For years now, my husband has been encouraging me to read Dune, by Frank Herbert. This summer, I finally read it, and once I got into the novel, I really did enjoy it.
Dune is the first of a series of books, this one tells the story of Paul, and the rest of the house of Atreides, as well as the other ducal house they feud with, the Harkonnens. It is set in the distant future, where space travel is possible due to the spice melange, but where a strict feudal system is in place, with houses controlling entire planets, and a rather insecure emperor ruling over all. The desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune, is where the action takes place, and the native people, the Fremen, were my favorite part of the book. If you have seen the David Lynch movie, there is a lot of the book that is different, and much better. I think my husband was a bit surprised at how many times I paused the movie to point out inconsistencies and divergencies, but he was happy that I finally redeemed myself with Dune.
The second book I read during the week was Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25. It is clearly the first in a planned series, and is highly action based. I did feel that the characters could have been more developed, and that the ominous corporation needed to be developed more fully. The basic premise is that there is a small group of teenagers with special electrical powers, and they are being rounded up for nefarious reasons. The main character, Michael Vey, has Tourettes, and is small in size. One day, he gets sick of getting bullied, and he uses his power. He is seen, and soon there are major problems. I felt that the premise was interesting, and some of the characters had good potential, but some of the coincidences were rather hard to believe. There was the feel of an origin story here, but I wish it had been a bit clearer in some cases.
The second note of redemption in this summer reading week was that I read a graphic novel. I fell behind in my goal of reading graphic novels this year, so now I am trying to get back on track. This was both a Caldecott honor book this year, and a Printz honor book, and I found it both easy to read, with beautifully drawn panels, and complex in nature. Every summer both Rose and Windy, and their families, retreat to the town of Awago Beach for summer vacation. This year, everything seems complicated, as Rose and Windy are on the verge of growing up, and are both sheltered from, and exposed to, issues that they struggle to comprehend. It captures loss and pain beautifully, as well as that time when you start to realize your parents are flawed, and they don’t have all of the answers.