Two hundred and seventy-four years after the fall of the WorldWeb in Fall of Hyperion, Raoul Endymion is sent on a quest. Retrieving Aenea from the Sphinx before the Church troops reach her is only the beginning. With help from a blue-skinned android named A. Bettik, Raoul and Aenea travel the river Tethys, pursued by Father Captain Frederico DeSoya, an influential warrior-priest and his troops. The shrike continues to make enigmatic appearances, and while many questions were raised in Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, still more are raised here. Raoul's quest will continue in at least one more volume.
This series has something for everyone: Simmons's prose is imaginative and stylistically varied; point-of-view and time-scale are handled with finesse; the action is always gripping; the device of Old Earth allows Simmons to work in entertaining references to present-day culture; and the technology raises bizarre questions of ethics and morality in its use of repeated death and resurrection.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Underrated continuation of the Hyperion epic Comment: "Endymion" seems to get mixed reviews, but for me after the brooding, meandering "Fall of Hyperion" the new directions and focused action of "Endymion" made for a nice change of pace without sacrificing the greater themes introduced in the earlier novels. Where the Hyperion books examine mankind's growing dependence on machines, the Endymion books add to this mankind's dependence on religion.
Simmons jolts the reader by showing the unintended consequence of Meina Gladstone's actions: instead of freeing mankind by severing its dependence on machines, she has indirectly created the opportunity for a new form of enslavement through the delightfully creepy cruciform that had played a minor but significant role in the Hyperion tales. The new characters breathe new life into the tale by introducing a new host of moral dilemmas (often seen through the eyes and experiences of Father Captain de Soya) and the old debate between free will and fate (enter Raul and the child-messiah Aenea). A number of familiar faces return--most notably the Shrike, which has undergone a Terminator-like conversion from foe to friend.
Although the story is criticized as not being as "complex" as the Hyperion novels, I disagree. While none of the books comes close to rivaling "Hyperion"'s nod to Canterbury Tales or its incredible depth and richness of character, plot, and themes, I find Raul's introspective and retrospective telling from solitary confinement under a cruel death sentence quite interesting and prevents the labeling of this tale as a simple adventure story. For me, I found this narrative technique more enjoyable than "The Fall of Hyperion"'s reliance on the somewhat ethereal Severn cybrid. Yet, while Raul is the narrator of events, it is the god-child Aenea who is the primary focus of the story. While the "child-messiah" theme has been done--and done quite well--in science fiction (Dune and Ender's Game come quickly to mind), I believe Aenea holds her own. She does not fully come into her own until The Rise of Endymion, but even here we start to get a sense for what she is capable of--and the moral dilemmas she will force all people she encounters to confront and conquer.
By jump-starting the Hyperion Cantos with a host of new philosophical dilemmas and characters, I put Endymion on par with (and perhaps even slightly surpassing) The Fall of Hyperion. Each of the novels in this series offers something different, yet there is a sense of coherence from beginning to end. As another worthy--but under-appreciated--addition to the series, I consider Endymion an underrated work in the Cantos. Customer Rating: Summary: A wonderful read and worthy follow-up Comment: I fell in love with Simmons when Hyperion, and this book does not disappoint. It's an interesting, exciting story that kept the pages turning. One bit of advice, however, is not to expect a mere continuation of the story from the first two books. They serve more as a background that is necessary to understand this book, and while they obviously influence everything about the book, this is a totally new story that, I'll admit, went a completely different direction than I imagined. But that is not a bad thing at all...
Just like Hyperion, the story doesn't wrap up in this one book, so be sure to have The Rise of Endymion ready to go when this one is finished. Otherwise, you'll be left with a lot of loose ends. Customer Rating: Summary: Entertaining Comment: I like Dan Simmons' writing style. He has a great imagination and makes you feel like you are there seeing things for yourself. This may seem like a book that is simply the good guys running away from the bad guys -it is - but in the process you get to really like the characters in the book. There are many unanswered questions that hopefully will be explained in the next Endymion book.
If you like science fiction where you get to read about different worlds and different variations of humans, this book is for you. Customer Rating: Summary: Wonderful Comment: This is the finest SF book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It rates up there with my top 5 books of all time. The characters are well thought out, the settings are amazing. Dan Simmons makes this far-future galaxy not only seem believable, but real. His ability to tie so much information together in such a seamless fashion is unparalleled.
De Soya is a personal hero of mine. I won't go into it here, I wouldn't want to ruin it for anybody.
As for people comparing the second 2 books in the series with the first, I'd have to say the second two are slightly better...but read them all. Customer Rating: Summary: Clumsy Comment: Almost ever scifi novel has the Big Secret waiting to be revealed in the final act. In this one, it's very clumsily done. One of the characters we've been following all along just blurts it out near the end. Sort of, "Oh, by the way..." Earlier in the book she's very vague about everything, but toward the end she becomes lucid, seemingly for no other reason than the book is almost over and we need a Big Climax. It's just very artificial, not at all organic.
I liked Hyperion/Fall of, and compared to those this one is just sort of a series of nutty little adventures with a nonsensical ending slapped on as an afterthought. The Shrike, which used to be a fascinating aspect of Simmons' books, is now just ridiculous, a deus ex machina the author uses to rather lazily extricate his protagonists from sticky situations. Another ridiculous d.e.m. is the Lions, Tigers, and Bears concept. Simmons keeps inventing ascending new layers of artificial intelligence for convenience's sake. I don't doubt that when I finish the series (I'll admit it, I'm hooked, I'll finish) it will be neatly wrapped up by representatives of a layer of AI a few notched up from the 'Lions, Tigers, and Bears.'
And I continually rolled my eyes at the android character, yet another prototypical Spock-type 'I'm not human... or AM I????'
I should also warn you that it's another cliffhanger, like Hyperion. Once again, Simmons feels the need o stretch his novel out over 1400 pages instead of 700.
The three stars are for the 'page-turning' aspect of this book. It kept me reading to find out what happens next, like a good potboiler should. I don't mean to be completely negative, its just that the bar was set so high by the first two editions in this series, I can't help but be let down.