Born: September 23, 1976 in Taipei, Taiwan
B.A. – Management Information Systems, University of Illinois
Thriller Sub-genre: Sci-fi/Technothriller
Publisher: Angry Robot
Future of the Series: Wesley Chu wrote the Lives of Tao series as a trilogy which is complete, however, he is writing a follow-up series called the Rise of Io which is part of the world of Tao and the first book, The Rise of Io, was released on 10/4/16.
The Simon Review
Now that the next presidential campaign is in full swing and the debate shenanigans are at their best, haven’t you ever wondered if maybe our political leaders are possessed by aliens? Well according to Wesley Chu’s the world of Tao series, that maybe possible.
Photo from All Day
The Tao, in this case, isn’t about philosophy or idealism but instead is the name of a member from an alien race known as the Quasing. The Quasing accidently inhabited Earth when their ship crashed millions of years ago, long before Homo sapiens walked on the planet. In order to survive in our atmosphere, the Quasing had to take refuge within living specimens. Until humans came along, the Quasing could not interact with each other, but once they started using humans as hosts, they started making plans on eventually returning to their home planet. The Quasing felt in order to get humans to quickly evolve to the point where they would be technologically capable of assisting them to journey back to their home base, they needed to manipulate them into becoming a warring species. One Quasing eventually decided that the manipulation of humans that resulted in their own destruction was immoral and should be stopped. That Quasing was Tao and he tries to persuade his fellow Quasings to follow suit. But not all Quasing agreed with Tao and two factions formed, the Prophus ‘the anti-war group’ and the Genjix ‘the pro-war group’. This resulted in a battle between the two groups with humans in the middle which went on for centuries. So this leads us to the beginning of the series.
In the beginning of the Lives of Tao, Tao’s host is killed in a skirmish between the Prophus and the Genjix and Tao desperately must find a new host before he dies. The only human within access is a portly IT technician known as Roen Tan. Tan and Tao are now a symbiotic unit and Tao must now whip the reluctant Roen Tan into battle ready shape, which turns out not to be easy and the story goes on from there.
Chu has created a delightful and wonderfully geeky series. Full of martial arts, weaponry, and plenty of wicked action, it will truly please any thrill seeking fanatic. The relationship between Tao and Roen Tan is the highlight of this series as these two seemingly mismatched individuals, intimately entwined, lends to some hilarious as well as touching moments.
Wesley Chu is in the process of creating a new follow-up trilogy entitled the Rise of Io which is based off of the Lives of Tao series, and since the two series are closely related, I will be reviewing those books as they come out. The Lives of Tao series is written as a trilogy and should be read in order.
Most Favorite Novel in the Series- The Lives of Tao- because Roen Tan’s evolving into a hardened warrior was very entertaining
Least Favorite Novel in the Series- The Deaths of Tao- which is a difficult choice because I like all the books in the series, but I would have to say this is the least memorable of the series.
What about the science? The series is considered a techno-thriller/science fiction hybrid but there really isn’t much discussion of any real science. Chu does have some educational points about historical figures that are quite interesting, especially about Genghis Khan.
The Tao Technical Word in Review: Osmium-is derived from the Greek word for ‘smell’ which is appropriate for one of the compounds of osmium, osmium tetroxide, which has been said to have a distinctive ozone-like or chlorine-like smell. Osmium is element number 76 on the periodic chart and is the densest stable element. It is also the rarest stable element and can be found either in its elemental form or as an alloy. The vast majority of osmium is mined in South Africa, Russia, and Canada.
Osmium tetroxide is the most commercially useful form of osmium. One of its most significant uses is as biological stain for electron microscopy because of its ability to react with biological compounds without disruption in structural integrity of a cell and to introduce an electron dense atom to facilitate electron scattering which provides contrast in the image. Because it readily binds to biological material, it is quite toxic and even small amounts of exposure can result in death. Because of its extreme toxicity, there has been concern about its use as a weapon but its scarcity as well as its cost makes that highly unlikely.
“They do refine a specialized Osmium Quintoxide that is only available from a military plant in North Carolina. I think this could be what we’re after.”
“That is one of the primary compounds in Quasar’s atmosphere,” Paula added. “Yen, can you and Tao get eyes on the material and retrieve a sample? It could go a long way to cracking this secretive Phase III.”-The Deaths of Tao
Osmium Quintoxide or more likely would be called Osmium pentoxide is totally fictional and does not exist, at least in this universe, because the electron configuration of osmium doesn’t allow it to be possible.
Books in the Series by Order:
Most Favorite in the series: The Rebirths of Tao with a score of 4.15
Least Favorite in the series: The Lives of Tao with a score of 3.77
Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing, and Amazon (US & UK)
The Lives of Tao Trilogy
Winner of the 2014 Alex Award
Listed #252 out of 549 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List
Listed #59 out of 168 on Goodreads Best Science Thriller Book List
The five most egotistical personalities in history.
