The Lives of Tao, written by Wesley Chu, is an absolute winner. A science fiction book that reads more like a modern thriller, The Lives of Tao has it all–action, suspense, comedic relief, and characters you want to stand up and cheer for.
The book starts out with a bang and doesn’t let go. After the initial action scene, which I won’t spoil for you here, the star character Roen wakes up hearing voices in his head. And like any of us, he assumes he has gone around the bend. But unlike any of us (I assume) he has a brain passenger, an alien life form named Tao. Tao is in the middle of a civil war that has raged for millennia and peace is not on the horizon. Roen is out of shape and unruly, just what Tao doesn’t need.
Throughout the book, Chu reframes the history of the Earth as we know it through the eyes of the two warring factions of the alien race called the Quasing. The Genjix and the Prophus have been warring for centuries over the direction they should take the human race. Many famous ancients are seen in a new light as you find they were really hosts to a Quasing. The problem the Quasing have is they can’t survive in the Earth environment for more than a few minutes. When their host dies, they have to find a new host or they perish as well. And the other problem they have, they can’t just force their host to do what they want done. They must persuade, cajole, and encourage.
Because Roen is so out of shape and unruly, Tao has his work cut out for him. He even calls for back up help in the form of Sonya, another human who plays host to a Quasing named Baji. Tao and Baji have been friends and allies for a long time. The interplay between hosts and their Quasing provides for many a chuckle.
I love the pace of this book. The characters are well developed. And within a few sentences, I was hooked on the action.
I finished this book in just a pair of evenings–I would have finished it all in one but I had to work early the next morning. As soon as I read the last page, I went over to Amazon and ordered the sequel.
The Lives of Tao rates 4.75 out of 5 stars for me.