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The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao

Scritto da Wesley Chu

Narrato da Mikael Naramore


The Lives of Tao

Scritto da Wesley Chu

Narrato da Mikael Naramore

valutazioni:
4/5 (31 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
12 ore
Pubblicato:
Apr 30, 2013
ISBN:
9781469271972
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he's losing it.

He isn't.

As of last night, he 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. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. 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.

So now Roen must train to be a hero worthy of his unwanted companion. Like that's going to end up well.…

"Wesley Chu is my hero.… He has to be the coolest science fiction writer in the world." -Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama

Pubblicato:
Apr 30, 2013
ISBN:
9781469271972
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His debut novel, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Top 10 slot. He is also the coauthor of the Eldest Curses series with Cassandra Clare, the first book of which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

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3.9
31 valutazioni / 33 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    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 front runner 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 back story 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 it’s 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 both compelling and memorable that they demand to be brought back to life in future books.

    Cross posted at Every Read Thing

    Check out my interview with Wes!
  • (2/5)
    I really didn't love this book. I found myself not caring about Tao and his many lives. It was an intriguing premise but it just didn't work for me.
  • (5/5)
    Just go read it. Great story.
  • (4/5)
    A lighthearted, entertaining, humorous story about a regular man becoming a secret agent by essentially an alien spirit entering his consciousness. The story is pretty typical but it does but an interesting spin on world history. The characters are also a bit typical, with the protagonist being overly whiny and the agents being overly super. The writing is good and makes it quite funny at times. The book overall is a fun read and I think that is what it aims to be.
  • (4/5)
    Kinda light, super action-y, but I kinda really liked it.
  • (1/5)
    The alien possession premise has been done differently. The merits of the book are pace, and a sense of how project management and cost-benefit thinking permeates the world - even aliens do it. But the characters are adolescent, the dialogue is bad and the prose limps.
  • (3/5)
    Nerdy, out of shape, unlucky in love and stuck in a dead end job for a boss who exploits and mistreats him, Roen is near rock bottom. And now he just doesn't feel right. There are voices in his head, and gaps in his memory. Perhaps he is losing his mind?

    But no, he's just possessed, by an alien. Tao is a member of an ancient race, whose spacecraft failed near earth aeons ago. Now, Tao's race has split into hostile factions, in a disagreement about how to brutally to manipulate humanity so that humans might become suficiently advanced to enable repair of their spaceship, and persent the castaways with the prospect of a return home. Tao's faction is for 'less brutality'. And they are losing.

    Tao has just suffered the death of his previous host, a lean, mean, fighting machine. Essential skills for this bitter battle. Roen is shall we say, a little out of his league and Tao's new host.

    It is an entertaining read, without offerering much that is new in the alien possession game.
  • (5/5)
    This is my first review, and I only say that because it takes a lot to stir me to write unless ordered to do so. However, I just finished "The Lives of Tao" and I feel like I was blindsided. I am fairly certain I picked it up due to a recommendation from EW or some other website/publication. I do that fairly regularly, some I read and many I just put aside for later.

    I was looking to start a new book and I picked this one up a few days ago; it grabbed me right away. If not for petty annoyances like work and kids I am quite sure I would have ripped through it in a day. I say I was blindsided because I had just picked it up to pass the time and it was so much better than I expected.

    Another disclaimer: while I am not a huge sci-fi book fan (movies & tv much more so) and I usually stick to biographies or the fantasy/suspense/horror/bible curse of the week type of novel. This book was fascinating, gripping, funny, exciting...and so much more. I won't get into plot details because it is such a unique book that any surprises I might inadvertently ruin would just diminish the fun. It reminds me of "Ready Player One" in that it almost defies classification.

    I am so very sad I am through with the book, I miss it already. Do yourself a favor and read it!
  • (4/5)
    Roen Tan is a bit of a loser. He is stuck in a dead end job working in IT, has a weight problem because of a love of TV dinners and really isn't going anywhere with his life. Secret agent material? Hardly.

    Tao is a Quasing, an ancient alien who have lived on this planet for millions of years, and who inhabit the native species of the planet whilst they are alive. The Quasings have split into to factions, Prophus who Tao is a member of , and the savage, powerful Genjix. They both have the same aim, to get off the planet, but they are going about it in very different ways.

