Is Dune the only book in the series worth reading?

So I just finished Dune and loved it, should I continue in the series? I am worried that it will start to jump the shark and I've read reviews that say as much. I love reading and so it's no problem if I waste time on a bad book here and there, but with so many good books to read and my memories of this one fresh and good, I hate to ruin these memories if the sequels take a turn for the worse. Any thoughts from people who have read Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, etc.?

I tried reading the second book, and despite being less than half the length of the first book, I couldn't get through it.

Dune, of course, was fantastic. Maybe I'll read through it again, and then try to surmount the sequels.


I read two others. Wished I hadn't.

Thin_J wrote:


I read two others. Wished I hadn't.

That's kind of what I'm afraid of. A good example. I started reading Asimov and fell in love. Then I started the Foundation series. A friend warned me that Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation rocked. But that Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth were bad. I didn't listen and in my zeal I read them all. Now that one I don't entirely regret, but it did ruin much of the myster and fun of the original Foundation novels. I'm afraid I'd feel the same way about Paul Muad'Dib and his relationship with Chani if I went beyond where Dune left it.

Thin_J wrote:


I read two others. Wished I hadn't.

Hah, same here! I can only recommend staying away from them if you want to keep your fond memories of the first book.

Seconded/fifthed. The first was absolutely brilliant. I read the second and was left underwhelmed. I tried the third and got halfway through before giving up.

Unorthodox of me, but i'd suggest rather see TV miniseries of Dune. Have watched it several times and quite enjoyed, tho never managed to any read books past the first Dune.

"Dune 2000"
"Children of Dune"

I have read the first three books and enjoyed them, shrug, ymmv.

I thought the second was merely okay, and the series continued to go downhill from there.

Read them all and can recommend them. I did like both book 2 and 3 though, if you didnt, I guess your opinion wont chance from reading further.

Especially the last book (Chapterhouse Dune) is great (Comparable to Dune 1 imo).

It probably depends what you liked about about Dune. The 3 next books are less action-based than the first. More talking, religion, politics and a bit philosophy. And of course, the downfall of the "superhero" Paul, which Dune 1 was leading toward.
While the last fifth books are quite more action-based. But then again, action was never a big thing in any Dune book.

But I know a lot don't like the rest of the books, still, give them a try and see.
Just remember to do yourself a favor and stay away from the "new Dune" books by Brian Herbert.

2/3 are the weakest of the entire cannon I believe. I love Heretics and Chapterhouse (5/6)

To blaspheme, allow me to recommend the 6 books by his son. Most people will overlook them as a kind of Christopher Tolkein money grubbing, which would be a mistake. I actually found myself enjoying those 6 books more than any of the others but for the very first Dune. They're not masterful prose, but they're really, really compelling plot and awesome character development.

My younger brother is a big Dune fan. He's read all the books, I think. I do remember him saying that the sequels suck but he reads em anyways.. He also liked that recent miniseries too.

I'll have to agree that books 2 and 3 were bad. But I thought books 4, 5 and 6 are well worth reading for different reasons. Book 4 is very heavy on his whole religion, government philosophy while 5 and 6 are more in-line with the first book as far as all around goodness is concerned. If you can get through the two mini-series and then just pick up books 4, 5, and 6 I think it would be good.

I read all of them, loved them, though book three is a bit foggy in my memory. Things got really interesting for me with God Emperor of Dune, and the last two were pretty neat as well. Miles Teg is a great character who shows up in the later books, sort of a grizzled descendent of the Atreides line. Just the attempt to track factions and families over the thousand year jumps that the later books make is impressive. Where else can you read about Jews living 26,000 years in the future. That's sort of a mild spoiler, I guess.

Just make sure to stop with Chapterhouse. I've glanced over a couple of the books by his son, and it just ain't right.

