The Rise of IO Paperback – 4 Oct 2016
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"Years after a killer debut, Wesley Chu keeps leveling up. Storytelling that seems so effortless you never see the punches coming."
- Peter V Brett, NYT-bestselling author of the Demon Cycle series
-- Melinda Snodgrass, author of "The Measure of a Man," co-creator of the Wild Cards series "I'm in awe of this book. Ella Patel is a fantastic, flawed, sympathetic protagonist who pops off the page from the moment you meet her and leads you on a breathtaking adventure that is at once poignant and wondrous."
-- Ken Liu, Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy winning author of The Grace of Kings "Ella is a strong protagonist, scrappy & determined. You're going to love her!"
--Laura Lam, author of False Hearts "Damn, this is a great book. Wesley Chu may have created his best character yet with Ella - a scrappy, savvy street urchin, who he tosses into a world of hidden aliens, political maneuvering, and possible treachery. The Rise of Io is a fun, fast, beautifully written book that grabbed me on page one and didn't let me go."
-- Peter Clines, author of The Fold and the Ex-Heroes series
"A fun, rollicking adventure, with a unique and charming heroine. The Rise of Io
gives us a fresh look at the world of Campbell Award Winner Wes Chu's witty, action-packed, globe-trotting Tao series."
-- Ramez Naam, author of Nexus and the Philip K Dick Award-winning Apex
"Ella Patel of Crate Town is my favorite kind of hero, a young person struggling to survive on a diet of tough living and petty crime who gets swept up in world-spanning intrigue and danger. Wesley Chu's funny, confident writing never sacrifices good science fiction world-building for the sake of action. While the bullets fly and knife blades flash, Chu also gives us body-jumping aliens and poignant characterizations.
The Rise of Io is a fast and furious ride piloted by an author rising to the top of his field."
-- Greg Van Eekhout, author of California Bones "Wes Chu's meteoric rise to popularity isn't the least bit surprising. He's the freshest voice in science fiction since John Scalzi and James SA Corey, and is leading the charge to revitalize the genre."
-- Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops series "It's like Men in Black and Blade Runner had a baby, and it took over the world."
-- Dan Wells, bestselling author of the Partials novels and I Am Not a Serial Killer "With rich world-building, twisty politics and plot, plus some kick-ass leading ladies, The Rise of Io had everything I look for in sci-fi, and more. I loved this book!"
-- Susan Dennard, bestselling author of Truthwitch "Wesley Chu keeps getting better and better. Ella Patel is engaging and exciting, and her story grabs you by the front of your shirt and drags you along for one heck of a ride."
-- Diana Rowland, author of the Kara Gillian and White Trash Zombie series "An absolute blast of a book! With fresh characters, incredible world building, and buckets of humor, The Rise of Io is everything you want in a sci-fi novel."
- Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program series "In the end, this is an excellent novel, based off a core relationship between interesting, well-drawn characters, in a vivid environment. That it has enough chase scenes and hand-to-hand combat to start a movie franchise is just a bonus."
- Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews
"If you are at all interested in sci-fi, aliens, sci-fi military, or even street smarts versus military smarts, or just want a good read with great characters, pick up this book!"
- Blogger's Bookshelf
"Wesley Chu's ability to write fast-paced action, entertaining characters, and new plot twists is a thing to marvel at."
- Sarah Says Read "The Rise of Io is a must read for Tao fans."
- A Thrill A Week
"This is a fun, fast-paced, adventure slash science fiction... every time I read a bit, I finished with a smile on my face."
- Eric Christensen
"Great characters, twists, suspense and grins -- I dug this one so much. He keeps the magic of the Tao books, reinvigorates it and expands it. I expected Chu to deliver just what fans wanted without it being a case of 'second verse, same as the first, ' I just didn't expect it'd be this good."
- Irresponsible Reader
"Top to bottom...total FUN."
- Shelf Inflicted
"Fans of Cory Doctorow, Suzanne Collins and Meljean Brook will relish Chu's latest, a thriller with a sci‐fi bent."
- RT Book Reviews
"It puts awesome women in the lead roles; has a nicely diverse cast; and tells a story that's not only a thrill-a-minute, but focuses on some of the ugly truths about the world that need a bit more focus put on them, if only because they need to be fixed to make the world a better place. Even better, it all comes wrapped in a fun, sci-fi near-future thriller package... If the reader is hankering for a Black Widow movie, but with a healthy helping of representation of the kind we're unlikely to get from anything coming out of Hollywood right now, then this five-star book is going to scratch that itch."