    Following the untimely death of his previous host, Tao is looking for a new host, he spots Roen and enters his mind. He starts to think that he is hearing voices, and is losing it as Tao makes the first tentative contact. Tao is eager to get back to the fight with the Genjix and somehow he has to get Roen into shape. So begins the training programme and the battle of wills between Tao and Roen as he gets him ready for active service.

    Really enjoyed this book. I liked the blend of conspiracy, thriller and sci-fi and set in a world you could instantly relate to. The main characters are fairly well constructed, with a good set of flaws and qualities and you see them change and develop as the story goes on. It starts a little slow, and then builds to a fast paced conclusion. Written well with wit and humour too. Great stuff.
  • (2/5)
    Pros: interesting aliens, thought provoking Cons: hard to sympathize with Tao’s POV When Tao’s host is killed during a mission the alien entity must find a new host fast. Roan Tan is unsuitable in every way but beggars can’t be choosers. Now Tao has months to get him up to speed as an agent in the war between the Genjix and the Prophus because the enemy is up to something and Tao’s skills are needed. I found this a challenging read in that I know enough history to understand that both alien sides of this war have done horrific things to humans and question the humans’ insistence that their side is doing things ‘for the betterment of humankind’. I’m sorry, causing a plague to make the war you started end faster isn’t helping the humans who will die either way. I therefore had a lot of difficulty sympathizing with Tao’s viewpoint. If you can divorce yourself from the larger issues involved in the story (like the lack of human consent to becoming a host and having your life hijacked by a cause you can’t fully understand as these aliens have been waring on earth since their cashed spaceship killed the dinosaurs) it’s a fun romp. The story is basically a long training montage as Roen goes from an unhealthy lifestyle to becoming a decent agent (there’s still room for improvement in later books). The book does - towards the end especially - deal with some of the above issues I had and I found the book quite thought provoking in several ways. I loved the underpinning of the aliens. It’s horrifying and clever to show that they’ve manipulated the largest events in human history. I’d have liked learning more about Tao’s past, though the story gives enough to understand how things got to this point. I didn’t find it the most engaging read. Roan grew on me but wasn’t someone I wanted to spend a lot of time with. While the pacing was ok, there was a lot of downtime, especially around the training when I found the book kind of dull. It does give the ending more punch but this isn’t a book I’d reread.
  • (5/5)
    The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu is excellent science fiction! It gives a plausible explanation for the way the world is right now (assuming a willing suspension of disbelief) and keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, but smiling. Chu had to be channeling Jon Stewart and Dave Letterman as he was writing the story because Tao, the co-protagonist, has an incisive but droll, sly wit and has an eye on the big picture, but never so much that he doesn't zone in on the critical, and occasionally humorous, salient details. The story was good enough to cause me to miss some of my favorite TV shows. Not to worry, I Tivoed them, but it also caused me to almost miss filing my income tax! If you like military science fiction, this is a story told from a very unusual perspective that shouldn't be missed.You see, there are two alien factions fighting each other. Tao is an elder of one faction, if beings that are essentially immortal (barring accidents and mayhem) can be said to have “elders.” These aliens have mistakenly crash landed on Earth and are trying to get off, but their bodies cannot survive in Earth's environment. They do have the ability, however, to move into a symbiotic relationship inside the bodies of the fauna of Earth, including humans. So, the aliens (the Quasing, from the planet Quasar) are trying to control human development in order to get them (us) to develop the means for the Quasing to return home, all without humans becoming aware of the existence of the aliens. The rub comes from different ideas on how best to develop humanity's civilization and abilities. One faction, the Genjix, believes that humanity requires conflict in order to advance; the other faction, the Prophus, are trying to advance civilization by peaceful cooperation that innovates through stability. The conflict has gone from personal disagreements to schism, leading to the creation of the factions and outright warfare, providing the root cause of most of the wars mankind has been through - they were all started by aliens!Tao, a Prophus, the good guys, finds a new host as he is about to die from both enemy action and the Earth's atmosphere. The host, Roen Tan, is an ethical but meek, overweight geek who prefers watching TV, playing video games and drinking to just about every other aspect of his life, particularly his job. Tao's task is to transform this nebbish into a lean, mean, fighting machine. And thus is born a classic partnership and the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride that is thrilling, touching and witty. The Lives of Tao is a definite must-read.
  • (1/5)
    Sometimes an audiobook is so awful you keep listening just to see how awful it gets. This is a series of clichéd secret agent tropes layered on run of the mill body snatcher alien tropes mixed with a mid 20s protagonist who still has not passed nerd teen development stage. And every character is uninteresting and zero dimensional.
  • (5/5)
    I read Lives of Tao while traveling--and it was the perfect book to crack open while idling away time in an airport. Not because I didn’t have anything better to do, but because it made me forget where I was.

