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Does Dune Live Up to the Hype?

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Brooke Nelson is a longtime book nerd. She enjoys reading young adult, thrillers, fantasy, and more.

From Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, to Josh Brolin and Rebecca Ferguson, Dune's all-star cast in itself has attracted attention.

Whether you watch a movie for its actors or for the story alone, chances are you have heard of at least one cast member prior to their involvement in Dune. For many people, the majority of the cast is recognizable.

There is no doubt that this fact accounts for much of the excitement surrounding the film. Who doesn't like to watch the work of an actor they know and love?

Unfortunately, film-related excitement means next to nothing about a story itself.

The truth is, Dune does not live up to the hype surrounding the film. It transcends it in fantastically unimaginable ways.

After reading the first installation in the Dune chronicles, the lingering question is not "was it worth reading?" but rather "why hasn't everyone read this yet?"

With a spectacular plot and an impressive writing technique, Dune offers something for every type of reader.

Though admittedly confusing at times, the plot never stops moving, even for the slightest second. It does not linger on meaningless details but, rather, progresses in a constantly exciting, always surprising manner.

Everyone has read a book with a chapter (or more) of such boring plot that they wondered when the misery would end. Fortunately, Dune entirely eliminated the possibility of this. The entire book provides for a pleasant reading experience by ensuring there are no points when the reader must question the time they are wasting on excruciatingly boring material.

It's fair to say that, although a lack of boring material is important, it only counts when it works in tandem with an already great story, which Dune does indeed possess.

The plot includes elements of science fiction and fantasy.

It should be noted that Dune does not rely too heavily on its science fiction aspect. The fact that the story takes place on fictional planets is somehow not made to be an absolute key component. This is written as a sort of in-passing note, not a major plot point.

The fantasy elements of Dune are clear but still utilized with caution. While the story obviously isn't a nonfiction book or even realistic fiction, it focuses more on its characters and the battle going on between individuals and families than on typical fantasy elements, such as magic.

Finally, and most importantly, is the creation and development of Dune's characters.

They are, in a word, superb.

It is very easy for a decent character to become caught up in a plot that outdoes them. Even with the fantastic plot that is Dune, though, none of the characters become subpar to their plotline.

Paul, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, is the main character and perhaps the most drastic example of character development. For a variety of reasons (none of which will be spoiled here for those who have yet to read the book), the Paul we meet at the beginning of the story is hardly recognizable in terms of the version we see at the end. His transformation is utterly fascinating to experience.

Despite Paul Atreides' role as main character in Dune, it is the Lady Jessica who is the real attention grabber.

Jessica, portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson, is a prime example of a protective mother and an intelligent, unbreakable woman you don't want to mess with. She embodies feminism through bravery, intellect, and skill in a world foreign to her.

And though she is strong, she does let that impede her kindness to those deserving of it, nor does she allow her kind nature to get in the way of putting someone in their place when the time comes.

Yet another example of superb character crafting is Gurney Halleck.

Initially presented as a stereotypical tough guy, the reader's vision of him is soon turned upside down when he suddenly breaks out in song and starts quoting the Bible.

Not many stories could pull that off. That is the magic of Dune. Gurney feels entirely in place within the plot. The characters of Dune are able to stand alongside their fantastic story and prove that the strongest stories don't focus solely on plotline or on characters, but on a skillfully created intermingling of the two.

© 2020 B E Rook

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