- Fangirl Nation
"Ella might be one of my favorite fictional characters ever, I simply loved everything about her."
- The Speculative Herald
"Politics, changing loyalties, secrets, lies and high stakes - The Rise of Io has it all."
- Books, Bones & Buffy
"Wesley Chu manages to outdo himself here, and his universe is much better for it."
- The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
"I loved The Rise of Io - in fact I'm just going to be totally reckless ('fools rush in, something something something....') and say that this is my favourite Chu book to date. "
- Lynn's Books
"The Rise of Io is a masterclass in character development."
- Strange Alliances
"This book has EVERYTHING that I love! It's got action, it's got mischievous characters, it's got a fully developed world, it's got intelligent characters, and it keeps me guessing."
"Fresh, yet deep, science fiction... The book is a must read."
- Moore Fantasy
"The Rise of Io is a thrill-a-minute read comparable to the best summer blockbusters that any studio can produce."
- Occasionally Random Book Reviews
"Chu's stories of body-swapping aliens are both fun and funny."
- Kirkus Reviews
"It brings a fresh new perspective to a world and storyline I'm already familiar with and it does it with so much style, you can't help but smile in appreciation of the talent on display here."
- Fantasy Faction
"This is Wesley Chu building marvellously on his previously established setting, showing off a maturing style that was promised in the Tao books. It felt immensely satisfying to see that growth, not only in the story but in the writer, and it's left me thoroughly excited for the follow-up to this book."
- Over The Effing Rainbow "Sucks you in deep - four stars out of five."
- Rob Boffard - Rapped Reviews "A fun read with plenty of suspense and a real cliff hanger at the end. 5 out of 5 stars."
- Mixed Book Bag
"Exciting, fast-paced and thrilling, this is a great book!"
- Morpheus Tales "The Rise of Io is indeed a triumph, and whether you've read about Tao or if Io is your first Quasing, it's definitely in your own best interests to climb on board. Believe me, you're in for a fun ride!"
"It defies conventions while engages readers in hilariously heartfelt narration. I could not recommend this book more."
- Better Books and Things
"A great read. It was filled with all of the things I love in a book - action, sympathetic and interesting characters, political intrigue, a well thought out and believable setting, and enough humor to keep me chuckling, but not enough to pull me away from the seriousness of the adventure they were on. Like I said earlier, this book needs to be a movie."
- The Geekiverse
"Three things contribute to the success of this novel: an understated, occasionally snarky sense of humor, well-done action sequences, and strong character development."
- Publishers Weekly
"It was like reading a summer blockbuster in book form. And the banter was amazing! Chu definitely has a gift for writing hilarious and action-packed stories!"
- Goldilox and the Three Weres
"The author won me over with Ella, a feisty, street-smart heroine. Her snarky attitude and just as often, her bullheadedness became the high-point of this new series."
- Controlling the Transmissions "My worry with this book was that it was a case of an author not being able to let go of the universe they created even when there is no more story to tell. These are almost never good. Thankfully, this was 100% not the case here."
- Book Geeks Uncompromised
"The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu returns to Chu's world of Prophus and Genjix but with a new set of characters who are strong and wilful and a delight to read."
- Looking for a Good Book
About the Author
Wesley Chu was born in Taiwan and immigrated 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 SAG, 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. His debut novel The Lives of Tao was recognized with YALSA's Alex Award. 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.
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Io is an agent novel but the fact that it's about a "failed" quasing makes it more relatable.
I loved The Rise of Io – in fact I’m just going to be totally reckless (‘fools rush in, something something something….’) and say that this is my favourite Chu book to date. I don’t know whether that’s because we’re back in the world of Quasings, whether it’s because it’s a world I’m already familiar with or whether it’s the characters of Ella, Io and The Scalpel – or maybe simply a winning combination of all of those facts – but I loved it.
Firstly I would like to make clear that although this book takes us back to the world of Quasings this can definitely be started as a fresh series without the need to play catch up with the previous three books (The Lives/Deaths/Rebirths of Tao) – although, having loved those three books I do recommend them to you! That being said, knowing what it’s like starting a story already deeply behind I fully appreciate sometimes having a new place to start and so if you don’t enjoy playing catch up you could jump straight in with this one. Chu does a perfect job of laying out the basics of the world and the aliens that inhabit it and surprisingly, although I’ve read the previous books, this doesn’t come across as tedious in any way whatsoever – in fact I found the information really helpful after the break between books. Secondly, if you’re a little bit like I am – you’re maybe looking at these books and thinking, ‘mmm, sci-fi, not really my thing’ – if you are thinking that same thought let me just say that it would be a crying shame to miss these books for that reason. Of course the very idea of aliens is science fiction but these books are so very much more – thrillers, mystery, espionage, war and great characters.
