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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

The Rise of Endymion

The Rise of Endymion - Dan Simmons Finally I have finished the entire Hyperion Cantos, the series than began with the all-time sci-fi classic [b:Hyperion|77566|Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546838s/77566.jpg|1383900], almost concluded in [b:The Fall of Hyperion|77565|The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546935s/77565.jpg|1882596], launched a second arc in [b:Endymion|3977|Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #3)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1329611385s/3977.jpg|1882574] and ends here with The Rise of Endymion.

These last two books read more like a duology than the third and fourth installations of a series. The Cantos is often discussed in PrintSF, my sci-fi books discussions online community. The second half of the series tend to be quite polarizing. Some people love it, some say it is disappointing, one reader even calls it a bad fan fiction of the first two books. The Goodreads average rating for these last two books however, indicate that they are quite well liked by the majority. In my opinion they are well worth reading if you like [b:Hyperion|77566|Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546838s/77566.jpg|1383900] and [b:The Fall of Hyperion|77565|The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546935s/77565.jpg|1882596], but they are not sf classics like these earlier books.

This is not one of those series that can be read out of sequence, in fact The Rise of Endymion continues directly from the previous volume [b:Endymion|3977|Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #3)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1329611385s/3977.jpg|1882574]. After narrowly escaping capture by the Pax church state and their secret partner the insidious and malevolent mega AI entity the TechnoCore, our heroes the messianic Aenea and Raul Endymion have settled down on “Old Earth” (just Earth to us) for a few years. That is until one day Aenea instructs Raul to go on an interminable mission to pick up their spaceship which they left on another planet in the previous book and bring it to her at a preprogrammed destination. After finally reuniting with great difficulty they travel to the planet where the Pax run Vatican is located and confront the Pax and the evil AI.

There are quite a few edge of the seat thrilling scenes in this book, especially those involving the killer super cyborgs (T-1000-like) Nemes, Scylla (and the other one). The equally formidable Shrike from all the previous books is also present to challenge these whippersnapper cyborgs. However, the book is not a thrill ride all the way as Raul’s solo adventure to reclaim their “Consul’s Ship” drags at time, though he did get to meet some wonderful characters and cultures on the way. The climax is suitably epic and mystical, and the events that follow wrap up the entire Cantos nicely. I did see the twist at the end from miles away though (if you have read this book I’d love to know if did the same).

Dan Simmons’ prose is always great to read, slipping into lyrical mode from time to time, with the odd (and very odd) poems. The characterization is the main strength of this book, the protagonists and antagonists are all very well drawn. The sci-fi aspect of it is not so mind boggling now as they were mostly featured in the previous books. Some of the new sci-fi elements border on fantasy, such as FTL travelling by foot, through a sort of hyperspace shortcut. Not to mention all the “chosen one” and messianic tropes. In fact Aenea reminds me a lot of Paul Muad'Dib from [b:Dune|234225|Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)|Frank Herbert|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389569143s/234225.jpg|3634639]. All of the mysteries from the previous books (including the origin and nature of the Shrike) are explained (to the displeasure of some fans who prefer them to be left unexplained). The book is also very romantic, optimistic and yet kind of tragic.

I am glad I have finished the entire series, but the first two books classic [b:Hyperion|77566|Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546838s/77566.jpg|1383900] and [b:The Fall of Hyperion|77565|The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405546935s/77565.jpg|1882596] remain two of my all time favorites which I would like to reread some day. I enjoyed [b:Endymion|3977|Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #3)|Dan Simmons|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1329611385s/3977.jpg|1882574] and The Rise of Endymion but I am not likely to reread them.