- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
The Lives of Tao Mass Market Paperback – 30 Apr 2013
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A totally original sci-fi thriller that will have you hooked from page one with both riveting action and a sly wit. This is a story of human history, the hidden powers that have shaped it, and one man's transformation from complete nobody to a key fighter in the war for humanity's future."
- Ramez Naam, author of Nexus
Nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013 Finals for Best Science Fiction
Winner of the Alex Award for the American Library Association's 2014 Youth Media Awards
- Huffington Post
"Chu's good-natured adroitness with character development is matched by his thriller-style plotting, a fine blend of gentle humor and sharp suspense."
- Barnes & Noble Review
"If you want something to read on a plane or settle into over the weekend, this is the book you want to pick up. But like most great stories, there's a little more going on under the surface."
- SF Signal
"A science fiction story that is one part spy novel, one part buddy flick, one part comic book, one part eye-opener history lesson...among many other elements. Yes, it's a lot of parts, but they blend together quite well."
"Filled with non-stop action and brilliant asides on the history of our species, the book is sure to thrill and amuse."
- Ken Liu, Nebula Award winning author of The Paper Menagerie "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 and The Bookman Histories "In The Lives of Tao, newcomer Wesley Chu delivers an action-laced scifi thriller filled with clever ideas and witty, engaging characters. A thoroughly enjoyable ride."
- John Marco, Author of The Inhumans and The Tyrants And Kings trilogies "A fast-paced, high-action SF mix of Jason Bourne meets the Hero's Journey, jam-packed with dark conspiracies, wild romance, ancient aliens, and a secret, globe-spanning war. Loved it!"
- Matt Forbeck, author of Amortals and Hard Times in Dragon City "Just your usual 'I've got an immensely wise alien in my head who wants me to become and international man of mystery' story. Which is to say, a page-turning homage to other classic SF like Hal Clement's Needle. Recommended."
- Steven Gould, author of the Jumpers series "In Wesley Chu's debut novel you meet an unlikely hero in the form of Roen, an out-of-shape, self-loathing, under-achieving computer geek. He is soon transformed into a confident, lean, mean fighting machine under the guidance and influence of the ancient alien Tao, who has inhabited his body and is now working hard to get Roen in shape for an important mission - nothing less than to take on the Genjix and save the planet from an evil plot of destruction. This book is high-octane spy vs spy action with a sly sense of humor. Pure pleasure from beginning to end. Highly recommended!"
- Ann Vandermeer, Hugo winning editor of Weird Tales and British Fantasy Award winning publisher of Buzzcity Press "I would highly recommend this book to fans who like their espionage tinged with sci-fi, or vice-versa."
- Scott at Being a Big Sandwich
"I think The Lives of Tao was very well done and I will definitely keep my eye out for the next one. Between the humor and the originality of the story, I would certainly recommend reading it."
- Lisa at Wilder's Book Reviews
"The Lives of Tao marvelously casts all of war, science, politics, religion, and economics into a stark new light. It switches well between action-packed scenes and philosophical discussions about human nature and the pitfalls of manipulation, even guided by the best of intents."
- Josh at Examiner.com
"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."
- I Will Read Books
"We get the full sci-fi feeling combined with the spy genre without either side getting diluted or ignored. We get the full effect and in turn get a character we care about."
- Tome of Geek
"The whole "aliens-on-earth-inhabiting-human-bodies" plotline has been done more than once, but not like this. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. "
- Geeky Library
"There's plenty here to enjoy. Chu choreographs vivid action scenes, he injects humor seamlessly into dialogue, and he makes the world-building fun. Chu had all of history at his disposal, after all, and he took full advantage."
"This doesn't seem like Chu's first book, he writes with panache, skill and confidence. His action scenes feel authentic, his world is intricate and believable, and he tells his story in a compelling manner that keeps you turning pages."
- The Irresponsible Reader
"Wesley Chu's Lives of Tao is one of those military science fiction novels that isn't afraid to have some fun in between the action scenes, or during them for that matter. Like John Scalzi (Old Man's War) or Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International) Chu manages to deliver a tense and thrilling plot while not getting bogged down in heavy and hard science."
- Serial Bookseller "The Lives of Tao exceeded my expectations. I didn't know beforehand if this would be a good fit for my reading mood, but the combination of relatable and likable character in Roen with the deep but not overwhelming worldbuilding in the secret alien war and finally the cool spy action all made this one of my new favorite series. I hear it keeps getting better, so I'm excited for continuing on with The Deaths of Tao and The Rebirths of Tao. I enjoyed the audiobook narration so much, I'd really like to continue in that format."
- Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing (Audiobook Review)
"With a rewarding conclusion, The Lives of Tao is a highly recommended read from Angry Robot."
