The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Wesley Chu has recently added book #5, The Fall of Io, to the World of Tao series and the second book in the Io trilogy.
Wesley Chu has created a wonderfully entertaining series that features aliens known as the Quasing that crashed landed on Earth long be before humans walked on the planet. The only way for the Quasing to survive on planet Earth was to form a symbiotic relationship with living creatures. The Quasing have a considerably long life span and can move from one creature to another once their host dies. Eventually they would inhabit humans. Once they were able to form a relationship with humans, they realized they found an intelligent species that could help them to reach their goal of getting back to their home planet. But how the Quasing interacted with humans eventually split the Quasing into two factions; one that felt that their superiority to humans allowed them to treat humans as nothing more than a vessel to do their bidding. They convinced the humans that they occupied that they were special compared to other humans and that hosting a Quasing was akin to hosting a god. This faction is known as the Genjix. The other faction known as the Prophus, felt that the Quasing relationship with humans should be more of a cooperation and that humans should have a voice in this relationship. This has led to a war between the two factions with humans in the middle.
Io is a Quasing that doesn’t want to side with either the Genjix or the Prophus and surely does not want to be involved in a war. Io eventually occupies a very reluctant Ella Patel, a young Indian women who has spent most of her life trying to survive the slums of India. Io’s and Ella’s relationship is not very harmonious, but they try to make the best of it since Io cannot leave Ella unless Ella dies. One thing they can both agree on is that neither one wants to have anything to do with either the Genjix or the Prophus. So Io and Ella have sought refuge in the heart of Tokyo away from both the Genjix and the Prophus. But their life in Tokyo would be unfortunately disrupted only by the fact that Io’s original occupation among the Quasing was ‘Receiver’, and the Genjix needs Io’s unique abilities in order to communicate to the Quasing’s home planet. So two competing Genjix operatives are assigned to retrieve Io and Ella and the Prophus will do what they must to stop them. No matter what, Io/Ella are on the losing end.
Plenty of weapons, hand-to-hand combat and evil subterfuge makes The Fall of Io a must read for the die-hard Tao fan. Roen Tan makes an appearance and shows that even though he is collecting social security, he still has a bit of fight in him. I would say that this is not a standalone novel and would suggest at least reading the Lives of Tao and The Rise of Io beforehand.
To learn more about the series check out the World of Tao series.