- Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
- Publisher: HarperTorch (June 28, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780380817924
- ISBN-13: 978-0380817924
- ASIN: 0380817926
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 309 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ilium Mass Market Paperback – June 28, 2005
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“[Ilium] will leave most readers waiting breathlessly for the next installment...utterly addictive.” (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works, including Summer of Night and its sequel A Winter Haunting, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons makes his home in Colorado.
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And indeed, it did get better.
Until it started to not get better.
and then it got worse.
By the end of the book, I was skimming the pages and just wanted to get it over with, losing any hope of even a semblance of resolution, because I already knew that I'd need to read through the sequel, Olympos, to get it. And the more I read, the more it became like Endymion and its sequel, and less like Hyperion. While Hyperion introduced us to the amazing world of farcasters, cruciforms and the legendary shrike, with brilliant storytelling and captivating character building, Endymion devolved the whole lot into an incoherent soup of new age bulls***, super killer androids, and two main characters that I just kept wishing would either die or shut the hell up. similarly, by the end of Ilium, I cared little if any of the characters (except the little moravec Mahnmut) live or die and was angry enough with the way Simmons kept pulling new plot threads into and from nothingness, that I knew I wouldn't go on to read Olympos. I just wanted to put Ilium behind me. I think **spoiler** I finally lost my patience when Daeman, Harman and Savi took the elevator ride to space.**end spoiler** it was too dumb a plot device to ignore.
So why 3 stars? well, because the first 2/3s of the book are worth it. Much like TV's Lost, Ilium draws so compelling a tale from the get go that even the faux-conclusions and glaring plot holes later on should not keep you from taking the ride. as long as you're aware that you will probably want to jump off it at some point.
That said, I did feel that pacing and the slow release of information did make the first half of the book a bit of a slog. This wasn't helped by the fact that when I finally put all the pieces together and the story kicked into high gear it suddenly ended. The climax for this novel is likely in the sequel. All the threads finally came together and I was just left hanging, without any idea of how things would turn out.
It made me not want to read the sequel, if I'm honest. I imagine it was intended to do the opposite and make me hungry for it.
One word of caution, this book will try to lose you right at the start, as Simmons jumps right in with techno jargon and impossible characters that will have you re-reading sections to make sure you weren't missing something. Try not to let the voynix-controlled proxnet under the e-ring where post-humans experiment with sub-atomic quantum wormholes confuse you to the point of giving up. Just stick with it, and everything becomes as clear as it needs to for you to feel comfortable with the lingo. And when it does, this remarkable creation of Simmons's will blow you away.
Fans of classical literature will find this novel particularly entertaining, with sentient robots debating the merits of Shakespeare and Proust, Greek gods (and characters from the Iliad) behaving like spoiled teens, and powerful entities right out of The Tempest controlling Earth. Also, Simmons does an excellent job of re-invigorating Homer's epic, providing enough detail of the original through the scholic's thoughts and dialogue to actually be educational. For someone like me, who isn't about to dedicate the time or attention required to read the entirely-too-dense Iliad, this book was a fun refresher about these powerful names in literature and culture.
All in all, this is a hugely imaginative and very smart piece of work that should please almost any reader. Highly recommended!