    The banter between Tao and Roen is fast-paced and witty. Tao’s dry commentary is especially funny. I was flipping pages, giggling to myself, and reminiscing on especially clever parts with my husband (who’d read it first). There’s a delightful element of wish fulfillment to the story--directionless nerd becomes awesome--that made me recall my own Roen-esque youth.

    Despite the humor, there’s a deeper edge beneath the story; the humor is situational and dialogue-based, rather than farcical. Tao has a past, and a ton of baggage, which he relays periodically to Roen in order to help him understand why they are fighting. I really enjoyed reading these pre-chapter blurbs, which explained Tao’s involvement in human history.

    In short, a lovely, engaging read! Looking forward to The Deaths of Tao!
  • (4/5)
    What happens when your life is suddenly taken over by a voice in your head? If that voice is an alien in an endless war? What are the Genjix up to if they don't want to go home? What will be the result when people learn about how the aliens have influenced history?
  • (4/5)
    I don't know why I couldn't get into this book at the time when I bought it a year and a half ago but it does take the trope of the secret war most people never know about and gives it new life. As others have noted the Mittyesque comedy of the first portion of the book becomes abruptly serious by the climax, but that makes me look forward to reading the other two books in the series.
  • (3/5)
    I started reading this for Hugo reasons. I was pleasantly surprised that much of the action takes place in Chicago. Besides that, the premise is interesting, the characters are ok, but the writing is not great. I'm hoping it's just because it's Chu's first book and will improve in later works?
  • (4/5)
    As I read The Lives of Tao, I started to get that sinking feeling that comes when you arrive at the party late. Most of the food and drink is gone, the entertainment is almost over, and people are starting to move on to the next thing...and you can tell it was a good time.

    Why did I come late?

    On the other hand, reading The Lives of Tao could also be compared to the first of a multicourse meal. Sure, you arrived late, and you had to scarf down the first course as quickly as you could because the second and third courses were already at the table, but it was delicious, and the others only look better, so who are you to complain? Sure, t would have been nice to have arrived on time, but you're at the table now, and the other courses look fantastic and smell great, so, why complain? You get to have your cake and eat it!

    Okay, so the metaphor is a stretch, but here's the point (and the blurb, if I had found The Lives of Tao way back in 2013 when it was published):

    "The Lives of Tao is an exciting origins story, one part alien invasion, one part international espionage, and all parts awesome."

    Indeed. The Lives of Tao is a blast to read. Wesley Chu hits all the beats at the right points to craft an exciting story with few ebbs and lots of flows. While his characters don't over burden you with too much "feel," Chu develops them sufficiently to feel something, and it's easy to cheer for the heroes and howl at the villains.

    Chu is up for the Campbell this year, his second year of eligibility, and while I've not read the sequels to The Lives of Tao, I'm looking forward to pulling them out soon. He writes well and has a fertile imagination, and I look forward to what happens next in the shadow war between Genjix and Prophus and their impact on humanity.
  • (2/5)
    This book has a very interesting premise: Amorphous aliens crash-landed on Earth millions of years ago, and being unable to survive our atmosphere, they must inhabit a terrestrial host in a symbiotic relationship. They began with dinosaurs, and gradually worked their way up the evolutionary chain to humans, whom they are grooming to develop space travel which can take them home. Most of the greatest figures in human history were sharing their body with an alien who was guiding their progress. About 500 years ago, a war broke out between two factions of aliens, which still secretly rages today. The latest host? Roen Tan, an overweight, video-game-playing, cubicle monkey.

