Hyperion by Dan Simmons

This novel is an epic journey. Seven pilgrims set off to see the legendary Shrike on the planet Hyperion. During their pilgrimage they share their accounts of what brought them there. Their stories are brutal, moving and poetic. There are many themes addressed here: the loss and, perhaps, the regaining of faith, retribution, exploration, what makes us human, what we fear and at its core it’s a damn good Space Opera.

There is a notable element of horror throughout. It is a dark work, and disturbing. It’s emotional and will raise questions. There isn’t a lot of ‘hard science fiction’ here, so don’t let that scare you away, just a fantastic story written remarkably well. Make sure you have the sequels on hand.