The Rise of Endymion

The final book. What a journey through the Hyperion Cantos. I highly recommend it, even though my increasingly vague descriptions probably don’t inspire confidence, it’s because I don’t want to spoil much of anything.

It’s been four years since the last novel and Aenea has been studying under Frank Lloyd Wright. No, not the actual one, but a cybrid (human AI creation that’s fully both). Why she’s studying to be an architect is anyone’s guess. Maybe because she’s going to build a new world? It’s unclear.

What is clear now is that the Pax, the Catholic ruling party, is being manipulated by the AI core for it’s own purposes. Those little cruciforms on everyone’s chest? They may bring about resurrection but they’re also essentially a virus, hijacking our brains for computing power every time we die. Aenea knows she has to stop them. She has seen what happens if she does, and she has seen what happens if she doesn’t.

The Rise of Endymion ups the weird factor by about 50%. The most odd of all is Aenea’s literal becoming of Christ when she shares her blood as communion. Yeah, it takes some getting used to.

But the overall theme, that love is the primary motivator and energy source in an uncaring world, is touching in a way that moves past it’s seeming cheesiness. Simmons tackles it with such earnestness that you want to believe it yourself. It’s kind of ironic that one of Aenea’s goals will bring down the church, because Jesus died because of love to. I guess the irony is that the church in the novel couldn’t see it. After the many horrible things that befall the main characters, their friends, and their universe, it feels great to end on a high note. Even if the sacrificial lamb must still be sacrificed.

Engaging characters, perfect villains, and the combination of small scale stories with grand narrative events makes The Hyperion Cantos a fantastic read. It may have evolved some from the Hyperion beginnings but Rise is a worthy end to an epic of epics.

4 out of 4 stars

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