I've read them all and they didn't thrill me as much as the Dune. I did like God emperor though, and keep hoping to see it made for tv on Sci-fi. The prequels I had heard bad stuff about, but I really enjoyed them all, more so than most of the originals. I especially liked the House Harkonen, and the Butlerian Jihad. I haven't read Hunters of Dune yet though.

The last three in the series are MUCH better than the 2nd and 3rd. They do get considerably more political, but I like it. The social commentary on the roles of religion and government is very interesting.

Messiah and Children are ok, but still worth reading, especially if you like the political intrigue stuff. God Emperor is a great read, nearly as good as the first book. I go back and re-read the series every five years or so, but I usually stop after God Emperor. That book really started to make sense to me after doing a lot of Vampire: The Masquerade role playing. The whole idea of a plan spanning millenia and the will to achieve it gets explored in the same well thought out way that Herbert explored the super man in the first Dune book.

You're save with anything up to and including God Emperor. The rest makes you want to gouge your mind's eye out, both the stuff by Frank Herbert and the later stuff by his son and co-author Kevin J. Anderson.

I think the 2nd book is the weakest in the series, especially since it seems to rehash over a bunch of stuff from the first novel so that Herbert could end it on a note to take the rest of the series where it ultimately goes. I am willing to say that the Sci-Fi adaption of the 2nd/3rd books into the second Dune mini-series does these two books pretty decent justice. I think that the last two books of the original series are the best of them all, it just sucks it ends on a cliffhanger. I've not yet read the son's continuation of the original series (first book out now) but have read his prequels and while the material is there and is presented 'ok' it does not have the artistry holding it together that his fathers words do with the originals.

That said I enjoy the whole 'original' series, after reading through it all once, you'll start picking up things in the previous books that are foreshadows of things to come later if you ever decide to reread them. For about a decade I read them all once a year but I've slacked off in recent years lucky to bust them out 1 at a time per year.

Also keep in mind, the original Herbert did not like hero-worship and this series is all about that. If you empathise with the characters enough in this series you'll hate Paul for being a weak-willed selfish bastard when his son reveals the Golden Path.

I'll end it on this, if you like Paul Atriedes, you'll drool over Bashar Miles Teg; He's one bad ass MF.

Brizahd wrote:

I've read them all and they didn't thrill me as much as the Dune. I did like God emperor though, and keep hoping to see it made for tv on Sci-fi. The prequels I had heard bad stuff about, but I really enjoyed them all, more so than most of the originals. I especially liked the House Harkonen, and the Butlerian Jihad. I haven't read Hunters of Dune yet though.

I'm with you on this one, excepting that I've only read Dune, Butlerian Jihad and The Machine Crusade. I've got the rest of them in a stack, and I'll get to them eventually. I find lately that I'm slowly burying myself in a pile of media that I'll get around to. :/

I've read them all, including Brian Herbert's books, and think they're all worth a read. The prequels by Brian Herbert are an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the universe, and are generally easier reads (credited to faster paced stories with a bit more action in them) than Frank Herbert's octology.

I've read all eight of the books several times, and have made it a point to try and get to book signings when Brian Herbert releases his books. I feel that Brian Herbert greatly credits his father's work, and fills in a huge number of the inconsistencies that were supposed to be filled in with future Dune installments.

The second book is something to survive. I happen to like all the rest. The prequels give Frank Herbert his own magnetic field, so rapidly is he spinning in his grave.

Read "Under Pressure" if you want a really really good Herbert book. It's also called "Dragon in the Sea".

For the record, I got through all the Herbert Dune books and most of the prequels. I found the original story to be well-crafted but somewhat inevitable, while the prequels were faster paced and more action-oriented. But they still did the job.

I think the original series deserves respect, but there are other series that hold up better. Similar in a way to Heinlein's more artsy books; they don't really do well transplanted out of the 60's and 70's.

All six of the original Frank Herbert books are awesome, but in different ways. I've only read one of the "prequels" and I thought it was pretty meh.

