Review: Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert


4 out of 5 scattered stars

Yes. I was about 3/4 of the way through and was like…. I think I’m enjoying a Dune book. FYI: this review has adult situations. I mean for real.

In case you don’t know, this is the 6th book in the original Dune series, the last one written by Frank Herbert himself. I am listening to the audiobooks because otherwise, I would never have made it this far. The Dune books are filled with enormous amounts of unexplained phenomena, secret plans known only to one character and painfully detailed philosophy. Like, hundreds of pages of text full of philosophy. I like a little story with my philosophy. Sigh.

But this one didn’t suck as much as the others. I actually found the characters engaging. I have always loved Duncan Idaho, even though I wish they would let his poor corpse rest, and quit making gholas. Also – as I have listened to the series, I don’t always know how to spell the places, people and things, so forgive me if I err.

The Honored Matres have blasted Dune to glass. Nothing survived. It’s just a rock now, and they are trying to do the same to the rest of the Bene Gesseret planets…. if they can find them. The jewel among them being Chapterhouse, the wellspring of the Bene Gesseret. However, its location is on a need to know basis, and hardly anybody needs to know. Odrade is now Mother Superior and she’s hunkered there, trying to orchestrate a new scattering – sending Bene Gesseret out into the void with a few sandworms apiece, trying to save what they can. Meanwhile, the sandworms are doing their job and increasing the desert that rings the equator of Chapterhouse, turning it into a new Dune. But still, reports of Bene Gesseret planets hit by the Honored Matres and turned to ash come rolling in. Their current hope lies in the newly created Ghola and military genius (not to mention heir to the Atreides “wild abilities”) Miles Teg.

So they are waiting for the inevitable. The Honored Matres are coming. Destruction is inevitable. But suddenly, Odrade has an intuitive idea as to how to save their skins. Not that we will know what it is until the very end, until it is actually over. This is the same thing that has happened in the last 4 novels. Someone has a great idea, a grand path, a salvation, and we won’t know about it, we will just be irritated about it ever 100 pages or so. It’s there, but you will never know what part of the plan is being successful and is actually part of the plan, and what is total clusterfuck until it’s all over.

A burr in the plan is the existence of Duncan Idaho and his relationship with Murbella. She is a captured Honored Matre who is sexually enslaved to Duncan (yeah, cuz that can happen. I find the magical space pussy aspect really ridiculous and so infantile on the point of the author. I mean, how scared of vagina is this guy?) I haven’t done a review on a Dune book since starting this blog, so hit me up on Goodreads if you want to see my past reviews and thoughts on the magical space pussy. But Duncan and Murbella live on the no-ship. Those are magical ships that hide whoever is inside them. They don’t really explain how they work – if it’s magic or technology, but no-ships and no-spaces are supposed to be invisible and a block to prescience. They’re sort of like the Klingon cloaking device to the nth degree. Duncan needs to remain hidden  because the Honored Matres don’t want a man who has his knowledge – which is how to enslave someone sexually. So, magical space penis. He wants to escape, and wants Sheeana to help him. I don’t know why, and that is never discussed, but they have already entered into secret discussions they think no one knows about. But of course, the watchers are always watching. Murbella is beginning indoctrination into Bene Gesseret teachings. They want to learn from her as well, and combine Bene Gesseret knowledge with Honored Matres fighting styles.

As far as magical space pussy goes, yeah I’m gonna keep saying it, we see it at work this time. Yes, there is some child rape going on. I don’t know what else to call it. A chid can’t consent to sex, ghola or no. I was listening to this going down the road and I actually shut my windows because I didn’t want anyone to hear me listening to a woman having sex with a 10 year old. The idea is to awaken Teg’s memories of his past lives. I mean, at least this time we saw how it worked. I have no idea how someone could have sex with someone to the point they enslave them, or awaken memory, but apparently, it  can be done. I wish it would have remained a mystery because I didn’t need to read that. That’s kinda what’s wrong with so much of Dune. It’s just not believable. And things aren’t explained – is it technology? Is it magic? They don’t believe in computers but they travel through space and do nearly impossible things like controlling the climate of a whole planet… without computers? Of course they use computers. So that doesn’t jive with the whole NO USING COMPUTERS THEY ARE EVIL AND DEHUMANIZE HUMANITY.

Anyway – we finally see some Honored Matres. There is lots of subterfuge. Lots of death of popular characters. Lots of action happens off page. The best parts of Dune are always discussed in past tense. We do get into one battle, and it’s pretty good.

However, we aren’t done. There is something that has driven the Honored Matres back into the old Empire. And Duncan Idaho is the only one who can sense it. So I’m still on the Dune train.







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