Honestly, the break between this and Hyperion hurt me. As I stated in my review of Hyperion, it was like Ten Little Indians - except Dan Simmons stopped it at 5! When I finished Hyperion, I was like an addict looking for this book. It was painful waiting for it to come in! Needless to say, this continues the same plot line of telling why the people have been brought together, but it also begins intermixing the "present" more with the stories of the peoples' pasts... It was on par of the same excellence as Hyperion.
Hyperion pretty much ended in a cliffhanger. The Fall of Hyperion picks up where part one left off, and for once, I found the second volume to be better than the first. Simmons doesn't let each character take over an entire section of the book this time, but divides chapters among many different characters, shifting from Hyperion to the homeworlds of the Hegemony and giving us both the big picture of the war against the Ousters (and eventually, the hostile AIs of the TechnoCore) and a resolution for each of the characters we met in book one. Each of the pilgrims who set out to meet the Shrike in Hyperion does meet it. For each of them, the outcome is different, but as we learn the secret of the Shrike, every encounter becomes more important.
This is classic epic space opera, and the chapters with the war and the revelations about the Shrike and the TechnoCore are the best. There were some less interesting chapters (mostly those involving the cybrid "reincarnation" of John Keats) and places where the story dragged while characters moved from place to place and didn't know what was happening with the other characters, and sometimes just when things were getting really interesting, Simmons would end the scene in a cliffhanger and move to a less interesting POV, and not come back to the thread he left dangling for several chapters. So I wasn't always thrilled by the pace of the story and I thought the book was just a little longer than it needed to be, but the payoff was worth it.
Recommended for anyone who likes epic space opera and grand metaplots that end in a bang, but read book one first and be aware that you'll need to read both to get everything out of the story. Unlike Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion does not end with things up in the air -- the story comes to an end, more or less, though obviously the future is uncertain and so there are two more books in the series, which I will get to in due time.
I like this kind of mega-scale SF with epic conflicts when done well. The Hyperion Cantos is not the best I've ever read, but it's definitely in my top ten. I liked book two more than book one, so I give it 4.5 stars, but I just can't quite give it 5 stars.
Love, love, love. The first book of the series was merely a prequel to The Fall of Hyperion. Thoughtful and complex, this one was a page turner to the end. I highly recommend the book 1/book 2 set, even if you don't think of yourself as a "sci-fi" fan.
This book is the conclusion to 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. Adn the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.
This is the continuation and conclusion to the first book, Hyperion. You can read this without having read the first but I would not recommend it; one would have enough just trying to follow along, and less time enjoying the tale. It's like reading, or watching "The Two Towers" before "Lord of the Rings".
In the Fall of Hyperion, the author uses Catholic debates on the nature of Jesus' relationship to God as his premise to resolve the crisis created in Hyperion. It is an interesting and scholarly approach, but sometimes annoying. The religious overtones set me on edge from time to time, but not as much as the pacing. The story takes a long time to unfold and made me impatient often. Still, I liked it being an epic tale about the end of the world.
The Fall Of Hyperion completes the story started in Hyperion. In the first book the main characters - well, most of them anyway - got to the time tombs on Hyperion and big events are just starting to happen. You might expect the next volume in the series to pick up right there, but no. Simmons instead introduces us to an entirely new character and starts giving us his back story, gradually weaving it into with the original tale.
We eventually get the story of the last Shrike pilgrimage worked out, sort of. There are a lot of unanswered questions, though, and some less than entirely satisfactory story telling. It's not that I require everything to be wrapped up with a pretty, pink bow, but something seems to be missing.
I noted more instances where an editor would have helped, as in Hyperion itself, and the damn cover image still features a two armed Shrike, not the four armed one actually described in the novel. *sigh*
In all I am not quite sure what to make of this. It's good, but not great, interesting, but less than fulfilling. I wish Simmons had done more with it, but I can still recommend it.
This is the stunning conclusion to the epic adventure begun in "Hyperion". We return 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.