    Sounds great right? Well… not so much. Roen is a whiny, thoroughly unlikeable character, and the author spends far too long on the process of turning him into a fifth-rate James Bond. When they make this into a movie they will probably condense all this into a training montage with an inspirational song playing in the background. Yes, I think this will be a movie. There are too many shoot-outs, car chases, black helicopters, private jets, hot girls and whiz-bang spy toys for a filmmaker to resist. To be perfectly honest - after about 300 pages, I was too bored to finish.

  • (4/5)
    Roen is an obese programmer, unhappy with his life, when he is unexpectedly joined by a symbiont. Now he must learn martial arts in order to save the world from the symbiont's fellow aliens. Lots of history is reinterpreted, and there are lots of witty remarks. Nitpick: Being a software developer, I would have liked seeing Roen use his professional expertise, too.
  • (4/5)
    Funny, intelligent, diverse science fiction. Even better, it takes place in Chicago. Loved it.
  • (4/5)
    The Lives of Tao is a thought-provoking read. The Quassing, an alien race that was shipwrecked on Earth millions of years ago, inhabits animals or humans in order to sustain their own life which is not viable on Earth’s atmosphere. Their hope is to transcend technological advancements through mankind so that one day they can return home. However, over the years conflict has arisen and split the race into two fractions, the Prophus and the Genjix. Tao is a Prophus Quassing whose human host dies in the beginning and is in desperate search for a new host when his path crosses that of Roen Tan and he enters his body becoming partners until upon Roen’s death. Roen is not the most suitable for the lifestyle that is about to be placed upon him and Tao has his work cut out. Together they work through their differences and go on to fight the Genjix in several encounters. The book is about finding self-confidence, having courage to stand up for what you believe is right, and knowing what you are living for.
  • (3/5)
    People require meaning. Indeed, we so crave meaning that we devote much of the human enterprise to generating it, whether in the form of religion, or politics, or (and especially) fiction. What can fiction tell us? In the case of Wesley Chu's 2013 sci-fi novel The Lives of Tao, we learn that individual happiness can only be achieved by having a cause. And possibly by mastering a martial art. The Lives of Tao tells the story of Roen Tan, a schlubby, unhappy, Chicago-based engineer. After a lonely night at a club, and while vomiting out of the door of his car, Roen is unwittingly inducted into a worldwide extraterrestrial war. Humanity is not alone: Quasings, a gaseous alien race, have been stranded on Earth since the age of the dinosaurs. Unable to exist for long in Earth's atmosphere, Quasings are able to survive by entering a living "host," be it rodent, chimpanzee, or sad, chubby human. Unfortunately for Tao, the recently-evicted Quasing who takes refuge in Roen, his new host is a mess. But there's a war on, so Tao gets to work. Extraterrestrial symbiotic buddy dramedy!As Roen and the reader learn, Quasings have been trapped on earth for millions of years, using animal life as hosts. When the first hominids appeared, Quasings saw their opportunity, and stepped in to direct evolution. One can only imagine the rictus of fear on the face of the first australopithecus to be inhabited by a wise and ancient cloud of sentient gas.With the development of modern man, the Quasing realized that they now had a being capable of devising ever more advanced technologies, which presented them the (very) long-term possibility of finding a way home. Convinced that conflict drove human technological advancement, Quasings meddled with abandon, fostering discord throughout human history. In the wake of the Black Death, a small group of Quasing, calling themselves Prophus, determined that they should coexist with their human hosts and promote peace. The Prophus oppose the Genjix, those Quasings who believe that humanity is a mere means to their end. Roen is a bit player on a drama the timescale of which he can't even imagine.Chu does an admirable job of presenting his scenario to readers without overwhelming them. The Lives of Tao opens with an action-oriented prologue that grabs the reader's attention and introduces Tao, who is clearly not a familiar life form. Tao's decision to wait to introduce himself to Roen serves to further ease the reader into the plot: The reader learns about Roen (and his many weaknesses), and Chu uses the opportunity to explain the back story to the reader by positioning it as Tao speaking to his new host. It's a very clean and clever way to orient the reader.The book's structure is its weakest point. The Lives of Tao is an action-oriented story with dashes of humor. It is not comedic: The sobriety of the climax and ending belie that. Still, Chu writes the first third of the book from a comedic viewpoint. The joke is on Roen, to whom Tao serves as drill sergeant and counselor. Readers will enjoy Roen and Tao's exchanges as the latter harangues the former about getting shape, standing up for himself at his job, and so on. This portion of the novel is more lighthearted. Chu also shares extensive background about the Quasing sojourn on Earth. Readers will want more.Unfortunately, Chu treads more traditional territory in the remainder of the book, which is mostly action. Finally trained, Roen begins to go on Prophus missions, one of which leads to some soul searching before he returns to the fold. Chu ends The Lives of Tao with an extensive action sequence and neatly positions it for a sequel.Quibbles about structure aside, Chu poses interesting questions about human agency at both the individual and collective levels. Roen won't quit the job he hates. His colleague tells him to do something about it, to go to law school. Roen balks. It's only later, with Tao on board, that Roen finds the willpower necessary to improve his life. He eats right and works out. He stands up to his boss. He asks out his cute coworker. In the book, of course, Tao is an intelligent alien life form giving Roen a kick in the pants. But perhaps Tao is really that part of the mind that tells you to try something different. Chu seems to be