Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Lives of Tao - Wesley Chu

The Lives of Tao is SF thriller by Chicago writer Wesley Chu. Reading about the book and the writer gave me rather high expectations, you see Wesley Chu has a background in martial arts, and used to work as a stuntman. Surely there must be some awesome action waiting to burst out of this man? Anyway, many thanks to Angry Robot Books for providing me with a preview copy of The Lies of Tao.

We are not alone.

The aliens arrived on earth millions of years ago when their spaceship malfunctioned and they crashed straight into our beautiful blue planet. Mother Earth must have thought she had enough children as the the aliens found the to be poisonous to them, and they started dying. Luckily, there was a way they could survive: entering a host. No, they are not quite body snatchers or candiru fish. The aliens don't quite have physical bodies, and the host is still in control.

Although I do think a book about dinosaurs controlled by aliens could have been fun it's not what The Lives of Tao is about. Tao is the name of one of these aliens, and he belongs to the faction which does not want to enslave humans and drain Earth of her resources to build a ship to leave. The aliens are at war with themselves and a lot of them have human hosts with military training, but Tao is at the moment without a host, and he is running out of time.

The Lives of Tao, and Wesley Chu, have a choice to make: is the next person available an athlete with a natural skill for marksmanship and martial arts, or a fat geek whose only skill is eating pizzas. Enter Roen, a fat, beer and pizza loving IT nerd. I'm very happy with going nerd over jock. It might not be groundbreaking with shaping a chubby man into a rock hard killer, but it sure was fun. I can't help picturing Brendan Fraser as Roen, no one does loveable buffoon better than him, especially when it comes to getting hit over the head by a pretty lady, or running into trees.

The first half of the book might be a lighthearted, fun read, but the second half turns deadly serious. We go from comedy to thriller in a heartbeat, and Roen is more Daniel Craig than Brendan Fraser. No more quietly giggling to myself, only nervously biting my nails while Roen dodges bullets and leaps out of burning buildings.

Roen and the other characters are so easy to like, just like the villains are easy to hate. By the end of the books I was close to tears, which proves my emotional investment in the characters and their fates. I wish every book made me care about the characters as much as The Lives of Tao.

The Lives of Tao weighs in at 464 pages, and is published by Angry Robot Books. Should be available end of April, 2013.


  1. Ah, I kept seeing this one up for review but was very skeptical. Now, that you've reviewed it I might just give it a chance! It sounds like a lot of fun!!

    Great review!

    And sorry I haven't stopped by in forever, but you know we bloggers tend to stay busy...

    :-) Diayll

    1. It was great fun :)

      Few seem busier than you though :)

    2. Well I hope that means I work hard... ;-)

  2. Ha ha! Brendan Fraser is a good image for Roen. I kept picturing Jack Black as Kung Fu Panda. *shrugs* Imagination is weird. :) Great review! New follower.

    1. Thank you, and welcome to my blog :)