- T Bird Studios
"Such a fun, action packed, humor filled read."
- Purple Owl Reviews
About the Author
Wesley Chu was born in Taiwan and emmigrated to Chicago, Illinois when he was just a pup. It was there he became a Kung Fu master and gymnast.Wesley is an avid gamer and a contributing writer for the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. A former stunt man and a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he can also be seen in film and television playing roles such as "Banzai Chef" in Fred Claus and putting out Oscar worthy performances as a bank teller in Chicago Blackhawks commercials. Wesley is a 2014 Alex Award winner for his book The Lives of Tao. He is a 2014 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Besides working as an Associate Vice President at a bank, he spends his time writing and hanging out with his wife Paula Kim and their Airedale Terrier, Eva.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book starts with a James Bond type action scene in which one man dies and as he takes his last breath the alien entity that lived within him is released and seeks the shelter of a new host. By way of background: many, many years ago aliens crash landed on the planet earth and unable to survive without a host eventually settled on humans. Their ultimate aim is to return home yet during their time here the group of aliens have become divided over the treatment of humans and civil war has ensued. The Genjix are the more powerful of the two groups of aliens. They believe that humans are little more than a means to an end – to get off the planet. The Prothus on the other hand want to protect humans and the planet – they pretty much also want to get off planet but think this can be achieved in a more balanced fashion.
In terms of the alien/host relationship. When an alien takes over a human the two remain in symbiosis until the death of the host – in fact this is the only way for the alien to be released. In that respect humans are groomed from an early age training for the day when they might be deemed worthy to become a host.
The names of the two main characters in the story are Tao (the alien) and Roen (his host). Roen is an unsuspecting and pretty much unwilling host. He’s not ready for this experience and takes a lot of training to get anything up to a standard where he can keep himself alive even! Tao is a very interesting character and shares some of his prior history at the start of each chapter which makes for quite intriguing reading.
I’m not really going to elaborate on the plot but more outline what worked for me with this story.
Firstly, it’s actually good fun. The dialogue between Roen and Tao is amusing to say the least. Chu really set this up well by finding two such opposite characters.
Secondly, I really like the idea that for once the central protagonist is not really ‘the chosen one’. Roen is an unfit, nerdy, tongue tied, computer geek who’s idea of a good time is a big greasy pizza oozing with cheese and a couple of beers. He doesn’t have an inner ninja waiting to break out and frankly even when he has trained hard he’s still no hardass-butt-kicking hero. He frequently fumbles his gun or goes into a complete paralysis stuck like a rabbit in the headlights at the first sign of danger. I just find it really refreshing to have a relatively normal guy. I’m not saying he’s the most easy to like character I’ve ever read because frankly he can be a bit whiney but he feels real with all his flaws.
Thirdly, I like the main concept of the aliens who are really a little like body snatchers – okay, they don’t kill the human or make another version when they inhabit but let’s face it – the only way you’re going to be released from this situation is if you meet the Grim Reaper.
Fourthly, the pacing is fast and there’s plenty of action.
I’m not going to deny that I had a few niggles and conflicting feelings when reading – like, the war between the aliens, I’m not really convinced by it. At the end of the day none of the aliens actually ever seem to die – they just jump ship. The only real casualties are the humans which is kind of ironic given that the Prothus are warring with their kind in order to protect people from mistreatment. I also wasn’t convinced that under the circumstances so many humans would be on side ready to devote or even sacrifice themselves for the alien cause – particularly when ultimately the aliens want to leave. Where on earth would that leave the humans – the aliens after all seem to have been the main instigators of our entire history not to mention the main catalyst for inventions. And, when the aliens are eventually in a position to leave – well, how they going to get out of the bodies that are hosting them??? That’s not going to end well for the hosts methinks. I don’t see what the humans get out of the relationship other than a complete lack of privacy from the moment they become a host to the moment of their quite often untimely death? Not that there’s much you can do about it anyway – you’re not exactly asked for consent before your body is taken over.
But, in spite of my niggles or questions I did really enjoy this and I can’t wait to see where it leads next. Like I said it’s a whole bunch of fun and a little whirlwind of a book where the pages just speed by. Providing you don’t want to scrutinise the detail to an nth degree this is a very enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend.
Overall I'd recommend this book to anyone, not just sci-fi fans, as it's well-written, with interesting characters. It reminds me of a cross between Robert Rankin's Barry the time sprout and Doctor Who, if the doctor could only survive by inhabiting other people's bodies.
I will definitley look for the follow up.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Life is full of surprises. One day, you could go to a bar and strike out with meeting anyone interested in you.Read more
I found the main character (or possibly, given the nature of the plot, I...Read more