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House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert
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House Harkonnen (2000)

by Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson

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Copy of my Launchpad review from 2001 of Atriedes and Harkonnen:
A second instance of ‘add-a-chapter-to-an-existing-series’ syndrome. The first two books in the Prelude Trilogy (as far as I know one - and only one - more is to be printed sometime in 2001). This time written by the son of the creator, and a man with many credits for books in long running sci-fi universes.
Again, as a lover of both the book and the film I really liked these books; they capture the way in which the universe-spanning politics of CHOAM, the Landsraat, and the Imperium (shame on anyone who does not know what these are!) are really just a school-yard brawl with bigger catapults. They also introduce the young Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck and give insight into the motivations of Duke Leto and his generation.
However, and this is a small thing, I re-read Dune recently and these do not have the seminal epic vision. If you liked the film, these are great; if you love Dune then they fill in gaps but are not the fix you seek.
Obscure Fact: Kyle McLachlan, star of the cult series Twin Peaks, regards Frank Herbert’s Dune as his Bible, and reads it at least once a year.
( )
  Tyrshundr | Feb 6, 2014 |
If you’ve read my review of House Atreides, then you’ve pretty much read my review of House Harkonnen. Herbert and Anderson haven’t changed much from one book to the next. How regrettable.

One difference is a glaring one, and it is annoying as hell: The authors feel the need to constantly remind the reader of everything that happened in the preceding book. Everything. And its not done with subtlety, either; out of nowhere, they retell the plot of the first book in a journalistic style. Then 100 pages later, they rehash the exact same story. This might be fine if the audience was grade school kids who may get lost with the plot in such massive volumes, but I think this idea would be selling children short.

The plot of House Harkonnen didn’t seem as interesting as its predecessor’s did. My greatest fear concerning its story is that I know it will all be rehashed in House Corrino. As I’m sure House Atreides will be as well. It makes me wonder if they’ll even be a story in House Corrino, or will it be like one of those cheap flashback episodes far too many television shows have used over the years?

Surprisingly, I still have great hopes for Frank Herbert’s Dune and I am anxious to read this science-fiction great. Unfortunately, I have not an iota of faith in Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s collaboration. ( )
  chrisblocker | Mar 30, 2013 |
I was very disappointed with this one. After how good the previous book was, I found it disconcerting we had so many extra plot lines for no reason, along with every scene involving the Harkonnen's being terrible, bordering on ridiculous. The only bright side to this book was further development for Duncan Idaho and Leto Atreides, who continued to be interesting. I hope the characters are handled better in the final book of the trilogy. ( )
  bjh13 | Dec 28, 2011 |
I got a hundred pages in before saying to myself, "What was I thinking?" Brian Herbert's half (what there was of it that was detectable; I severely suspect that the only reason his name is on the dust jacket was for marketing purposes) barely covers up the stink of Kevin Anderson's goopy, vapid, deliberate "prose."Contrary to the reviewer's blurbs, this cash cow in the shape of a book is painfully contrived, insultingly predictable, and completely not in the spirit of Dune.Dropped it like it was hot and didn't finish it. Why bother? ( )
1 vote conformer | Feb 9, 2010 |
The three books are okay to read, definately a must for Dune fans. I read them before rereading the original Dune novel, and while reading the books, I couldn't wait to start reading Dune. Great as an appetizer! ( )
  AnotherPartOfMeLost | Jan 20, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Herbertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Kevin J.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Linden, Vincent van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To our mutual friend Ed Kramer,
without whom this project would never have come to fruition.

He provided the spark that brought us together.
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When the sandstorm came howling up from the south, Perdot Kynes was more interested in taking meteorological readings than in seeking safety.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553580302, Mass Market Paperback)

Don't even think about reading House Harkonnen without reading its predecessor Dune: House Atreides; anyone who does so risks sinking in the sands between Frank Herbert's original Dune and this prequel trilogy by Herbert's son, Brian, and Kevin J. Anderson. The purist argument that had Frank Herbert wanted to go backwards he would have done so is, at least in part, negated by the sheer narrative verve, and by the fact that Anderson and Brian Herbert manage to pull some genuine surprises out of this long-running space-opera. House Harkonnen is a massive book, and there are places where it becomes plot heavy, but in following the story of Duke Leto Atreides and the conflicts with House Harkonnen, the authors succeed in spinning a gripping adventure while going off in some unexpected directions. Anderson, who has written many successful Star Wars novels, has noted his particular admiration for The Empire Strikes Back, and his desire to emulate that film's dark take on the genre. In House Harkonnen, the conflict encompasses the tragedy of nuclear war, marked by grief and horror, vengeance and torment, and all while the complex intrigues continue to unfold. As one character puts it:

Everything has its cost. We pay to create our future, we pay for the mistakes of the past. We pay for every change we make--and we pay just as dearly if we refuse to change.

Ultimately this is the theme of a compelling game of consequences, choices, and responsibility, a study of Leto's growth into power and the price of politics and love. --Gary S. Dalkin, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

House Atreides and the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood are targeted by the power-hungry Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who enslaves several planets in his quest for control of the Known Universe, but Leto Atreides will protect his son Victor and his legacy as Duke at all costs.… (more)

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