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Review: The Lives of Tao by 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…

My thoughts

The Lives of Tao is one of those books that only take a couple of pages to convince me that I’m going to have a lot of fun reading it. And fun I had. This is probably the most creative story including aliens that I’ve read until today because this is so not your typical the-aliens-come-to-wipe-out-humanity story.

Roan, the main character, is quite the walking cliché to be honest. Overweight, completely dissatisfied with his job (and basically his whole life) but only always complaining, never changing anything and can’t get a word out when talking to a pretty woman. He might not be the most creative character brought to life, but I actually couldn’t imagine this novel working better with any other kind of character. He is the most unfit person for this you could find, and that makes the whole adventure pretty entertaining.

Two alien forces raging a war while just wanting to go back home, Earth their war zone, humans their playing pieces. The scenario that a alien is inside you and can not only talk to you in your head, but knows every. single. thought. is creepy af and I loved it. This is more than you average alien invasion story though. Add a James Bond kind of adventure to the mix. An agent prepared (and failing hard) for his first mission. It’s also, kind of, a history lesson on all those big names, men to be remembered. I LOVED the thought that humanity isn’t that messed up and that the aliens had their fingers in the pie and were the ones who messed up, caused even such events such as world wars.

This is also very much a story that makes you think about good and bad. These aliens do invade Earth, they do use humans as their hosts unasked, but considering their situation and their intentions, are they really the bad guys? I loved how this is a mayor theme throughout this book and that not only the humans but the aliens themselves too struggle with this.

The Lives of Tao is cleverly woven story, combining many great things and even if you’re not into stories about aliens, you might want to give this a try. Not so original, but witty, easy to get attached to characters, who make you laugh and root for them in a unique adventure where nothing is just black and white. 


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Aug 23, 2016