Ok. I've read it. I finished it. And oh....my....god, it was so incredibly boring.
Except for Jessica's two flashbacks, nothing of real importance happens. Just endless recaps of the previous books (and prequels) and Jessica crying and moaning about how awful Paul and Alia's reign had become. And the flashbacks? Slightly less boring, but that is easily compensated by the stupidity of the plot.
Throughout the book, I had to put it down and scream: WHYYYYYY? Here are my WHY'S:
(I knew it was going to be fun when the first WHY was on page one, the preface.)
- WHY does Bronso of Ix think that even the best historians will never find out why Muad'dib walked into the desert?
The best historians must be unaware of certain Fremen traditions?
- WHY are there bars, restaurants and even a shopping mall on a guild highliner?
- WHY doesn't Alia understand why Paul gave his daughter the name Ghanima?
- WHY do suspension-engines need fuel-hoses?
- WHY does Alia need Jessica's advice to realize that no-one can tell the difference between bodywater and tapwater?
- WHY is it possible for that Tupile-delegation to pay Jessica a surprise-visit in the middle of the Citadel, without guards?
- WHY, if Mohiam is in Alia's Other Memory, does Alia call Baron Harkonnen 'grandfather'(in DUNE), but doesn't call Mohiam 'grandmother'?
- WHY does Paul decide to run away with that rotten kid Bronso? He was sworn to protect him, but I could think of easier ways to do it. Like, warn his daddy or lock him up?
- WHY does Paul have high-security codes for all the doors on a Highliner? Bronso didn't tell him, he'd already run off.
- WHY do BH & KJA think Paul Atreides doing the dishes for space-gypsies is a cool idea?
- WHY is it possible for a lowly steward on the highliner (who serves drinks to passengers), to release prisoners Paul and Bronso from a high security area?
- WHY would any respectable circusmanager want to call himself 'Rheinvar the Magnificent' and expect to be taken seriously? Better to call yourself 'Clown Cliche' and be done with it.
- WHY are the characters in this book so dumb?:
BG want Tessia -> Tessia says no -> Next day, Tessia unconscious -> BG take Tessia with them.
Rhombur asks: could BG have done that?
Jessica thinks long time and says: No.
Rhombur says: Ok.
- WHY does Stilgar say he doesn't know anything about rivers, when he nearly drowns in one in the previous novel (PoD).
- WHY does Paul say to Irulan that Atreides-heirlooms are no longer important to him? Did I miss something?
- WHY are Jessica and Gurney the first (and only ones) who notice the bodies being stolen on the jihad battlefield-video? And
WHY do they forget this immediately? They never mention it again.
- WHY is Duncan suddenly Alia's harsh, angry goon? Multiple personality disorder?
- WHY do a Mayor and a priest of a town on Caladan have the power to declare independence for the entire planet? And
- WHY is Gurney playing with his dogs? Shouldn't he be doing Jessica's job, while she is travelling?
- WHY is this man Mayor anyway? After Jessica returns, she explains (twice!) why declaring independence is dangerous, and he still doesn't get it. Stupid characters.
- WHY psychic tornadoes around Tessia? Never explained.
- WHY are guilt-casters able to project 'Waves of psychic energy'? ...That Jessica is able to 'deflect'? Their mana pool must be huge and I wonder what their THAC0 is.
- WHY can Jessica not be convinced to kill her own son by the BG, but two pages later she decides to do it anyway on her own?
- WHY can facedancers roam freely and undetected on Wallach IX, in plain daylight amidst 20 billion BG's????
- WHY stickers on luggage in a DUNE novel?
- WHY's is KJA's 'Whisper of Caladan Seas' literally mentioned? Not one, but Two shameless plugs.
- WHY does Tessia, a BG, not know a foreign body was implanted in her neck?
And some golden oldies that need to be mentioned again and again:
- WHY was Paul baptised on Caladan? Maybe because he was born there?
- WHY does Paul travel to Ix when his first off-world trip was to Arrakis?
- WHY is Castle Caladan on a cliff near the sea (Answer: becawz its in teh moooo-vee!!)
And the most important question:
- WHY so many stupid characters and stupid plots?
Irulan gives the answer herself in the first interlude: She admits to Jessica she has been thinking for a while about an extra book for a younger audience that deals with Paul's younger years.
Can we read this as an official admission by KJA & BH that the McDunes are really Young Adult novels?
Finally, an interesting bit from Alia that explains KJA/BH psychology: (translated from Dutch, sorry, don't have the English text)
"Her brother had changed the human race forever, but Alia too would take her place in history, since Paul had left it to her to pick up the pieces to glue them together as she saw fit. If she could make the Empire strong and stable, Historians would perhaps regard her higher than Muad'dib. For her, it was just a matter of reducing Paul's legacy in a calculating way and exaggerating her own accomplishments. She would stand on his shoulders and take advantage of his victories".