As an added bonus (because who doesn't love a freebie?), I'm posting Kandice's review of Dune as well. Because her's is better than mine. And because she's just plain awesome. :)
For your reading enjoyment... Kandice's review:
"This was a re-read for me. Actually, probably more of a re-re-re-re...read! I love this book. I've read the entire series (that Herbert wrote himself), and they are all terrific, but this one is, by far, the best. We meet the Atreides and their retainers. We are introduced to the Guild, Fremen, other great Houses, the Bene Gesserit, Mentats, many religions and so, so much more. I'm amazed at how detailed a picture Herbert is able to paint in relatively few pages for it's scope.
This, the first in the series, is basically the end of status quo in the Empire. Paul Atreides and the Fremen bring about a new age, and it's long overdue. Dune is divided into three "books". In the first book that status quo is sketched out, but the other two books are devoted to the coming of the new age. It leaves me hungry for more. Thank goodness Hebert wrote more!
I hate to give away any of the plot, but I would like to praise Herbert's skill. He gives us characters that are super intelligent, intuitive, strong, excellent strategists, possessing any number of seemingly super-human abilities. His genius is in the way he shows us these abilities are aquired. These people work to become what they are. They train and study and practice. All the time. From birth sometimes. There are no born superheroes in Herbert's world. There are hardworkers, and yes, a little genetic help, but always work. I can trust these characters actions as true and believable because Herbert has presented them in such a flattering light. Even the bad guys work very, very hard for what they have. They lie, cheat, steal and kill, but they work hard to do so. I find it refreshing that things do not come easily. They require a price. Just like in the real world.
The other praiseworthy thing I feel Herbert accomplishes is giving us characters to balance each other out. Paul, who is arguably the main character, becomes less and less like us, so almost unsympathetic, and yet Herbert balances him with Jessica, who, even as she rises, stays emotionally accessible to us. We can sympathize and care about her. We have Stilgar who is honor personified, and yet also unsympathetic in his perfection. The foil to him is Idaho, as honor bound as Stilgar, and yet infinitely more approachable. I love Idaho. I could foil characters from this book off each other for pages, but the idea is the same. He gives us someone we can admire, and someone else we can love. Brilliant!
Now I want to go back a re-read them all. I may even break down and read the pre-quels Herbert didn't write. Maybe..."