Roen Tan/Tao: IT technician turned Prophus warrior whose quasing is Tao
Sonya Lyte/Baji: Roen’s main trainer whose quasing is Baji
Jill Tesser: Roen Tan’s love interest
Sean Diamont/Chiyva: Genjix leader and his quasing Chiyva
Jacob Diamont: Sean’s son
Marc Kenton: Prophus turned Genjix
Antonio Desilarez: Roen Tan’s roommate
Paula Kim/Yol: The Keeper, head of the Prophus
Dylan: An Australian that is one of Roen Tan’s mentors
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…
Looking for a review of The Lives of Tao? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.18 out of 5 stars based on 232 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 3.92 out of 5 stars based on 24 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars based on 4,760 ratings
Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.40 out of 5 stars based on 22 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.61 out of 5 stars based on 111 ratings
Total Score 3.77 (updated 4/2/16)
The lone black car slunk through the dark, unlit streets, a ghostly shadow creeping past the decrepit warehouses and abandoned storefronts along the South Capital at the outskirts of Washington, DC.
Roen Tan/Tao, Jill Tesser/Baji, Paula Kim/Yol, Jacob Diamont, and Dylan
Marco/Ahngr: Prophus agent and his quasing
Enzo/Zoras: Genjix host and quasing, leader of the Genjix within an Adonis host.
Cameron: Roen’s son
Washington, D.C., Taiwan, China
The Prophus and the Genjix are at war. For centuries they have sought a way off-planet, guiding humanity’s social and technological development to the stage where space travel is possible. The end is now in sight, and both factions have plans to leave the Earth, but the Genjix method will mean the destruction of the human race.
That’s a price they’re willing to pay.
It’s up to Roen and Tao to save the world. Oh, dear…
Looking for a review of The Deaths of Tao? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.28 out of 5 stars based on 105 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.38 out of 5 stars based on 8 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 3.91 out of 5 stars based on 1,957 ratings
Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.44 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.84 out of 5 stars based on 43 ratings
Total Score 3.93 (updated 4/2/16)
Listed #474 out of 549 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List
Listed #140 out of 168 on Goodreads Best Science Thriller Book List
Listed on Buzzfeed’s 24 Best Science Fiction Books of 2015
The problem Vladimir had with this damn country was that everything was too damn big.
Roen Tan/Tao, Jill Tesser/Baji, Paula Kim/Yol, Jacob Diamont, Dylan, Marco/Ahngr, and Cameron
Ontario, Oregon and Eureka, California
Many years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao. The world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War. A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale
With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too.
And you thought you were having a stressful day…
Looking for a review of The Rebirths of Tao? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.52 out of 5 stars based on 62 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.10 out of 5 stars based on 1,439 ratings
Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars based on 4 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.97 out of 5 stars based on 19 ratings
Total Score 4.15 (updated 4/13/17)
Nazar Savaryn was good at two things: mixing drinks and staying off of people’s minds.
Cameron Tan wouldn’t have even been in Greece if he hadn’t gotten a ‘D’ in Art History.
Instead of spending the summer after college completing his training as a Prophus operative, he’s doing a study abroad program in Greece, enjoying a normal life—spending time with friends and getting teased about his crush on a classmate.
Then the emergency notification comes in: a Prophus agent with vital information needs immediate extraction, and Cameron is the only agent on the ground, responsible for getting the other agent and data out of the country. The Prophus are relying on him to uncomplicate things.
Looking for a review of The Days of Tao? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 3.75 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 3.71 out of 5 stars based on 182 ratings
Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 2.72 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings
Total Score 3.67 (updated 10/25/16)
The Rise of Io Trilogy
Ella Patel loved metal brief cases.
Ella Patel – thief, con-artist and smuggler – is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants. The man freezes, leaving the woman to fight off five attackers at once, before succumbing. As she dies, to both Ella and the man’s surprise, the sparkling light that rises from the woman enters Ella, instead of the man. She soon realizes she’s been inhabited by Io, a low-ranking Quasing who was involved in some of the worst decisions in history. Now Ella must now help the alien presence to complete her mission and investigate a rash of murders in the border states that maintain the frail peace.
With the Prophus assigned to help her seemingly wanting to stab her in the back, and the enemy Genjix hunting her, Ella must also deal with Io’s annoying inferiority complex. To top it all off, Ella thinks the damn alien voice in her head is trying to get her killed. And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?
Looking for a review of The Rise of Io? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.33 out of 5 stars based on 37 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.33 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.06 out of 5 stars based on 350 ratings
Barnes & Nobel Rating: 2.33 out of 5 stars based on 4 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings
Total Score 4.06 (updated 4/13/17)