©1996 Dan Simmons; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Dan Simmons accomplished a rare feat - both in Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. The plot is intricate and unexpected. But the main hero - I believe intentionally - is an irritating dolt. Keep in mind that he does not develop or increase his mental abilities throughout both books. Rohl is just driven by events and actors from one adventure to another, generally reacting, but hardly ever initiating or playing deciding role, with exception when a brute force is called for; he is the last to understand what happens, and he is often irritated by things he does not understand, just as it is typical for dumb people. Again, I believe this character was intentional, if unorthodox. Don't take me wrong here, I don't see only negatives; Rohl is also a kind and ethical person.
Hopefully my warning will let you enjoy the plot - which is very creative, and prepare you to give main hero more slack than conventional.
Narration sometimes drones in exalted tone for minutes, mostly when depicting Rohl observations, which is fitting the hero's character, but is hard to enjoy after a while.
Rarely is such an over-intellectualized book, with all the fashionable gender ideology, so well written, but this one is. True, the old archetype of messiah rarely fails, but here it is developed absolutely beautifully. This book made my short list right by with Dune, Foundation, Stranger in a Strange Land and few other masterpieces of sf.
Dune, because of the archetype of messiah.
…because 'Rise of Endymion' pretty much covers everything that's happened in the previous book. Wordiness and plot redundancy (or, more charitably, thorough exposition of all plot lines) is one of Dan Simmons' few flaws as a writer. I've read most of his books and as much as I love the stories, I do get tired of his dogged insistence on including every detail about everything he's learned while doing his research. He's amazingly well read, but his tangents can really distract one from his excellent plotlines.
Rise of Endymion is no exception - it's got a fair share of wordy philosophical ramblings - but it's also a very entertaining and imaginative story. I really enjoyed listening to it.
If you've made it through the first two in the series and you're dying to find out what happens next, but you can't quite stomach the thought of slogging through more of Simmons' detailed existential ruminations, skip Endymion. Hardcore Simmons fans might be horrified at my recommendation, but I really don't think you'll miss much; the ties to "Fall of Hyperion" are well covered in the characters' narration and you'll pick up the major events of "Endymion" as you go along.
This novel concludes with some interesting implicit themes made explicit. It had a touching (but I sometimes think cheap) ending, but was overall good.
It would be one of the best
The ongoing story of the main characters and their challenge against the "android" species
This series is an excellent series. Apart from the last book that has a little too much detail early in the book, the rest of the writings are punchy, innovative and contain a lot of drama
If you are considering this book, then you are already familiar with the author's basic themes of the series. In this volume, Dan Simmons turns up the volume on the antipathy for Christianity. In Simmons' universe of diverse beings and societies, the most evil are "Born-Again Christians." Jesus was a merely a clever philosopher, and the Pope in the book is a mass murderer. No subtlety here. This need not deter would-be readers, who have enjoyed the first 3 books....but Christian readers are advised to develop a thick skin. Simmons' attitude is common in progressive precincts, but in this final work this bias is allowed to dominate most other artistic aspects.
I plowed my way through the prior three books of this series. There was just enough creativity to keep me buying the next book. The author might have been well advised to stop at three. In this fourth attempt, the pace slows and the reader should be prepared for hours of pointless descriptive passages.
The reader (Victor Bevine) does an excellent job...good pace, consistent voicing and accents.
Fiction can usefully convey commentary on social and philosophical issues. But when authors use the medium as a vehicle for personal axe-grinding, the quality of the product necessarily suffers.
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.
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