The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #4)

By Dan Simmons

Rating: 4 stars

Concluding the Hyperion cantos is a tricky job, drawing many threads together and providing some closure, and Simmons mostly does a good job. We pick up five years after Raul Endymion and Aenea found themselves on Old Earth, just as they have to leave. This time Raul is sent out alone to go and look for the Counsel’s ship, that they left on a planet somewhere along the River Tethys while Aenea goes on her own adventures. We follow Raul on his travels, hiding from the Pax and his eventual reunion with Aenea. A neat trick with relativity means that another five years or so have passed for him before the reunion, making her in her early twenties before the relationship foretold in the previous book happens, and so making the whole thing somewhat less creepy.

There are several points in the book where Aenea, now in full One Who Teaches mode, stops to provide several pages of exposition. This slows the book down a lot and it feels clunky to hear someone ask “Tell us about the Farcasters”, or whatever, and have an infodump thrown at the reader. I wish that a better way could have been found to handle that.

It’s also sometimes tricky to keep various versions of a story in my head at once. “So the Cantos said this about it, the Core says that, and now Aenea is saying the other.” Trying to remember all the different versions so that I could reconcile them in my head was sometimes tricky.

The Core comes out of this as the real villains, along with certain individuals in the Church who can’t see beyond their own greed. I’m left feeling almost sorry for Lenar Hoyt, now the Pope, who seems like a very weak character, who is entirely led by other people, and by the Core. It feels like a weakness that the final resolution seems to pretty much leave the Core out entirely. We never find out what happens to it, but I suppose there have to be some mysteries left over. And speaking of mysteries, the Shrike retains some of its mystery. We find out more about it, but the core (to me) item of why it was created and why it changed sides in the last book are still not clear.

Also, something that bugged me from early on was the revelation that Father Duré from the first books was still “alive”, in that he and Hoyt shared a body and each time Hoyt died and Duré was resurrected, he was killed by the Church to allow Hoyt to return. But Duré’s cruciform was cut from him by the Shrike in Fall of Hyperion, while in the Labyrinth (I flipped through the book to make sure I wasn’t imagining it, and I wasn’t). Since it’s never explained, I guess this is just a plot hole, but I would have thought that any beta-readers would have picked up on it (either that, or I missed something pretty important).

Definitely better than its predecessor, but perhaps not quite matching the first two books of the cantos, it’s worth reading to finish the story. Oh, and if I ever write a sequel to my blog post on big dumb objects, the Startree is definitely going on the list.

Book details

ISBN: 9780553572988
Publisher: Spectra
Year of publication: 1997

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