Endymion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After having re-read the superlative original Hyperion Cantos recently, I was saddled with the thought that nothing afterward could possibly match the quality and lyricism or the sheer gorgeousness of story, worldbuilding, or character.
Alas, this still remains true after reading book three, taking place over 250 years after the events that irrevocably transformed the known universe at the end of Fall of Hyperion.
HOWEVER, this is not a lament for Endymion. Indeed, comparing it to just about any modern SF adventure, most will come up very short against the standards shown here. No, there is not a Canterbury Tales stylization. There is, however, a fabulous quest given to a new hero by the mentor Martin Selenus (the poet of old who wrote the original Cantos) that tasks Raul Endymion with nothing less than truly impossible tasks, such as helping a girl that is truly out of time, finding and returning the old destroyed Earth to its rightful place, and toppling the religious empire that has taken over the old hegemony with its promise of cruciform immortality.
Small tasks, those. And there's no reason to think he could ever accomplish one of them. The stakes are too high and the enemies amazingly implacable. Federico de Soya is one of the most amazing antagonists I've ever read, right up there with Captain Ahab, only that captain never had to undergo quite this much jellification.
Truly, no review can do this novel justice. It is an adventure, plain and simple, and is so rich with location, location, location, that it is a pure treat for the imagination. It revisits and deepens the events from the previous books, but more than builds upon them, too, painting pictures I will never unsee. Of course, the interesting chase through all the old worlds is done in very cool ways, both varied and clever, and I'll never forget how a twelve-year-old girl stands up to an entire fleet and outsmarts them not just one time, but several. The escapes are brilliant.
No, this book is not on the same ladder of brilliance as the two that came before it, but I'm proud to say that I LOVE it, anyway. It's a true work of the imagination and so exciting that I wish that I had a full SF tv-series with a huge special effects budget to do it justice.
Truly. It would be mind-blowingly awesome.
View all my reviews