Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Lives of Tao - Wesley Chu

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

The Live of Tao looked ridiculously intriguing to me and I have faith in Angry Robot books so this was a no-brainer. 

Tao, an ancient life-form that has lived the entirety of human existence unfortunately has to room with Roen, your stereotypical twenty something that is living his humdrum, go nowhere life. Both are originally annoyed with the setup but both grow as people as they begin to work together.

I really liked both of the main voices in this novel. Roen is completely relatable, even if you do want to kick him to get motivated every once in awhile. At the same time, though, you probably know at least a few people like him. Tao is a great character, at once bringing both mystery and answers to the novel and giving the whole thing a purpose.

The universe Chu has created is intriguing. There is now an explanation for almost every event in human history and at times it becomes murky who the good guys and the baddies are. Roen is constantly trying to figure out where he stands and how he feels about it as well meaning (and not so well meaning) new figures pop into his life.

I really enjoyed Sonia, the female agent sent to whip Roen into shape. I thought she was an engaging character, showing another side to the agency Roen will have to work for and a different side to the idea of a secret agent, at that. Jill, the other love interest for Roen in the book, I wish were a little more fleshed out as a person as she seemed more of a goal than an actual character. With the events of the novel, though, I'm sure she will become more of a character in the next book.

Because this is a series, right? It has to be!

I really enjoyed The Lives of Tao and had a hard time putting it down. It's a great addition to the science fiction catalogue and a great read.

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