Book notes: Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert book summary review and key ideas.

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Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert


“The epic, multimillion-selling science-fiction series continues! The second Dune installment explores new developments on the planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and strange, threatening environment

Dune Messiah picks up the story of the man known as Muad’Dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men.

But the question is: DO all paths of glory lead to the grave?” -Audible

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Opening thoughts:

I finished Dune a couple months ago and I loved it. It was pretty much a given that I would pick up the sequel to the original. Plus, I’m excited for the movie coming out in a couple weeks, and reading this will keep the story fresh in my mind.

Key notes:

  • Paul and Aliyah were mentally/spiritually beyond time and space but physically lived within it
  • Without melange, billions of people addicted to it would die of withdrawal
    • Paul’s monopoly of it and the planet of Arrakis gave him power over everyone

Chapter 1

  • Princess Irilan wanted to be the mother in the Royal line, and was plotting with some others against him
    • She was also secretly giving contraceptives to Chaney so she wouldn’t give Paul an heir

Chapter 2 

  • One who rules assumes irrevocable responsibility for the ruled
  • Chaney brought up the idea of fulfilling Irilan’s desire for a child
    • Her being pregnant would make their enemies question her loyalty and make her less useful to them
  • Chaney was looking out for Paul above her own feelings and said he needed an heir
    • And since Chaney herself could not produce one, logical Fremen choice would be to have a child with Irilan

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

  • They met the man who was created from Duncan Idaho’s body after he died

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

  • Aliyah proved she could handle a rigorous training exercise
    • Paul, Aliyah and Stilgar also discussed needing to find a mate for Aliyah as she was coming of age. She also felt this desire
  • The three of them discussed the looking threat of guild’s men trying to steal a worm and try to make melange on another planet

Chapter 8

  • Paul referenced other emperors like Gengkis Kahn and Hitler and their achievements in people killed
    • Also referenced Paul’s own achievements in billions of people his empire has killed, planets and religions destroyed

Chapter 9

  • Aliyah and Hate/Duncan chatted about his motives and abilities, as well as hers and what Paul should do with him

Chapter 10

  • Paul and Duncan discussed his moon vision with Duncan and how those with visions usually fear it
    • He also said how Paul has seen so much time that he feels he is immortal 

Chapter 11

  • Paul bargained with the Reverend Mother to spare Chaney in exchange for his bloodline, a child with Irilan

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

  • Paul, Chaney, and Duncan discussed his desire to be reverted to what he once was, which helped Chaney see him as a real man 

Chapter 14

  • A Fremen woman brought a message to Paul to travel and seek information about a plot against him by a group of Fremen

Chapter 15

  • Paul witnessed the ceremony of worshipers coming to see Aliyah and ask her questions

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

  • There was an atomic attack and Paul’s eyes were damage but he still led everyone because of his vision and powers

Chapter 18

  • Paul, Aliyah, and Stilgar had a formal trial for the traitor Fremen and exposed more of them based on their reactions
    • Paul also proved he could see without eyes and put fear into everyone

Chapter 19

  • This dwarf revealed his plot to use Duncan’s brainwashing to trigger him to kill Paul at the right moment

Chapter 20

  • Aliyah took a dangerous amount of spice in order to have the same visions as her brother, but thankfully Duncan got her medical treatment in time

Chapter 21

  • Chaney was about to give birth. Also, Duncan discovered that he was brainwashed to do something against his will when triggered

Chapter 22

  • Chaney died giving birth to twins
  • Paul managed to save his children from the assassin by using a visual link with his newborn son

Chapter 23

  • Paul went into the desert and people wondered if he would survive
  • Irilan vowed to raise Paul’s children
    • Aliyah also grieved Paul dearly and yearned for Duncan to comfort her and love her

Closing thoughts:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book as a sequel to the first. I won’t say that it matched the level of storytelling as the first book, plus it was also a fraction of the length. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed that the author was able to continue the story and made it feel like a true continuation of Paul’s story.

I also liked the element of following Aliyah’s story as her character is just as interesting, if not more so than Paul. My only complaint is that I wish the author didn’t sexualize her as much. I get that it was to illustrate her shifting mindset from a child into a woman (though she has the inner knowledge and experience of many women before her), but it felt too forced. Also, the author didn’t do the same for Paul in the last book when he was also coming of age. I think this was just a classic case of gender sexualization.

At this point, I’m not sure if I’m going to continue reading the rest of the series. From my understanding, some of the books were written by the original author, but some weren’t. I might try picking up the third book after this one, but probably down the line.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

I don’t have an explicit takeaway from this book in particular. However, if I’m looking at the series so far, one of my favorite things about Paul and his family is their loyalty to each other. I think that’s one of their strengths that allows them to survive against outside forces.

Not only is their immediate family extremely loyal to each other, but the people who serve them also have undying loyalty to Paul and his family. It reinforces the maxim:

  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care


As the new emperor, Paul, along his sister Aliyah, have to deal with the impending threats to his family while trying to lead his people.

Similar books:


Rating: 3 out of 5.


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