Endymion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Almost three centuries after the Fall of Hyperion, the Time Tombs open and Aenea, child of Brawne Lamia and Johnny Keats emerges. Along with a former hunting guide named Raul Endymion and android A. Bettik, Aenea goes on a journey to fulfill her destiny as the one who teaches. Only the Pax has other ideas. Can Aenea reach her goal without being captured by Father Captain de Soya of the Pax?
With all the two star reviews out there, I wasn't expecting magic from Endymion. Imagine my surprise when I wound up enjoying it quite a bit. Endymion felt like rummaging through a box of old possessions you have fond memories of but have forgotten about. Only in this case, the memories are the hawking mat, the Consul's ship, the deactivated farcaster portals along the old river Tethys, and good old A. Bettik. And also The Shrike, but we won't say much about him other than to say he's still as efficient a killing machine as ever.
While not as pants-shittingly awesome as the first two books, Endymion was still an engaging read and doesn't tarnish the memory of the first two. The former Web has changed quite a bit in the 274 years since the Fall of Hyperion. Without giving too much away, the Catholic church and the cruciforms have melded in a pretty logical way into the Pax, and the Pax doesn't want Aenea fulfilling her destiny one bit. It makes for a good read. Endymion, Aenea, and A. Bettik visit some exotic former Web worlds, undergo quite a few harrowing experiences, and wind up in a good place to set up the next book, Rise of Endymion.
As engaging as I found Aenea and her people's travels on the raft, I somehow found the bad guys, de Soya and the rest, to be a more interesting cast. de Soya was efficient but conflicted and I almost found myself rooting for the poor cruciform-bearing bastard.
Don't let all the negative reviews steer you away. All franchises lose some steam by the third installment. At least there were no Ewoks in it. For fans of the first two books, Endymion is not to be missed!
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