It is unfortunate the apparent wrap-up to the Cantos series is also the weakest. If you have read the others it is worth it to see how things resolve, but there will be some pain for the reader as well.
The overall story is strong and interesting but Simmons puts together some long stretches that are really hard to stay with. Without giving away any plot-lines, in one stretch Simmons brings way too many characters into play. Many of them serve no apparent function in the story except to let us know how many unique names Simmons can come up with and to slow the pace of the story down to a crawl. Inexplicably Simmons also throws in a fairly graphic extended sex scene. I am not morally opposed to such scenes, but it was stylistically so out of place that it disrupted the flow of the overall story. As he did in other erotic passages, Simmons could have made his point much more quickly and kept things moving. Many smaller slow-downs exist where he gets overly detailed about things like rituals of the Catholic church.
There are enough exciting and well-paced scenes to get you through the book and most major plot-lines and questions are resolved. Simmons does leave room for another sequel.
Victor Bevine's narration is the best of the entire series. I never had to stop and think about why he portrayed something a certain way or noticed a character's intonation changing. That is true artistry when the narrator becomes invisible.
Amazing. Solid. Satisfying.
The Shrike, of course. It's a terrifying, mysterious character that keeps you guessing as to it's purpose until very near the end. It's not even clear if the creature represents the interests of the protagonists or antagonists, or a 3rd, impartial party.
Victor Bevine is one of the best narrator's I've ever heard. It's not the voices, it's the delivery of the lines. It's like he understands the story as well as the author. I've heard narrators do great voices but even a spot-on accent can't compare to a properly delivered dialog. He is second only to the late Frank Muller.
There are so many moving parts; so many revelations, tragedies and triumphs. It feels like it would be impossible to pick one moment. If I could pick a type of moment, it would have to be the reunions of characters that happen throughout the 4 books. A close second would be the appearances of the Shrike.
This review is meant to cover all 4 books in the series (Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion.) While not completely necessary to understand the second two, reading the Hyperion omnibus roots you in the characters' struggles and makes all the events in the Endymion omnibus that much more meaningful. The main character in the series is the universe that Simmons created itself. Although you feel a deep connection to the characters, I find myself more attached to the story, events and settings as a whole, more than any one character. That may be because you end up caring about all the characters, even the ones that only appear in a few short sections. From reading the first two books, one definitely comes away with the feeling of an incomplete story and the narrator even hints that the fates of the characters in the first two books won't be revealed by his stating, "if you are reading this to find out the fates of the characters, you are reading this for the wrong reason." I won't give anything away but suffice it to say, there is no lack of satisfaction in any part of this amazing series. I have never read, watched or listened to a more complete, compelling, thought provoking, thrilling, intricately woven and solid tale in my life.
I wanted to like this book. Actually, I wanted to LOVE this book. Hyperion was excellent. Fall was even better. Endymion wasn't bad at all. I was really looking forward to this book to learn even more about the characters, the history, and to have the loose ends tied up and and questions answered.
I guess it does that. Not very well, but it does. You just have to make it through hour after hour of... well, it's boring. Hard to believe this was written by the same author. There is WAY too much detail. I really don't care that much about the clouds to need a twenty minute description. And I got the idea of how the characters moved around on the mountain world after the first description. The next three or four were just boring. And I got REAL tired of hearing 'Not now Raul, later.' every time I thought I was about to have a question answered. Made me really dislike one of the main characters.
I mean, you kind of have to listen to it if you've listened to the others. It's the ending of the series. I'm just glad I didn't try to read this monster, because I would never have made it through.
I hate giving this audio book a bad review. I love the Hyperion setting and (most of) the characters. But, aside from the readers performance, there is very little good about this book.
I loved the first books of this series, but this one found me hoping for it to end quickly at times.
I won't say that it's bad, it's not, but my gawd man, enough with the preaching and the spiritualism.
