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Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: Hyperion

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1)
by Dan Simmons
Science Fiction
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.


Hyperion is an intense and complex novel.  The story focuses on seven pilgrims traveling to the planet Hyperion and on what occurred in their lives to bring them to that point.  Each character tells their story in a long, extended chapter - with each story incredibly varied and richly detailed.  Characters and worlds are introduced and elaborated on in ways that made me feel so invested in each story.  These individual stories are really what made this book outstanding because they are well-written, thoughtful back stories on these characters we are at first barely familiar with.  But at the end of each story it feels like the reader knows them intimately.  The format of this book is intriguing and really well executed.  This book is about the journey of these characters and it is very important to revel in that while reading.

The characters themselves are also well-developed and realistic - it was incredible how unique and relatable the author made each of them through the story they had to tell.  Almost every story had a shock moment for me, when true horror of what each character has had to experience in their life sunk in.  And there are so many moments in this story that center on life and humanity's place in it - most of the characters are striving for a better world, but they are understandably overwhelmed and confused by reality.  This book definitely makes you think.

I also found it so interesting that the reader is thrown into this world completely at the start of the story.  There are almost no explanations about the technology or the slang of the future, but the reader gradually understands through context.  The book does a great job of showing and not telling when it comes to explanations about the world.  It can be a bit confusing in the beginning, but the pieces are all laid out in the narrative for the reader to put together.

This story has beautiful writing and story development - I can't imagine how hard it must have been to put this story together!  I am only disappointed in the ending which I will just say lacks a certain amount of closure.  Again the focus of the story is in the journey, not the ending, but I did feel a little empty over the open ending.  This book is a great read though, and the story continues in the next books in the series, so if you like complex, thought-provoking, science fiction, you should give this a read!

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  1. I hadn't heard of this one before I read your review. I'm not as into science fiction, but this premise does sound very intriguing and I want to learn more about the Shrike and this world. It sounds like the world building is well-done, and I love that! I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Great review!

    P.S. do you have a way I can subscribe by email? I feel dumb for asking because maybe I'm missing it, but I'd love to get your posts sent to my email cause that's where I usually read them. I especially love your refined reader ones. :D

  2. Rinn (Rinn Reads)July 5, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    YES YOU READ IT!! <3

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't quite that 5 star book for you. It certainly is very intense and complex, and it only gets even more so as the series goes on.

    Which was your favourite story? Mine is the priest's tale :) So eerie!

  3. It is a very hard-core science fiction book, but grounded in characters so it might be a good read for you! And maybe it will help you to like scifi a little more? :)

    I just added the subscribe by email option to my blog! Thank you for asking actually, because I wasn't really sure that people used it if there were other options (I mostly use Bloglovin) so if it helps, I'm glad to add it! :)

  4. I think it was just the ending that made me give it that rating, but I definitely enjoyed this book! And it's such impressive storytelling! Of course I do need to read the next book to find out what happens!

    I think my favorite is the Consul's tale - just for the timey whimey aspect! But the Priest's tale was really nerve-wracking - it was a great story to start the whole book off with!

  5. Ahhh The Hyperion Cantos is in my top 10 books of all time, the shrike is such a scary and mysterious character. I think that Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion were supposed to be published together but because they are so massive they were split. Everytime I reread it I learn something new.

  6. I was a bit disappointed not to know more about the shrike in this book (though that is totally in keeping with the way things are developed in this book!) The shrike are so interesting and mysterious - I really want to know more about them! And I didn't know the first two were supposed to be one book - that makes a lot of sense! Although I kinda wish I had bought them packaged together like how they sometimes release The Lord of the Rings as one book.

  7. Oh yay! I'm glad that you read this and that you enjoyed it. I read this now knowing that, as nyalims pointed out, it was supposed to be one book with its sequel and didn't really fall in love with it until I read the second book. I also know people who didn't enjoy the second one as much, since it's no longer a collection of short stories, but I'd recommend it :)

  8. Oh ok, I hope I will enjoy the sequel more than! That is probable, since I would like (and I'm hoping the 2nd book will have) more answers! And since the first book is such a great and thorough set-up, I'll already be invested in the story and characters right away.

  9. Oh that is a depressing thought- not being able to see the advancements made in the future! But to look at the bright side, it's great that we can read an imaginative version of it! That is one great thing about Simmons writing - it's so different from what we know, but so believable as the future. It makes sense that it can happen.

  10. I don't want to spoil anything for you but you will find out more about the Shrike in The Fall of Hyperion. Dan Simmons has such an imaginative brain. The world-building that he wrote is so amazing. I'm mad I'll never get to see any of the different planets he writes about. I love that most of Earth's culture has survived 700 years into the future. Have fun reading the rest, I hope you love it!

    I just looked on Wikipedia and it says we got four books because of the length of the story. Dan Simmons just wrote too much for it to be only two books.