©1996 Dan Simmons; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast.
At the beginning of this book, Endymion says that this story is not meant to answer – what happened to the book three characters? Don't be dismayed! You will certainly learn pretty much everything you want to know about the universe and your favorite characters.
There isn't as much action in four as in three. The first half suffered from some slow bits where Simmons gives you probably more information than you need about planets and politics from the Pax folks. I was more tolerant of the slow parts that involved Aenea’s teachings as much of it revealed a lot of interesting info on The Core. In general I feel that Simmons’ pacing didn’t flow well in the first half. It was perfect in the remainder of the book. I think perhaps the stem of the problem is Simmons’ desire to wrap everything up and satisfy your curiosity about the Hyperion universe.
Thankfully once things start to happen it’s an engrossing read including all those crazy clones, our favorite Shrike monster, and many characters we’ve enjoyed in the previous books. I appreciated the interactions of Catholicism, Buddhism, Pax Church, and The Core. All sorts of interesting concepts are explored. You even find out how The Core was created and what those cruciforms really are. And of course some beautiful poetry is included.
The most interesting aspect of this book is Aenea and The Strike’s ability to move through time. It brings about all sorts of interesting prospects for plot timeline. But more importantly, exploring what it would be like for Aenea and Raul to live a life connected to this variable. It actually makes things pretty convenient for the author.
It is unusual to be able to give a high rating to the book that ends a beloved series. I felt very good about Simmons’ wrap-up of the series. Aenea’s story is satisfactorily resolved and you know the general trajectory of others. Thankfully authors of this genre don’t feel the need for unbelievable happy endings. I highly recommend this series.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
If you really care what I think of this book read my review of Fall of Hyperion. This is more of the same except maybe better.
This is largely a predictable milieu story that goes into enormous detail describing people, places, and tangential events that are better left to the imagination while failing to follow through for the most important events. While Simmons does this in the other novels of the cantos, this one is the worst.
There is so much rambling in this novel that I was often tempted to skip ahead. For example, after arriving on an unknown world, we spend thirty minutes hearing about the sky, rolling storms, and Raul’s tiresome, Aenea-obsessed, internal dialogue. Also, after Aenea and Raul are reunited after years of time debt, they have a lot of sex, and Simmons indulges us with every raunchy detail. Thankfully, he never goes into detail about their bowel habits, but this novel could easily be cut by half without doing any harm.
At least we finally learn the backstory behind the TechnoCore, the cruciform, and other mysteries. Unfortunately, much of it supplants, or is forced to fit with, the story told in the Hyperion novels. I don’t think Simmons had all of this planned out from the beginning and it shows. There is a lot of fun and interesting religious and philosophical interplay here, but it hardly makes up for the novel’s many other faults.
The ending is just wretched. Just as we reach the confrontation between the Church and Aenea, Simmons jumps ahead a year and only briefly touches on it. There is no final conflict, no epic battle, no sense of achievement, and no satisfaction. As if that weren’t annoying enough, we aren’t even there to witness Raul’s miraculous escape from the long-feared Schrödinger box prison. Instead, it becomes all love story, all the time, and even this wraps to a few weak final scenes which we have seen coming since the two were reunited on T’ien Shan.
If you read the other novels of the Cantos, this one is necessary but it is without a doubt the most boring and the least fulfilling of all the novels.
I have only listened to the audiobooks.
Rhadamanth Nemes. Such a hateful character. I don't want to spoil it but I enjoyed the climax for her character.
Nuance and a variety to characters. He treats sensitive scenes with respect and softens his tones to convey the intimacy of those fleeting moments for the characters. He has enough humor seep through during moments of dry/dark humor for the protagonists. He makes the antagonists sound malicious and malevolent without being melodramatic (unless they're appropriately melodramatic characters to begin with).
Spaceships & River Rafts Part II
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
This is a hard book to review, considering I have more than 4 straight days of listening time invested in the series (Something like 97 hours total?)... But I came away from 'The Rise Of Endymion' with a strong sense of '4 hours of action inside of 30 hours of book'... it's very... wordy.
Not saying it's not worth listening to, it's very well worth the time, but some long parts of it are dragged way out (hours)... I feel like I attended Earth Day at a 'Running Man' festival, held on the home-site of a commune, with the 28+ year old hero being dragged around emotionally (and physically) by a 12 year old girl, for no real reason, while having The Wizard Of Oz banged into my head as we tool around in a flying Kayak after leaving the Hippies, while the author tries to convince me that he's really a master poet disguising his work in far flung Sci-Fi...
If that sounds confusing, you're getting my point. I see the deep symbolism the author is trying to convey, but not quite pulling off believably, due, among other things, to the strange lurches in technology. Once you've demonstrated the miraculous medical abilities of a culture, it's hard to listen to an hour of detailed descriptions of the hero being laid low by Kidney Stones. That sort of thing, combined with obvious points were the author seems to have abruptly trimmed long 'side-adventures' from the original text, really dampened my enjoyment and the flow of the book (Trimming the side-adventures was wise, but it was kind of abrupt just mentioning that you 'wanted to tell about them, but decided not to'). I also kinda dislike books that waste a lot of time by having the same events told from the point of view of each different character, one after another, in excruciating detail.
I guess I gave the 'series' a '4' overall, when I probably would have given this book in the series a 3 as a standalone book. When this happens in other series' I always feel like someone said, "Heh, just toss whatever into it, they've invested this much time in the series, so they'll buy this book in the series too'. I feel like this book contained an excellent Sci-Fi idea, but got 'fleshed out' way too much with the mundane. I'm not trying to be flippant when I say that the abridged version of this book is probably a real nail-biter.
I love all things sci fi, fantasy, history, and philosophical. I have read many books on all these subjects, but audible opens everything up in a whole new light for me. Love it!!!!
How it took the story of the cantos and made you feel, you were thinking too small. There is so much more going on beneath the surface. It truly expands the mind to think outside the box and contemplate the workings of the universe.
Raul's realization of A Betic as the observer!
Definitely Raul. He tries so hard to be the protector and feels so helpless and unimportant. When it all comes down to it, it was really all about him and Ania's preparation for him to lead in a lost new universe.
When Raul finally realizes that he is truly the only man in Ania's life. And he will soon have a child to look over and guide through the changing universe.
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.
I loved every bit of this book...ok ok, not every bit, it is a long series and there is a lot of detail but it is so well written I didn't mind the drawn out chapters. This is my fifth Dan Simmons book, this man has a serious talent for creating fantastical plots with interesting characters who you either love or want to spit on. 5 stars across the board!!
I loved all three. This one ties everything up nicely. A worthy listen and it's understandable why they are award winners.
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