Author: Dan Simmons
Series: Hyperion Cantos #4
Genre: Science Fiction
Review Copy: Paperback bought new
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.
But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike–monster, angel, killing machine–who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered–an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.
The Rise of Endymion is the final book of the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. It completes the journey of Raul Endymion and Aenea, and reveals an amazing future for mankind. And I must say that this was quite the adventure.
Continuing four years after Endymion left off, Raul must leave for another mission and reunite with Aenea and her followers. He travels from planet to planet, but this wasn’t the same as in Endymion. It was different, and turned out to be rather short-lived, as there was a lot more happening afterwards. We see who the true villains are, finally. We find out what exactly Aenea is doing, what the cruciforms are, who these Others are, and what the future of human evolution is like. And of course, what happened to Old Earth. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. It was exciting, dangerous, violent, and very intelligent.
The story continued to be written through Raul’s eyes, as he wrote about what happened while waiting to die. We also get some third person point of view of other characters, and Raul actually explains why he knows what happened. The cast of characters is varied and vast. We meet Rachel once again, as well as Colonel Kassad, and even Father Dure. We find out who Moneta was from Hyperion. And we finally find out what happened to Het Masteen. We meet the Dalai Lama, we see Father Captain de Soya and Corporal Gregorius once again. We also get to follow Cardinals Lourdusamy and Mustafa once more, and another reincarnation of the Pope, formerly Lenart Hoyt. Many of the characters return. I particularly enjoyed de Soya. He stood out for me. To round out the cast, Martin Silenius returns and so does the android A. Bettik. Overall, the cast was well developed.
The planets visited were superbly described, especially T’ien Shan. It was very imaginative, and a world I’d love to actually see. Each of the planets was very creative and interesting. Simmons’ worldbuilding was done very well like in Endymion, so it was a joy to find out about them. The cultures were very well-done, and the perversion of the Catholic Church was quite remarkable.
One thing that I often worry about in books, especially with the final book, is how the ending will be handled. Will I be satisfied? Well, this ended very well. I was impressed. I was moved, in fact. The characters, especially Raul, Aenea, and de Soya, were incredibly engaging and felt real to me. The emotions were real. Outstanding.
Overall, I would have to give this a full 5 out of 5 stars. It was arguably the best book of the series. Great way to finish it. Highly recommended.