Liam Reviews “The Lives of Tao”

Posted: April 22, 2013 in Angry Robot Books, Book Reviews
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Man, oh, man – where can I get my own Tao? Having a super-wise, ancient alien being sharing my brain would be too, too cool! Ok – maybe I do get the conflicting moral dilemmas that main character Roen Tan struggles with as he wrangles with alien Tao – but still – to have the thoughts, the knowledge, and the memories first hand in your very own brain of many illustrious figures in history like Genghis Khan and the guy who invented Tai Chi – come on – who wouldn’t want that?

In The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu, Roen is taken over by a Quasing from the planet Quasar. The Quasings crashed on Earth thousands and thousands of years ago while the dinosaurs still roamed the planet. In order to survive on our planet they needed a host, a warm organic body to protect them – be it a turtle or a human. Throughout the years, the Quasings split into two warring factions, the Prophus and the Genjix. Tao represents the good-guy Prophus who respect humans, while the Genjix see humans only as tools or pawns in their attempts to crush the Prophus, conquer all the humans and ultimately return to their planet.

After high level operative Tao’s host sacrifices himself for Tao, Tao is forced to find a new host immediately to survive. He finds a most unsuitable host in overweight and out-of-shape Roen Tan. Tao and his associates must whip Roen into shape if there is any hope of surviving the fight against the Genjix.

It’s thoroughly entertaining following Roen & Tao as their symbiotic relationship is tested to the limits. Will Roen adapt to and adopt his new partner or will he reject Tao, forcing Tao to live out a mundane existence? Once a Quasing adopts a new host, they can’t choose another until their current host dies or gets killed; quite the dilemma for them both.

Chu does a clever job of intertwining world history and historical events and figures with the war that has been raging between the two alien factions for centuries. In Tao’s version of human history, every fact of human existence was manipulated by either the Prophus or the Genjix in their battles for dominance. Each side consistently conspired to plot and manipulate humans and Quasing alike.

The Lives of Tao is full of fast-paced action, chase scenes, and plenty of hand-to-hand battles to keep you on edge. I could certainly imagine many of these scenes on the screen. I also enjoyed Chu’s choice of the everyday and average man, Roen, as alien Tao’s eventual choice as a new host. It’s always fun to watch the marshmallowy guy get ripped and ready to rumble! We love to root for the underdog and see him win, even if it is a little rocky along the way.

The Lives of Tao is a fun, exciting, alien, sci-fi romp through history and espionage. Tao has had way too many lives to meet them all, but you should be sure to give it a shot by reading this book! 9 out of 10 Liams

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