Seriously, do read them all. They are possibly the best sci-fi series out there. Every time I read them, I feel like I'm getting smarter. There is so much there, both entertainment and enlightenment.

To sum it up: You MUST read them all. Anything less would be a tragedy.

There's so much good stuff to read in the world. Why struggle through a crappy book to get to a few adequate sequels? Dune doesn't need a sequel - it's a fine book on its own.

Just finished The Butlerian Jihad and liked it However, the robots had to much emotion and the robots with human brains were to cartoonish. I'm not sure why the side story of dune guy was needed. Almost nothing dealing with the war on robots happen on dune.

The slave dynamic was interesting. Humans have slaves and robots have slaves. From the slave prospective they are both bad. This reminds me that in the first book humans were doing things to other humans that were just as bad or worse than the robots just at a smaller scale.

I wonder if the next book is going to be like the empire strikes back.

Thoughts on expanded Dune universe.


I'm gonna be honest, the Herbert Dune books and the subsequent expansions read like two completely different series. I read a bunch of these in my youth hoping for more Dune, and I didn't care where I got it. With the wisdom of age and reading a lot more books since then I find that the prequels seems more and more pointless. I loved the character of Gurney Halleck. Did I really need a first hand account of his sister's rape and murder in House Harkonnen? I know about the Butlerian Jihad. Did I really need a first hand account of Erasmus throwing a baby off a balcony? Imagine what people would say if Kevin J. Anderson started "expanding" the Middle Earth lore.

Hypocritically, it's ok for Star Wars with me? I might be the problem.

Alright, rant over. I don't mean to take away from your enjoyment, Baron. I hope you enjoy the books.

In the case of Star Wars that was a classic example of the lore sounding much more interesting than it was in practice. Trying to fit the prequel movies to line up perfectly with the lore on a point by point basis was frequently more tedious than anything else.

As far as Dune goes, I had a bad experience with the Foundation series and those were written by the same author, but with a large time gap in publishing. So I learned to distrust revisiting material in some ways.

DSGamer wrote:

As far as Dune goes, I had a bad experience with the Foundation series and those were written by the same author, but with a large time gap in publishing. So I learned to distrust revisiting material in some ways.

I get what you're saying, but it's a bit apples-to-oranges.

The 5 Frank Herbert Dune books were written as novels beginning in 1965 for Dune to 1985 for Chapterhouse: Dune). Everything else was written by his son.

The Foundation began as a serial which was then collected into three books in 1951-53, forming the original Trilogy. He returned to the Foundation setting in 1982 with two sequels and a prequel. A "second foundation trilogy" was written after his death by three different authors.

Having said that, my opinion in both cases about the same as yours: the works outside of the "original" series (Foundation trilogy and the Frank Hertbert Dune books) are pretty mediocre and not worth reading unless you're a very big fan of the settings.

Like many series there are books in the middle that mostly feel like setup for future stories. I still enjoy books 2&3 but they are not good compared to 5&6. I thought I read somewhere that Herbert had most of the future books (even after 6) planned out while working on first 3. His son’s books start just ok but are important back story that explain why the things in book 7+ end up happening and what everything was building towards. That being said you could just read a summary of all that history and skip the individual stories if you don’t feel inclined to read that many books just for back story. I’m glad I read them all but the only ones I reread are the original 6 and the ones that take place after those. I’ve never felt inclined to reread the “between” books or the prequel books.

TBH I still consider Dune to be one of my favorite series but I’m not sure how much of that is nostalgia. I first read the original 6 books as a teen.

I consider the new books (of which I have "only" read the first 8, of... I dont know, 14??) to be a literary crime against humanity.
The more of a fan you are of the originals, the less you should read the new ones They dont exactly ruin the original books, but they sure made a valiant effort.

Of the originals, my favorites are 1st and 6th. But they are all pretty good imo, and the second book is important for the first; the 6 books are essentially 2 trilogies.

Speaking of Dune, can't wait to see how the new movie is. Hard to believe it wont be catastrophic.