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.