Book Reviews

Book Review: The Fall of Hyperion

71pDJkFtB0LTL;DR:

The Fall of Hyperion, by Dan Simmons, is a well-written book with complex characters, but it’s missing the magic that made the first book excellent. In this book, Simmons abandons his Canterbury Tales-esque style for something more akin to the modern day space opera. However, he also makes several less attractive writing decisions that give the book a very uneven quality. If you read the first Hyperion and loved it, I’d say this book is worth a read if only to complete the story (without having to delve into the Endymion books); but know that you’re not going to experience the same quality of story you received in Hyperion.

The Good:

  1. Simmons picks up where he left off, immediately drawing the reader into the mysterious and compelling world of Hyperion and the events swirling around its many mysteries. However, this time the reader gets to watch as the ripples of those events spread out into the galaxy.

  2. The characters in this book are very well done; each of them felt real and organic to me. I still loathed Silenus, my heart still aches for Sol, and the damage done to the Consul as a person made me a little misty eyed.

  3. Simmons is an excellent writer and is able to successfully employ multiple styles of writing and storytelling in this book, making the overall product a complex, but enjoyable read.

The Bad:

  1. Simmons can become so overly descriptive that it becomes difficult for me to remember or comprehend what he’s describing. I admire an author’s ability to paint a picture in the reader’s mind with words. Simmons can go on for pages describing a landscape, and when he does it becomes very difficult (for me at least) to even remember what I was reading about several lines ago. The descriptors and things being described become so numerous that they lose their power and degrade the overall quality of the work.

  2. Simmons changes the way he tells the story and I found it to be a little less than palatable. In the first Hyperion, the reader is presented with six modular stories that start and end without muddling themselves with alternative points of view. In this book, Simmons jumps between six or seven different points of view, frequently showing the reader the same revelation from multiple angles. This causes the story to feel bloated.

  3. Certain things that are established in the first story seem forgotten or ignored for the sake of convenience in this book.

  4. The latter half of the book is thick with complex ideologies and convoluted storytelling, making it more of a chore than a delight to read. 

The  Meh:

  1. The ending was incredibly off putting and disappointing to me. I can’t explain to you why without massive spoilers, but I can’t stand it when science fiction authors try and make a case for human-created concepts being part of the fabric of the universe.

  2. Simmons frequently quoted Keats’ poetry by including long verses. I will readily say that I am not a large fan of poetry. I understand that the poetry had a certain relevance to the story, but reading large amounts of it felt cumbersome and trying.

  3. The editing in the book was terrible. I’m pretty certain that it was specific to the ebook version I was reading, though.

  4. Simmons uses the cliff hanger concept so frequently that it became frustrating.

Synopsis:

The Time Tombs are opening and the entire galaxy is watching. The Ousters and the Hegemony light the night sky with weapons of war. The bladed shadow of The Shrike constantly looms over those on Hyperion.  Rachel continues to grow younger and younger, and the remaining Pilgrims feel their hope wear thinner and thinner. But the events that take place over the next few days will ripple out into the galaxy and universe to influence the tides of time.

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