“Rise of Endymion” Review

RISE OF ENDYMION (Hyperion Cantos #4), by Dan Simmons

4 out of 5 (Really Liked It)

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.

Rise of Endymion is book four in The Hyperion Cantos and the last book in the series. I highly recommend you read the Hyperion Cantos, it is perhaps my favourite thus far in the science-fiction genre. It is a fantastic world and vision of the future with a plot that provides you with a number of questions you want answers to. The use of time change makes the plot mysterious to an extent where you never really know the answers to those questions until you are told, and sometimes even then the revelations are later realized to be purposeful lies.

Book four continues the story from book three, a story which is tied to the first two books, but is still somewhat separate.

Why it was not a 5 out of 5:

Oh man, was it ever close. The beginning and ending were really great, but I couldn’t let the ending make me jump this from a 4 to a 5 star book.

1. Part 2. The book was split into three parts. I didn’t like part 2 very much. The author took a few chapters to describe an entire (and new) planet’s geography, and he listed a number of new characters, all with confusing and similar names. Almost all of these characters were, at best, side characters. Some didn’t have much of a role at all to receive an introduction like that. I just thought it was a very strange thing to do in the middle of the final book in a series.

2. This issue was reconciled over time, but I really don’t like it when the “good” characters have certain views when there are a number of possible ambiguous outcomes for the story or world’s future, and at some point the story moves along, morally, under a giant assumption that the protagonists are undoubtedly right. For a long period during part 2 as I learned what the main characters were really up to on their quest, I was kind of hoping everyone would lose in the end. Ever had that feeling where you just disagree with every side of the conflict? It sucks. It happened to me with Forever PeaceIn that book I was honestly hoping they all died in the end. That isn’t a fun reading experience, but as I said, this issue became less so near the end of Rise of Endymion, and thank goodness.

What was great:

1. I can’t believe he did it again with the narration! Just like from book one to book two, in book four the author just seems to throw the structure out the window from the previous novel, and here again we had an increase of about 4 or 5 character points of view and all kinds of narrative perspectives: the four combinations of first/third person and present/past tense. The randomness is actually refreshing.

2. Not far into part one, I felt that it was getting back to the greatness of the first two books. The style was similar, the pace was fast, and there was a lot of explanation. I was thinking that this was an easy 5 out of 5. Then part two came along…not so good. Part 3 saved it all. It was exciting and the final ending was really well done to end the entire series, even if I was not entirely satisfied with the final answers to a few of my curiosities.

My final personal rankings for the Hyperion Cantos are: 1. Fall of Hyperion (#2), 2. Hyperion (#1), 3. Rise of Endymion (#4), 4. Endymion (#3). Numbers one and two are almost tied.

© 2013 FOTS Fantasy

Next Book: 

Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen #5), by Steven Erikson

I am beyond excited to continue this series. It has been a few months since I last read a fantasy book. I like to take breaks, usually two books in a series at a time while skipping back and forth between genres. It’s finally time for fantasy again!

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