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review 2015-01-09 19:51
Book Review: The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons
The Rise of Endymion - Dan Simmons

The Basics

In this continuation of the previous story, we see Aenea’s adult life and how she became known as a messiah.

My Thoughts

I don’t really want to say more than that about the plot. If you’ve read the previous book, then you know that’s what was established from the outset, that Aenea’s story eventually leads to her being considered a savior of the known universe. Typical of Simmons, he means that in the religious sense, and Aenea does become a Christ figure. I didn’t really have a problem with this other than Simmons is typically very clever, and this was utterly transparent. There was nothing subtle about it. That doesn’t mean it was bad, just surprisingly straightforward for someone who loves his obscure references.

Compared to the other books in the series, which were all epic and covered so much ground, this one was slower. In particular when Aenea was giving her “sermons”. If you’re not fond of pages and pages of exposition, you won’t be fond of that. They weren’t just info dumps either, but these drawn out, philosophical debates concerning the inner-workings of the world Simmons has built, and I was checking my watch trying to get through that. It rankled a little, as well, that my favorite character for the past two books, De Soya, was having adventures that got glossed over while we listened to Aenea create a new religion. If I could’ve chosen, I would’ve been reading about De Soya.

That was the only low spot though. In fact, that is the only low point of the entire Hyperion Cantos, and I’m not exaggerating. This was a strong finish to an immense series. When I use that word, I don’t mean long. I know series exist that take twenty books to tell their story. I mean that it’s rare when you read about a world built as intricately and fascinatingly as this one was. If you like world building, you’ve come to the right place, especially if you have a taste for hard SF. But he didn’t stop there. He populated that world with characters that you couldn’t help being interested in and told their stories thoroughly.

This book carried some bitter-sweetness to it, and not just because I knew that if Aenea was going to play out her Christ role, it wasn’t going to be pretty. But because it’s officially become one of my favorite series I’ve ever read, and it was sad to end my journey with it. All I can do now is encourage everyone out there to pick these books up, because they are well worth your time.

Final Rating

4/5

 

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review 2014-01-29 18:47
Hyperion Cantos - found another one
The Hyperion Cantos - Dan Simmons

Hyperion: On the eve of interstellar war between the Hegemony of Man and the barbarian Ousters over the fate of Hyperion, seven pilgrims embark on a journey to the Time Tombs and their mysterious protector, The Shrike, a three meter tall, four-armed monster covered with blades. One pilgrim will have his wish granted and the others will be impaled on the Shrike's Tree of Pain. Only one or more of the pilgrims isn't what he appears to be...

Every once in a while, a book comes along that eclipses many that came before it. Hyperion is one of those books. Told with a structure similar to the Canterbury tales, Hyperion is the story of seven pilgrims on a journey that will end in death for most of them. Interested yet?

Each pilgrim tells his or her story and Simmons doesn't skimp. We get a horror story, a detective story, action, tragedy, comedy, the whole nine yards. Instead of info-dumping the back story of the complex world he's created, Simmons rations the information and doles it out one bite-sized morsel at a time, mostly in the stories told by the pilgrims. The Shrike is going to stick with me for a long time after I'm finished.

The writing is superb. Simmons continues to wow me with his versatility and the concepts he introduces are amazing. Farcasters, tree ships, time debt, reverse aging, artificial intelligence, it's amazing the sheer amount of thought that obviously went into Hyperion's conception. Surprisingly, Hyperion is a fairly easy read. I have no idea why I've waited this long to accompany Kassad, Masteen, Lamia, and the others on their journey to meet the Shrike.

Fall of Hyperion: The situation in the world web rises to a fever pitch as all out war between the Ousters and the Hegemony of Man erupts. Or does it? And what do the pilgrims on Hyperion and an artist named Severn have to do with it? Is the Hegemony of Man doomed? And what does the Core have to do with everything?

That's about all I can reveal of the plot without blowing all the twists. Suffice to say, Dan Simmons is the man. The story of the seven pilgrims continues and the plot threads hinted upon in Hyperion are tugged and stretched to the breaking point. Things that seemed of minimal importance proved to be integral to the overall plot. Questions are answered, more questions are raised, the shit hits the fan, and dogs and cats begin living together. I never would have guessed whose blood it was in the wind wagon in the first book.

I can't imagine not reading the Fall of Hyperion after reading the first book and it must have been agony for those waiting for it when it was first published. I'd better wrap this up before I start giving away plot details about Brawne, Hoyt, Kassad, and the others. Suffice to say, The Hyperion Cantos are now on my measuring stick list of books, along with the Dark Tower, The First Chronicles of Amber, and the Matthew Scudder series. Highest possible recommendation. 

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photo 2013-12-11 14:36
Day 15 - Favorite male character

 

Top four! Because I insist upon it. And each book represented contains my strongest favorite moments for each character. I don’t know if there’s a pattern here, other than Eddie and Tyrion both have a tendency to be funny. But I do think this shows (or it showed me at least) that I like my male characters with a lot going on in the characterization department.

 

  • Eddie Dean (The Dark Tower Series: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King)
  • Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin)
  • Simmu (The Tales of the Flat Earth: Death’s Master by Tanith Lee)
  • Father Paul Dure (The Hyperion Cantos: The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons)
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review 2012-09-26 00:00
The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #... The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #4) - Dan Simmons, Victor Bevine Like Endymion, this is a solid 3.5 stars. The conclusion to the four-book Hyperion Cantos is quite epic, and I am still trying to figure out why it just didn't wow me. I liked it okay, but I know a lot of people who love this series and periodically reread it, and I have no desire to.

As with the first duology, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the second book is actually better than the first; Endymion set up the final confrontation between the Pax, the Ousters, and the TechnoCore, and the final book resolves it. We see worlds and civilizations fall, we see conspiracies hidden for centuries revealed. We learn the truth behind all the mysteries introduced since the first book: the origin of the Shrike, the goals of the TechnoCore, the meaning of the Cruciform.

Raul Endymion and Aenea are the main characters, and as I predicted in Endymion, they become lovers. She plays the role of Christ-figure in this book, fated to suffer for all mankind, and the parallel is very deliberate and direct. She is a messiah for a new SF age. I have mixed feelings about the whole "Love is a physical force that can save the universe" theme, but I will say that Dan Simmons was consistent in his worldbuilding and his plotting. Indeed, perhaps that it what impresses people the most with this series: its epic scale spanning the rise and fall of several interstellar civilizations that nonetheless remains focused on individuals and reveals careful, meticulous planning, with groundwork laid all the way back in Hyperion. It's a masterful literary feat, and proves Simmons is a top-notch genre writer. He brings literary depth to this series, from Hyperion's riff on the Canterbury Tales to The Rise of Endymion's Biblical tribulations.

But somehow, it just didn't quite stop reminding me that it was just another space opera. Perhaps because I thought Raul Endymion was kind of a schmuck, with all his whining about how Aenea had another lover before him while he was lost in time. (Simmons handles time travel really well in this book: the twists are forehead-slappingly obvious yet they take you by surprise.) And I am not all that fond of allegorical messiahs, even if Simmons does subvert it a little by making this Christ a girl. (He's not exactly the first author to have that idea, though.) This is one of the best-written space operas ever, but there are others that I enjoyed more.

Still, it's an experience, vast in scale and with a grand finale. I would recommend that anyone read Hyperion, and if you like it, it is worth reading the rest of the series.
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