saying to the reader that, if you don't like something, it's up to you to do something about it. For those of us who aren't locked into impossible circumstances, there are choices to be made. You can take the safe route, like Roen, or you can change things. It might not be pleasant, it might not be easy, but it's probably better than suffering in silence. Diagnosing Roen's unhappiness, Tao tells him, "You are causeless."Those existential questions occur at the "species" level, too. What is the human enterprise all about? Is human history really just the story of war punctuated by all-too-brief periods of peace? Is there a common narrative to our history? The Genjix position, that war is necessary for evolution, seems almost to mirror certain theories that humans evolved only to better perpetuate the "virus" of DNA, or the assertions of some neuroscientists that humans lack free will, that we are simply acting out, based on received stimuli, the actions programmed into us. This is all to say that there is more going on in The Lives of Tao than it would first appear. The Lives of Tao isn't a "big idea" book. It is light on science-fiction; don't read it expecting a serious exploration of the implications of this or that science. Chu, a martial artist (and former stuntman!) is firmly focused on telling an action-oriented story. There are guns. There are explosions. Still, The Lives of Tao is far from shallow in its examination of human motivation and agency. Recommended for more casual sci-fi readers who enjoy action and a touch of comedy.
  • (4/5)
    Useless fatty I.T. guy becomes a super agent. Classic hero tale borrowing from all action classics, from Matrix to James Bond to whatnot. That being said, it is entertaining, funny and difficult to turn down.Action without bit pretensions to have a good time. Can be an good travelling companion.
  • (3/5)
    Very interesting concept. I really enjoyed the interweaving of history, modern conflict, thriller, sci-fi and more. However, it was a little predictable overall. I am going to read the second book to see if the writer has advanced the concept to a more interesting level.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would because of the funny dialogue between Tao and his "body". The historical references at the beginning of each chapter got mundane and boring and you saw the ending coming a mile away, but still an enjoyable read.
  • (3/5)
    The book has a great premise that quickly devolves into a fairly standard spy/thriller type story. I wanted this to be better, but ended up unimpressed.
  • (4/5)
    What a fun book!Part spy thriller, part science fiction, part (older) coming of age story, The Lives of Tao follows the evolution of slacker Roen after he's merged with an aline being named Tao. Tao has spent thousands of years among humans and cultivated many of the great leaders throughout history, including Genghis Khan. Roen is definitely more of a fixer-upper. The man hates his IT job, has zero confidence, and an excuse to avoid any kind of difficulty in life. Slowly, Tao begins to change him. On a writing level, I love how Chu handled this. This kind of change in a character could be really boring, especially when it takes place over months and involves realistic spy work that is often dull and monotonous. Not so here. The book never ceased to be fascinating.
  • (3/5)
    This is a readable, competent middle-of-the-road first novel, enjoyable as a diversion.In concept, the book is a tribute to / follower of Hal Clement's Needle, with the glaring difference that the aliens in this world have a long history and are much greater in number. Accordingly, the book has the traits of an espionage / thriller rather than those of a detective story.Chu avoids the mistake of making his aliens, or the hosts which they inhabit, superhuman; the only real advantage the aliens have is their greatly extended lifespans and (at least for most of their history) the considerably greater scientific knowledge they have compared to humanity. Converting the main character to an effective agent requires work and time, and that conversion makes up the bulk of the novel.Chu missed a number of opportunities which might have moved the book above a solid three stars. Despite its use of thriller tropes, which normally accompany a plot-driven novel, there is remarkably little tension for most of the story; and the background of the main character, Roen, is at best sketched in and has no significant impact on his story. (He's a programmer, but at no time does he betray the least trace of systems knowledge -- this despite the fact that a significant subplot involves the need to deal with hacking incursions by the other side into secure systems. I mean, yes, we understand that he drifted into development without really caring about it, and that he's employed as a mid-level drone in a cubicle farm, but he still comes off as a remarkably sparse palimpsest for Tao to write over. ) Tao's past "lives" are equally gestured to and not made convincing at a show (as opposed to tell) level.
  • (3/5)
    Star rating systems frustrate me... am I supposed to give it stars based on how good it is, or how much I liked it? Because this is, in a lot of ways, a bad book... but I had a lot of fun reading it. So for quality, it gets two stars, but for enjoyment, it gets four.The book is about an alien race that has been controlling humanity since the dawn of time. The aliens live inside the mind of a human host, and the human and alien communicate inside the human's head. Tao, an alien, needs to find a host in a hurry, and ends up inside Roen, your typical loser overweight programmer with no social skills. The aliens are fighting a war among each other using humans, and Tao has to hurry up to turn Roen into a secret agent really fast so he can help fight this war.The story is fun, but this is one of those books that you can't think about very hard, because there are lots of internal inconsistencies (if Roen spends all of his spare time playing video games, why does he have such horrible eye-hand coordination?), and in places the writing is just downright poor. I recommend reading this book fast when you don't have anything better to do, like when you're sick or on an airplane.
  • (4/5)
    Review to come. Review will be live on the blog on June 16th, but here it is here!


