The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons
See reviews of books one, two, and three. This review contains SPOILERS.
The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.
But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike–monster, angel, killing machine–who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered–an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.
The generally accepted thought is that each book in this series gets progressively less good than the one before. After having read all four, I’m not sure that’s true. I would say more that the first two books in the series are completely different than the last two. Especially if you think about book one in comparison to book four, you would really never have guessed what the ending to this whole series would be.
One of the things I loved about this book was the same as what I loved in all the others: the world-building. Yet again, we travel to even more fantastical planets, whose origins have just a hint of present-day Earth cultures in them.
I also liked that, in this novel, we get to basically see all of the original Hyperion pilgrims again.
Raul Endymion is hapless and bumbling. He even admits this in one rant inside the Schrodinger Cat Box. He’s always following, never seems to understand what’s going on, and is the last person to realize anything. This makes him somewhat of an annoying character. But it also makes him human. He displays insecurities far more than any other character. Which makes him a great contrast for the android, A. Bettik and Aenea herself, the child messiah that rarely seems like a whole person.
The philosophical explanations and endeavors weigh a little heavy. Most of the ideas postulated are so abstract, that it’s hard to get a hold of them. At the end of the novel, we see these explanations put into practice, but before that, it’s as if we’re grasping at cloud vapors.
I’ve thought about the title of the book a lot over the past few weeks, but I still don’t see it. The Rise of Endymion? The Rise of (Raul) Endymion? Raul doesn’t do a lot of rising or becoming a hero. He seems adept at surviving, I’ll give him that. But perhaps, the title is an allusion to the history that is never written, Raul’s story after the end of the series.
Is it worth reading the entire Hyperion series? I would say so. Unless you’re okay with never knowing the answer to certain mysteries like The Shrike, the labyrinthine worlds, and the Technocore.
Have you read the series? What did you think? Why do you think this particular book is called The Rise of Endymion.