At first, I was excited that this second book in the Dune series did not use the omniscient POV. Turned out I was wrong. By the fifth or so chapter there was the usual head hopping of omniscient POV I find totally annoying. There was a bit more order and sense to the switching of the POV, though, where we see events alternatively from the view of different characters. So I got over it, if not used to it. But I think the omniscient POV was at least partially responsible for keeping the characters at a distance, keeping me from really connecting, knowing them.The story is nearly as epic as the first, yet more focused at the same time. The dangers quickly increased for Paul, as conspiracies were suspected, hinted, then revealed and put into play. Paul seemed aware, yet not aware. It was hard to be sure what he knew, which increased the tension, but eventually just led to confusion. It seemed nearly all the characters had hidden motives, multiple goals and purposes for their actions. I tried to figure out what each character wanted at different stages in the story and only sometimes succeeded. Chani was pretty up front about things. Figuring out Irulan was another thing altogether. Knowing what she did (trying not to give spoilers here), I felt for Chani. It drove me crazy that she didn’t know. I wished Paul would step up his perception and figure it out.I saw the end for certain characters coming, and had to consider who of the many characters would die by the end. I hoped for a reprieve that never came.While the sources of menace and threat became clearer as the story progressed, some conversations left me unsure and even confused. Much of what was said was full of double meanings, but I wasn’t always clear on what the deeper meanings were. For example, the conversation when Stilgar realized what Paul had come to understand about their fates. The author never made clear what it was Stilgar or Paul had realized. Unless I missed something, Herbert left the reader to figure that out, only he didn’t give us enough information.Midway through, I was definitely getting confused. Paul kept talking about things as if the reader understood. But we didn’t. His words were cryptic, with things only half explained. His ‘growing understanding’ left me in the dark. I could see where his understanding had changed, but understanding of what? I was left with the sense I had missed information, that there was something I should have grasped that slipped by me. I couldn’t even tell if Paul was purposely playing into the conspiracy’s hand with his conversation with Endric or if Endric got the better of him. Perhaps we weren’t supposed to know till the end, but it left me with a fuzzy feeling. Even realizing all he’d understood, I had the feeling I’d missed half of what had happened.I was also puzzled that Irulan was in such opposition to Paul, when in Dune, the first book, the chapter opening quotes were all "taken" from the "history" and writings of Muad’dib—written down by Princess Irulan. Some were quotes directly from her. But they sounded in support of him. From this I take that Irulan’s ‘conversion’ at the end was sincere, though I saw no evidence of that. And Paul’s vision of the falling moon—why was this vision any different than his other visions? It wasn’t clear and neither were some of his conclusions. Although, his final conclusion regarding Chani was clear as day. I was hoping he would be wrong for once. The ghola character was intriguing and at times a mystery. I couldn’t understand why Paul kept him, except perhaps nostalgia for a life long past. By then end, I did see why he did. Not sentimentality—that wouldn’t have been like Paul (he seemed to no longer have capacity for it). Yet the final transformation seemed somewhat expected on Paul’s part. How I couldn’t say.A line that brought me closer to understanding Paul, though I never reached full understanding, was this one from page 193:"He felt chained to a future which, exposed too often, had locked onto him like a greedy succubus." It explains some of his lack of resistance to that future he so wanted to avoid. He knew the events he saw would come to pass. Only with much orchestration could he hope to steer time in a more desirable direction. When I reached the end of the story, much of what happened was still cloudy for me. The problem was he kept his motivations from the reader as well as those around him much of the time. As a result, the story was way more confusing than it needed to be, and the ending much less satisfying.