    Another winner from Angry Robots publishing house! What a great book! Almost makes you believe that it could all have been true and is STILL true. So many historical figures that Tao has influenced and made fantastic through possession and talking to the person, from Ghengis Khan to Mau to Roman emperors. We all know them from our history lessons. And that's why Tao's tales fit so perfectly and capture the reader with that sense of wonder, that sense of possibility. What if thye really DID have something to do with all of the leaps and bounds that we humans have made? Would knowing it all change how we feel about these Quasings? Would we feel manipulated and used or will we human beings take it in stride? In this story, they did direct many aspects of our evolution!

    If Quasings have not interfered would we sill be back in the caves and have not the foggiest idea of the technologies of the day that we are so dependent on? Would we be writing on cave walls instead of our Facebook walls?

    The reader can easily empathize to the protagonist, Roen Tan and his experiences with the Quasings. He is the every man, at the bottom/in a rut as many of us can sympathize with having been there (or currently are there) ourselves.: work, the bar, home. These mundane every day living routines help us connect with him and feel everything that he experiences. He is human and therefore he is us. Roen is of good character, too, remaining his humble self even after his conversion. This, at least to me, makes him even more likable. And Tan, his Quasing partner, is similar in character, making it easier to accept that he is hitching a ride in Roen. I couldn't help but cheer them on as they fight the bad guys, the "evil" ones who really do not care what happens to the human race so long as they get the things out of them (humans) that they need.

    It is really fantastic how the author, Chu, incorporates the historical milestones within the context of the Tao's lives. I found it believable! THIS COULD ALL BE TRUE. Haha. What would we do if we knew? If I had to describe this book to someone in a few short words, I would use: imaginative, enjoyable, wondrous.