It seems at times that he wasn't sure how to tie up all the loose ends in his story and is pulling at straws.
I am glad to have listened to it to end the series but if this was my first book from him I would NOT buy another one.
I offer a four star rating mostly on the strength of the previous installments in the series. Simmons concludes the series fairly well but this book contains some flaws that the ealier stories didn't.
First it needs a great deal of editing. Its nearly 30 hours in length, it need not be more than 20.
Second there are long and often tedious breaks in the action of the story that forced me to fast-forward through fairly long stretches.
Third, it was fairly predictable in many ways.
Fourth and most importantly, the main character was a disapointment. He came across as whining and dull without showing much in the way of progression.
Fifth, and many may disagree, but I found the story overly romantic and religious. Some may find this appealing but I felt like it departed from the epic nature of the previous books.
But, if you've read the ealier books you should read this one as well. It ties up most of the loose ends, and it left me satisfied, though a bit disappointed.
I really liked the first two books (The Hyperions). These two were written at a later date ....and it seems like the authors head is in a completely different space. That's not a bad thing, just don't expect the Endymions to be like the Hyperions. In the foremost, the author is more concerned with the individual(s), nobility and beauty ...against a backdrop of (the big picture) life/history/ugliness, etc. The latter series is more lovingly focused on different political groups and the uglier/seamier side of life with a vague backdrop of nobility (?). You could call them two different ends of a spectrum. Just too different for me: I'm just a tad bored with the whole political intrigue a la seamy side (from a million viewpoints). We get it: people suck (quite often). I actually had to loose the second book after 8 hours. Don't get me wrong, it's still well written ....just coming from a completely different perspective. Seperating the two series is not a bad idea. Anyway. Well written. Interesting concepts. Original thoughts. BUT. I don't know. I REALLY enoyed the first two/Hyperions. Anyway. My opinion. Form your own :)
Starting with the first novel in this series being fairly good, we arrive at this one. It is about half the quality of Hyperion, the first in the series. As another reviewer said, the author goes on rambling about descriptions and names to places and characters that are utterly pointless and lets the main story suffer.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series, even with the over explanations of anything including dirt. Overly philosophical yes, but to an end. The Endymion books however gave me the feeling that I was listening to Dan Simmons work out his own reason for being and how faith plays into it. The characters are void of any substance and the overall story is just an unsatisfying array of fruitless descriptions. Although, I will give credit to the author for making me feel uncomfortable with the inept forever complaining babysitter turned love interest scenario.
Unlike the Hyperion books I could not bring myself to care about any of the characters in the Endymion offering. At the end, I was glad it was over and I would never have to hear from them again.
You could cut about 30 hours of audio from the Endymion books and with proper editing maybe come up with a decent adventure story.
Two real comments. First, how many times do you need to describe the scenery? I mean really 20 minutes on the color and feeling of a sunset, yawn. Second, I grok that Valentine Michael Smith made a much more enjoyable and believable messiah than Aenea. However it is the final book so even though it's the weakest of the set you have to listen.
It seems that the entirety of this story could have been summed up in 4-6 paragraphs. There are HUGE sections that appear to be stream of thought that take 20-30 min to complete and equal "I went though a thunderstorm". If Mr. Simmons is writing with Rawl being the reader in the story, I was honestly insulted. The way Rawl Endymion is portrayed he would have died as a child getting lost in his own tent and starving to death.
The conclusion is anti-climatic and simplified. Some of the introduced story arcs such as the Core's hardware are not finished and just left hanging.
Audio problem in that book is broken into 4 parts in the download option I used. Each of those parts was several chapters long but the audio is 3 chapters, a welcome to audible, the book, and a thanks for listening. This was really annoying when you wanted to skip 20 min of Rawl (duh me Rawl) talking about what a tough Shepard he was then about the searing mind burning pain of stubbing his toe or something as useless to story progression as that. Please make each book chapter into an audio chapter.