Before you and I existed – in fact, before most people existed – our planet was inhabited by a group of aliens. Unable to exist on our planet in their natural form, the alien race, or Quasing, merged with the bodies of wayward creatures. As time went on, a divide was slowly created between two burgeoning sects, the aggressive Genjix and the peaceful, human-sympathetic Prophus. Both sides want to leave Earth and return to their home planet but they both have different ideas in how to go about it.
In the short period of time that 2013 has existed, I’ve only read a handful of books and as of right now, The Lives of Tao is a strong frontrunner for one of the best I’ve read this year. It’s that good.
The influence the alien race has had on key figures and events throughout history was pretty neat and added a uniqueness to the story that really helped push this book over the 4 star hump into 5 star territory. The backstory involving the Quasing race is deep enough without throwing too much information at the reader. Chu doesn’t hit you over the head with overbearing filler describing the Quasing influence on human history but rather uses their history to flesh out the characters. You can’t help but grin when Chu sneaks these tidbits in here and there.
While I was skeptical at first, I ended up enjoying the character of Roan Tan. His interactions with his Quasing, Tao, had me laughing out loud while also creating some heartfelt dramatic moments. Writing a relationship like the one between Roan and Tao isn’t easy, it takes a real ear for dialogue to make their back and forth move so smoothly. Even when their bond is at its most vulnerable, you know one will not alienate the other. I hesitate to use the word bro-mance in describing their friendship but what the hell, there it is.
In the end, it comes down to the fact that The Lives of Tao is really fun to read. It has all the energy and excitement of a big budget summer action movie but an intricate enough plot that it comes away as a smart, sci-fi thriller. The characters that Wesley Chu presents to us are so compelling and memorable that they demand to be brought back to life in future books.
Check out my interview with Wes!