of human race) but there is also an animal like characteristic to him. When Leto II gets angry, he kills. This kept me on edge as the novel progressed. It created a weird contrast between his highly intelligent and absolutely wild persona. Leto II take on politics is just as fascinating. Take what he says about conservatives and liberals: “Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It’s true! Liberal governments always develop into aristocracies. The bureaucracies betray the true intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first, the little people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of course, all bureaucracies follow this pattern, but what a hypocrisy to find this even under a communized banner. Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything it’s that patterns are repeated. My oppressions, by and large, are no worse than any of the others and, at least, I teach a new lesson. —” I can't forget this jewel of a thought either: "“Remember that there exists a certain malevolence about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence by an artificial entity. Despotism and slavery hover at the edges. Many injuries occur and, thus, the need for laws. The law develops its own power structure, creating more wounds and new injustices. Such trauma can be healed by cooperation, not by confrontation. The summons to cooperate identifies the healer.” What Leto II thinks of police and military is fascinating as well: “Police always observe that criminals prosper. It takes a pretty dull policeman to miss the fact that the position of authority is the most prosperous criminal position available.” “Unceasing warfare gives rise to its own social conditions which have been similar in all epochs. People enter a permanent state of alertness to ward off attacks. You see the absolute rule of the autocrat. All new things become dangerous frontier districts—new planets, new economic areas to exploit, new ideas or new devices, visitors—everything suspect. Feudalism takes firm hold, sometimes disguised as a politbureau or similar structure, but always present. Hereditary succession follows the lines of power. The blood of the powerful dominates.” Why did the Leto II had to create the golden path? Because he understood the need. The world he was supposed to rule was deeply unstable. His father Paul unleashed religious fantastic onto the world, the Bene Gessiret were growing increasingly powerful as were other fractions and power allegiances controlling the human race. Let us not forget that Dune society of old is basically a feudal system and as such bound to be unjust. There is so much sense in what God Emperor did- but does that justify him? Leto II is a tyrant but there is logic in his seeming madness. It was fantastic seeing the story unfold. There are a lot of moral dilemmas in this one, lot of things to wrap your head around. I'm not sure how I felt about Duncan ghola to be honest. I feel like there is more to Duncan that I was able to see. At times he seemed to be there only as recipient of Leto's messages, but at times Duncan seems like something more. I think I still need to figure him out, and the emperor's use of Duncan as well. Why is he so important to him? I mean besides the obvious reason revealed by the end of the book. “Duncan, I am a teacher. Remember that. By repetition, I impress the lesson.” “What lesson?” “The ultimately suicidal nature of military foolishness.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    God Emperor of Dune made me feel really weird while I was reading it, and this is after like a half-summer of feeling really fucking weird reading every one of these books, but seriously -- I am saying, weird. Like, the universe opens its eye and watches you watching it. That kind of weird. One weird thing about this book, aside from the title being the most metal thing on earth, is that it is essentially one long scene. Herbert finds ways to break it up, of course, but really, it's somehow 400 p God Emperor of Dune made me feel really weird while I was reading it, and this is after like a half-summer of feeling really fucking weird reading every one of these books, but seriously -- I am saying, weird. Like, the universe opens its eye and watches you watching it. That kind of weird. One weird thing about this book, aside from the title being the most metal thing on earth, is that it is essentially one long scene. Herbert finds ways to break it up, of course, but really, it's somehow 400 pages of all the characters saying, "What's your deal, God Emperor of Dune?" and then Leto II, the God Emperor Sandworm-Man, speaking in riddles that drive you crazy. This book literally doesn't explain anything until the last 4 pages, which really shouldn't work, 400 pages of questions and 4 pages of answers, and it doesn't work, I guess, not totally, except while you are reading it, during which time it totally does. Herbert uses this book, essentially, to discuss the nature of societal power structures, and what about them works and doesn't work, and why he believes this is so. And because Herbert's not actually a sociologist and Leto II is not actually a trustworthy or sympathetic character, the layers of interpretation you need to go through just to make sense of the book's ideas are hard to even pinpoint. Reading this book is like herding cats, if cats were made of light. God Emperor of Dune is not only really fun to say, it is also a pretty cool book to read. I don't know if it's actually good, but I do know that I got a lot -- a lot -- out of going through it. Check in with me in four years or so, and we'll see if I was able to read it again and actually make sense of it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ramón S.

    This book is horrible. A total mess. Frank Herbert had been writing a book without sense sometimes even ridiculous. What is the point? I ended this book almost infuriated. Leto II is disgusting and a jellyfish literally speaking. I put this book in the shelf “worst books ever”. Really a sub one star

  29. 5 out of 5

    Seadrift

    After awhile I was feeling that I was back at my Philosophy classes back in High School, but hey, I can't argue against a best-selling author. After awhile I was feeling that I was back at my Philosophy classes back in High School, but hey, I can't argue against a best-selling author.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Pramitte

    This book has changed my life. It's after I read it that I decided to become an immortal giant worm, and to travel across the whole universe to have sex with the most beautiful creatures (of every of the 17 existing sexes). Oh, and I've killed one trillion people but I swear they were annoying. What a wonderful life! This book has changed my life. It's after I read it that I decided to become an immortal giant worm, and to travel across the whole universe to have sex with the most beautiful creatures (of every of the 17 existing sexes). Oh, and I've killed one trillion people but I swear they were annoying. What a wonderful life!

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