Sequel to Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion – there's no reason to read this book if you haven't read those two books. Actually the question is if there's any reason to read this book at all! Fall of Hyperion ends the story of the Cantos and the Web quite nicely, with nearly no loose ends. So that's no reason to read Endymion. But I hear you say "What about the fantastic prose and fantastic and gripping story" – don't read Endymion for that either, you will probably be pretty disappointed. Not that it's boring or badly written, it's just far from as fantastic as the first two books.
Taking place long after The Fall of the Web, there's (nearly) non of the old character from the Hyperion books. The main character and story teller is a young Hyperion "native" called Endymion, who get the job of protecting the daughter of Brawne Lamia – Aenea. Aenea entered the Time Tombs rights right after the Fall and there for is still a child. Endymion, Aenea and their android friend A. Bettik goes on a ride trough some of the old web world, trying to escape from the Pax (Christian, immortals trough use of the Crusiform).
A nice adventure, we get to see some interesting worlds, some interesting things happen and….. well, that's just about it – it does pick up at the end (around page 450 of 563), and the ending makes you want more. Is it worth it? I would say yes. The first part of the book, may be a bit uninteresting compared to the Hyperion books, but as an ordinary adventure it's better than most and the ending is quite promising. You may want to wait until you can get your hands on the the sequel The Rise Of Endymion, before you buy this book.
As the forth and conclusive book in the Hyperion/Endymion saga, Rise of Endymion has a lot to live up to. The first two books (Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion) are masterpieces of their own, the third book Endymion is a bit more average, but it picks of at the end and the last couple of hundred pages promises a lot.
Rise of Endymion starts off kind of slow. We are on a mountain world, where Aenea is helping design and build a temple. This first part of the book, could have used some editing, in my opinion, the landscape descriptions where close to making me sick with boredom, but then again I've always hated landscape descriptions. They just aren't my cup of tea – what are they good for? Background? Maybe, but I do not care about the names of the countless mountains in a teen kilometre radius of where there the story is taking place. Anyway, the story soon picks up and the rest of the 750 pages is one long answer to all the questions that where asked in the first three books. This makes the book kind of hard to summarise, without spoiling anything, so I won't even try.
Most of the answers are surprising and most of the ideas behind them are breathtaking. It's like Simmons has created his own religion or philosophy and Rise of Endymion is the fact sheet for it. After having read the last page of Rise of Endymion I felt like I had firstly had great sex, then eaten the greatest meal of my life washed down with an equally great wine. In other words, I felt fulfilled, stimulated and slightly intoxicated.
If you had asked me what I thought was the greatest saga ever written a couple of months ago, I would have answered "The Lord of the Rings" (by Tolkien) without a second thought – these days I'm not that sure.
Written on 1st February 2000 by TC.
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