Monday, June 18, 2012
My first taste of Dan Simmons' writing was with Ilium. I absolutely adored it. Then I read Olympos, and although it wasn't at the same level, it didn't disappoint. And so I started Hyperion with high expectations.
The book starts off reasonably well. A group of seven pilgrims set off on a pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion to confront the murderous deity, Shrike. A politician, a templar, a scholar, a poet, a priest, a soldier and a detective make up the special (doomed?) group. The legend goes that a pilgrimage to the Shrike temple must comprise a prime number of pilgrims. Each pilgrim expresses a wish, the Shrike grants the wish of one and kills the rest. The trip is long and each pilgrim tells a tale recounting his connection with Hyperion, in the hope that knowing their stories might help in the final confrontation with the Shrike.
The first tale is reasonably gripping. But from then on, the story and the writing worsen steadily. The last story is not just the most dull and least interesting of all, but worse, it has the least flimsy premise. The tale is developed so badly that I just don't buy into the motivations of the protagonist.
Thankfully, the last few pages contain revelations that give new life to the story. The next book has a lot of scope for improvement.