Basically the world created by Chu is one in which aliens exist on our planet. Unfortunately the only way for the aliens to function is to co-habit a human body and therefore over the course of history these aliens have been responsible for many significant moments in our world’s development. Unfortunately, the Quasings are at war with each other – in brief, they all want to return home and the only way to do so is to help humans to advance in their capabilities in order to make that a possibility – but they disagree over the way in which to do this. Split into the Genjix and the Prophus the Genjix take a fairly ruthless approach to human existence and see people as necessary casualties of their ultimate aim. The Prophus are more sympathetic to humans and don’t wish to cause unnecessary harm. And so for years war has raged between the two.
At the start of the story we are introduced to Ella Patel. Ella lives in Crate Town and at the beginning of the story she’s in the throes of pulling off a con which leaves her running for her life when the gangsters she’s stealing from catch on! Of course Ella has lived in Crate Town for years and she knows the streets like the back of her hand. Pretty soon she finds herself, hidden in a dumpster, on the outskirts of town and playing witness to two characters who are themselves, similarly, being chased. The two, a man and a woman, are forced to defend themselves and when the man freezes Ella jumps in to help the woman as she fights alone. Unfortunately the woman dies and the Quasing that was inhabiting her body needs a new host – and chooses Ella. And so it begins. The process of denial and acceptance. The eventual realisation that Io’s mission is now Ella’s too.
In terms of plot this is the usual fast paced and intriguing storyline that I’ve come to expect from Chu. We have an element of mystery to the book. Why is Io, one of the Prophus, in India? This is an area that is predominantly Genjix and so it’s both dangerous and puzzling. It seems that the Genjix have taken over a large portion of the area and are using it for a top secret purpose. Heavily guarded by the military anybody who steps into the wrong part of town seems to mysteriously disappear. On top of this we seem to have a traitor amongst the Prophus and that, coupled with Ella’s inherent distrust of anybody else makes for very interesting reading.
Place. Well, we basically have a slum, where crates are stacked to create homes. This place is really not the sort of place that you’d like to wander into haplessly – even in the full light of day. Rough and full of thieves, conmen and gangsters one has to become tough to survive.
The characters are what made this so enjoyable for me, well, I say that, but also the writing which so easily brings them to life on the page and turns them into characters that you will care about. Obviously we have Ella. She is a wiry, tough little nut with a heart of gold. I love her – the way she’s always looking for an angle, her prickly exterior, the fact that her best friend and burglar alarm is a dog, the way she steps in to help others and watching her have her first ever crush! Compelling reading. Then we have her Quasing Io. Io has lead a very long life but not maybe one that is totally noteworthy! Io is a fairly low ranked Prophus who isn’t going to find Ella an easy person to control or persuade. Such a different angle to the Quasing in the last books that it was a refreshingly unexpected surprise. The banter and struggle between these two is just brilliant to behold . Then we have the Genjix. Known as Shura the Scalpel with a Quasing called Tabs – she is absolutely ruthless and very appropriately named. Cold, calculating and ambitious. The very qualities that are prized in a Genjix Adonis.
On top of all this the writing is wonderful. Chu is definitely smooth – there are no info dumps or flashbacks. With a few seemingly simple sentences he teases out his cast in a way that makes them spring to life, the same with the place. Literally, pages into this book and I was hooked.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I practically devoured in two bites and a finish that makes me wonder when the next book is due out?? No pressure Mr Chu.
I received a copy of this through Netgalley courtesy of Angry Robots for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.
While the set-up at first seems fairly simplistic (there's a good side and a bad side, and the Baddy Is Bad) it gets more complex later on. I admit I struggled a little to follow the twists, but that's more my not reading closely enough than any fault of the writing! Certainly it makes for some interesting action twists in the second half of the book. I liked Ella and the other characters are fun, nasty, interesting and attractive - Chu's writing is fun and the character descriptions definitely give you enough insight into the figures that surround Ella.
So overall, it's fun, action-filled, and worth a read if you like action sci-fi - I'm not sure if I'm going to pick up any of the others, but it was certainly a good recommendation!