Title: Mentats of Dune

Author: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 658

Rating: 4/5

This book kind of took me back to the first trilogy that Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson worked on to continue the legacy of the original Dune series that was created by Herbert’s father, Brian. I wasn’t expecting to think much of the books because I’d heard so many bad things, and then they blew my mind and took what I liked about Dune and fused it with more intrigue and adventure.

This is actually the second of three books that take place after the Butlerian Jihad and the war against the robots, and in some ways I think it’s even more interesting than those. That’s because I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi that contrasts humans with robots, but this takes it one step further.

The war against the machines has been won, but the Butlerians still aren’t happy. They demand the cessation of all forms of technology, except of course the spacecraft that they use to propagate their message. I hate those guys, if only because they remind me of the hypocrisy of most of our modern religious leaders.

And I think that’s what Herbert and Anderson do so well. True, they have an extra 40 years of history to draw from, but they do such a good job of reflecting our own world that it’s easy to forget that you’re reading futuristic science fiction.

And of course, it’s also space opera, which is like a soap opera but grittier and with a lot more intrigue. In other words, it’s Game of Thrones in space, except that by this point, even more world building has gone into it. We’re able to delve into story lines that just wouldn’t have been possible without all of the ground work.

The result is a great little sci-fi read that also investigates some big subjects, which is the perfect kind of science fiction if you ask me. That’s why I love Isaac Asimov so much, and it’s impressive that Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson were able to pull it off, especially after so many other books in the series and so much ground already covered.

If you ask me, the worst thing about this book is that it’s the penultimate book, and so there’s only one more after this and then a Frank Herbert biography that Brian wrote with a new novella in it. Considering that I was lukewarm on the Dune series when I first started reading it, I’m surprised that I now don’t want to leave it.

I think that’s largely a testament to the skills of both Herbert and Anderson. I’ve been super impressed by everything that I’ve read from them, and this one ranks up there in the top four or five of their collaborations.

But at the same time, you’re going to want to read the series in order, and so I’m not saying you should skip ahead to this one. You kind of have two options, which is to either read the books in chronological order or in publication order. I went with the latter of the two, and I still think that’s probably the best way to do it.

So what’s left to say, then? Well, not much, really. Just take my word for it that the Dune series is worth sticking with until the end, and that you should do your best to check it out and to stick with it to this point if you have any interest in science fiction. There’s a reason why Dune is held up on a pedestal, and this book is a great illustration of why it deserves its place, even though it’s more modern than classic.

So to summarise, I thought this was excellent, and I’m looking forward to the next one, though it’s also bittersweet. I freakin’ love Dune.

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