Monday, November 5, 2012

The Fall of Hyperion - A Worthy Sequel

Dan Simmons' The Fall of Hyperion picks up right where the first book Hyperion leaves off.  Though, the storytelling is a little different. 

In the first book the Consul is the first person narrator, except for when the other characters tell their stories. 

In this second book, we meet a new character: Joseph Severn, an artist living in TC^2, who has the ability to view our Hyperion friends in his dreams.  During the first part of the book, we see things unfolding from Joseph's POV through a clouded lens.  At first this was annoying, but it turns out that Joseph is a very important person.  (If it's any hint, the "real" Joseph Severn was a good friend of the poet John Keats.)

But then starting with Part 2, everything becomes a little clearer with the author switching to normal third person limited.  Events unfold.  We get to see what happens to each of the pilgrims on Hyperion.

I can't say too much without giving away the plot of the first book, but I can say the following.

This second book is almost as good as the first book.  Where I would give the first book 10 stars.  The second gets 9.  There are some parts in the second where the writing seems a little sloppy, while the first is a masterpiece from page 1 till the end.

The second book ties up nearly all loose ends from the first book.  While book #1 ends in a cliffhanger, book #2 gives a satisfying end such that you don't feel like you need to read the last two books (though I probably will eventually).

Book #2 has a lot of "No way!" moments, and is a very exciting read once you get past Part 1.

Book #2 doesn't waste any time reminding you what you should remember on your own from Book #1.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Well--Simmons might do it a little, but it flows so naturally.

After reading Book #1, it's so easy to say, "I don't see how everything fits together."  But book #2 will hit you over the head with the explanation and when you're done reading you'll say, "Wow!  It makes sense.  Why didn't I see that earlier?"

There are still a few small things left unrevealed--gotta keep things open for books 3 and 4.

Dan Simmons really, really seems to like John Keats.  I don't share this great love, and I usually skimmed past all the verse in italics.  Though I gather that the whole Hyperion story seems to be heavily inspired by some specific Keats poems--as if Simmons read them and said, "Wow.  I could make a great story out of that."

And the Consul still never gets a name.  Aaaaagh!  I know ... major spoiler.

But notwithstanding, Simmons is an excellent storyteller and I thoroughly enjoyed reading these two books, and I highly recommend them both.

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