The Battle of Corrin: Continues the downward trend

3. The Battle of Corrinscience fiction book reviews Frank Herbert Dune The Machine CrusadeThe Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

One steps into the LEGENDS OF DUNE series not expecting the achievement of Dune, an unfairly high standard, but a good read with maybe some flashes of Dune‘s complexity of character, plot, and philosophy. The first book of this trilogy, The Butlerian Jihad, failed in the latter two areas but the plot was a good enough read to overcome those flaws.

The second book, The Machine Crusade, was a step backward, with the same weak characterization, but this time not balanced by a strongly told story. The Battle of Corrin, unfortunately, continues the downward trend. As in the other books, characterization is almost uniformly shallow, which is tough to do since we’ve followed some of these characters over the course of several long books now. Those characters we’ve seen in prior books don’t seem to have developed much and the new characters are mostly two-dimensional. The plot is weak, mostly an episodic narrative of battles among the three major groups at war (the humans, the cymeks, the robots). The weakness of the plot is exacerbated by the “been there, done that” sense of repetition. It seems the three books could easily have been combined into two, making for a more streamlined, less repetitive narrative. Not everything needs to be a trilogy (Tolkien be damned). Another flaw affecting involving both plot and character is that too many actions seem arbitrary or contrived, done more for the plotline than developing from character. Some, in fact, seem wholly out of character or simply unbelievable. Finally, whereas the first book mostly avoided the prequel problem of rote action meant to connect the dots of later books, this one is rolling in it, filled with awkwardly introduced or clumsily handled events and phrases written in so the reader can go “ahh, so that’s why they call them xxxxxxxx in Dune“. Admittedly, it’s a tough problem to overcome for any prequel, but seldom have I seen it so poorly handled.

If this were book one, I’d definitely recommend against starting the LEGENDS OF DUNE trilogy. But chances are, if you’ve reached Battle of Corrin, you’re going to read it no matter what, just to finish the series and see those connections to later DUNE books. So all I can say is don’t expect much, don’t feel bad about skimming, and have a good book set aside to dive into when you’re done; you’re going to want to recapture a good read quickly.


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BILL CAPOSSERE lives in Rochester NY, where he is lately spending much of his time trying to finish a book-length collection of essays and a full-length play. His prior work has appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other journals and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of several Best American Essay anthologies. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, co-writing the Malazan Empire re-read at Tor.com, or working as an English adjunct, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course, the ultimate frisbee field, or trying to keep up with his wife's flute and his son's trumpet on the clarinet he just picked up this month.

View all posts by Bill Capossere

2 comments

  1. So I guess all that concrete just led to a parking lot! ;)

  2. I read some of the Dune sequels, but I don’t even remember where I stopped. Dune is one of my favorite books, so it’s disappointing that the sequels are so bad.

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