The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons is the follow up to Hyperion. Let’s get this out of the way right now. If you read the first, then you should already know that a bit of imagination is needed to get the most out of the book. Well, in The Fall of Hyperion (TFOH), a lot more imagination will be needed! If this is not something you can do, then your read through of the book will be very difficult at certain parts. In my opinion, this book way more than surpassed my expectation. A lot of readers thought that Hyperion served nothing more than a long introduction to the characters. While that is somewhat true, I thought it actually made the second book that much better because we now have a good understanding of the main characters. And believe me, a lot more happens here than in the first book and so you’ll want to get to know the characters as much as possible.
Whereas the first book felt a bit more mellow and laid back, the author definitely picked up the pace here in TFOH. I was so excited to finally being able to read about what would happen to each of the pilgrims when they would eventually meet with the Shrike! With that being said though, the Shrike is just a part of the puzzle. Another major part of the story deals with the intergalactic war the Hegemony will have to deal with. Because there are many characters to juggle with, it can be a challenge at times to keep track.This is especially true when the author decides to go away from one character longer than the others. I do admit that the author likes to sometimes “linger” on some parts longer than necessary. Not really a deal breaker obviously but just something that irritated me for a bit when the time came.
Although we get the sense of scope of the Web world due to the farcaster system, I felt that the author could have done a better job at fleshing out some of these worlds rather than just name dropping. True, the focus is not on these planets and they are just a sum of the whole so I guess I’m just nitpicking at this point. As mentioned in the beginning, you’d best get ready to use some creativity when it comes to picturing things in your head reading TFOH. It can get pretty intense at times because what the author describes is not something that we have experienced yet in our lives. Imagining the datasphere, megasphere, datumplane, etc can be very tough at first. But you’ll eventually warm up to the idea.
After having done with TFOH, I was disappointed to say the least that although the Shrike made many appearances here, we still don’t have a clear understanding of just who or what they are. Luckily, I’ve read the excerpt of the next book in the series and it included the part about how this mystery will finally be revealed. Therefore, there is no way I’ll be stopping here!