Mentats of Dune: A Review
I’m a big fan of the Dune series of sci-fi novels. I’ve read them all, including all of Frank Herbert’s originals and the prequels and sequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. So I was excited when the latest book in the series, Mentats of Dune, came out recently. As the second book in the Great Schools of Dune trilogy, Mentats of Dune details the founding of the most powerful institutions in the Dune Universe, including the psychic sisterhood known as the Bene Gesserit, the transport monopoly called the Spacing Guild, and the human computers known as mentats.
Dune Series Ratings
Some of the prequel/sequel series are better than others. I would rank them as follows, going chronologically within the series’ timeline:
- Legends of Dune prequel trilogy: 4/5
- Great Schools prequel trilogy (of which this book is the second): 5/5
- Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy: 3/5
- Frank Herbert’s Dune (original): 6/5 (truly a work of genius)
- Heroes of Dune interquel trilogy: 4/5
- Frank Herbert’s Dune 2-4 sequels: 5/5
- Frank Herbert’s Dune 5-6 sequels: 4/5
- Brian Herbert/Keven J. Anderson’s 7-8 sequels: 3/5
You don’t have to read all the previous Dune books to enjoy Mentats of Dune. Though I would recommend (at the minimum) reading the original Dune book and the Legends of Dune trilogy. You’ll also want to read the first book in the Great Schools trilogy, Sisterhood of Dune, of which this is a direct continuation.
What I like about this book, and this trilogy, is the implication that the Butlerian Jihadis went too far in their quest to rid the universe of computers. Unlike the Legends of Dune trilogy, this book features many of the important institutions that feature in the original Dune, including the forerunners to the the Spacing Guild, CHOAM and the Bene Gesserit. It doesn’t feature much from the Tlelaxu, and the Ixians are not mentioned at all. And while the Great Schools trilogy does feature the Atreides, Harkonnens and Corrinos, it’s far enough removed from the original Dune to offer an entirely different cast of characters (unlike the Prelude to Dune trilogy).
If you’re a fan of the Dune series, or sci-fi in general, I highly recommend this book. Even if you strongly prefer Frank Herbert’s original books, I think you should give this trilogy a try.