Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whipping Star by Frank Herbert: A Book Review...

Phew...OK now that's done. So I have completed going through the three Frank Herbert books given to my by my father three months ago. You can go back through my posts to find my reviews of both Under Pressure and Hellstrom's Hive and discover my dislike for each.

Not the case with this one.

Still suffering Herbert's penchant for leaving too much to the imagination and lack of explanation to numerous key plot devices and integral objects/theories, Whipping Star benefits from focusing on a central character (in this case Jorj McKie) and developing the reader's care and understanding of him. Herbert also doesn't spend much time "inside the head" of characters other than McKie, leaving one feeling connected to and actually being interested in, him—something sorely lacking from those two previous novels.

Whipping Star also creates a world (universe really) that is odd enough to really wow the reader with his obvious imaginative abilities and yet familiar enough that one doesn't feel he's being weird just for the sake of being weird. Herbert still doesn't spend enough time detailing the physical attributes and characteristics of the distinct species but there is enough that you don't feel like you are missing too much.

While the plot leaves holes in it large enough to drive a Death Star through (are all star's Calebans?? Are all Calebans stars?) it follows a fairly predictible crime solving path in which McKie has to figure out a way to solve a problem and in turn save every living being in the universe (!!) to a predictable finish.

Though there is nothing huge here to knock one's socks off, it is a respectable, interesting read from a supposed master of scifi...just wish I could say the same regarding the other two books of his I spent time on...

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