I started reading this book several weeks ago as a parallel reading experiment. I'll kick this off by saying that parallel reading is intellectually stimulating, but not necessarily the most useful for the enjoyment of either piece of literature in question. ^^;
Dune is already a classic, published in the mid-1960's and establishing the space empire trope in all its fully developed and politically intriguing glory. Later works would take and run with that concept, but this is where it started, and OMIGOSH IT'S SO WELL DONE.
Before I lose myself to the fangirling, I'll bring it back to the parts we care about.
Dune is written in the first person, so everything that happens has an immediate and sometimes very visceral impact on the reader, bringing them up close and personal with the experiences of the narrator. The main character, Paul, is only 15 at the beginning of the novel, and the story follows him and the people that matter to him through the political and emotional upheaval the book centers on.
Other characters, like Paul's mother Jessica, his tutors, and his primary antagonist, the Baron Harkonnen, receive some time as narrators as well, introducing the reader to their innermost thoughts and motivations throughout the book and ensuring the audience has all the information while most of the characters only have bits and pieces.
The pacing is managed very well, starting off at a sedate pace and gradually getting faster and faster until the climax, which happens mere pages from the ending. I was on the edge of my seat there at the end, waiting with baited breath for what would happen next.
In addition, the slow reveal of bits of information that the reader can link together without being openly told what everything means leaves the audience feeling intelligent, since we know what's going on before the characters do. (And boy, do I love feeling smart!)
There are some scenes where death and grief are touched on, though never really delved into. Swearing is very minimal, and while the word "orgy" is mentioned, nothing is specifically described. Themes of overindulgence and discipline are central to the story, and this might be a good discussion topic if you're reading with someone else.
Overall, very well done. I enjoyed it immensely, and intend to find and read the other books in the series - I gather that there are many of them. <3
Until next week, stay awesome, you wonderful Readers you.