Title: The Fall of Hyperion
(Hyperion Cantos, #2)
You can also read my review for Hyperion.
In the stunning continuation of the epic
adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent
with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs
are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere
in the universe--will ever be the same.
The only real problem I have with the
first book, Hyperion, is that it doesn't stand on its own, but
is the first half in this two-part epic story. That's something that I didn't
reflect upon when I was reading Hyperion, but it is something
that became very obvious to me when I started reading The Fall of
Hyperion. And to be honest, I felt a little cheated. Still, Hyperion is
a fantastic book, and it deserves an equally fantastic sequel. Is The
Fall of Hyperion that sequel?
First of all, I have a difficult time
calling this book a sequel, since it's basically one story split in two halves.
A continuation is a more appropriate term. As a continuation, this book doesn't
skip a beat, as we are being thrown right back into the story.
If Hyperion is in
its core a set up, then The Fall is very much the pay-off.
This is where all the foreshadowing, all the hints, and undercurrents which I
have talked about in my last review, come into play.
As the war rages between the Hegemony and the Ousters, the pilgrims are sitting
by the opening Time Tombs on the planet Hyperion, and waiting for the Shrike to
show himself. What neither of the pilgrims know is what the terrifying
time-defying creature has in store for them, or what part each and everyone one
of them plays in the outcome of the war, and in the future of humankind itself.
Meanwhile, on Tau Ceti Center - the administrative center of the Hegemony - a cybrid clone of poet John Keats is having
prophetic dreams about the pilgrims, while trying to figure out the purpose of
And CEO Meina Gladstone
- the one woman in whose hands rests the fate of the entire galaxy, is slowly
coming to a realisation that there may be an even bigger threat to the Hegemony
than the savage Ousters.
I wish I could talk more
in-depth about this story in terms of its many subplots, and themes, but in
doing so I would be robbing you of the chance to experience this
book by yourselves. There are riddles, and mysteries woven throughout the two
books, and half the pleasure of reading them is trying to solve these mysteries.
The Hyperion books are not an easy read. They require your
full attention. They not only make you think, but they make you think ahead,
and try and figure things out by yourself. This is something that I admire
about these books.
The Fall continues to build upon the themes that were first
introduced in the first book, such as nature versus technology, man versus AI,
and the future of organised religion. One of the major themes in these books is
man's relationship to God, and here, Simmons poses an interesting question: can
mankind create a God, or a higher intellect through active faith?
Just like in the first book, there is so much going on here; there are so many
subplots, and so many characters, but once again, Simmons handles it all so
well, balancing the subplots, and giving all the important characters the time
that they require to grow.
Like I said, Hyperion and The
Fall of Hyperion are essentially one book, which means that they are
consistent both in style and in language. Consequently, The Fall possesses
the same strengths that made the first book so great.
Where it does falter sometimes is the pacing, specifically during the many
briefings and meetings between the Hegemony higher-ups as they are strategizing, and bickering with one another. I
understand that these scenes are important for the plot, but whenever my
attention was directed to these "situation rooms", I felt like the
story came to a halt. It's Hyperion - the planet, not the name of the book -
that's interesting to me. This is where it all happens.
In the first book, Simmons took us on a grand tour of the Hegemony, and its
many worlds and cultures by incorporating the pilgrims' stories into the
main plot. Here, we get to visit these worlds in real time, and witness how this
war is affecting these very diverse societies.
The ending is an open one, but the
conclusion is nonetheless satisfying. Simmons wraps up most of the subplots
nicely, while still leaving enough room for interpretation. Even as the
story draws to a close, there are still questions to ponder about.
It would be
tempting to rate The Fall lower than its predecessor, only
because Hyperion gave me a greater case of the feels. Still, The
Fall is just as good a book as its predecessor. Simmons does a fantastic
job conveying the sense of urgency, and panic as the war between the Hegemony
and the Ousters escalates. There are few books that I know of that depict the
big intergalactic events so well, while at the same time delving deep into the
minds and souls of the characters.
Labels: Dan Simmons, hyperion, science fiction