Review: The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu

November 11, 2013 4 stars, Book Review 9 ★★★★

The Deaths of Tao

The sequel to The Lives of Tao.

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…

I can firmly say that The Deaths of Tao outshines it’s predecessor. In The Lives of Tao, readers were treated to an alien spy somewhat thriller with quite a few humorous moments – but in The Deaths of Tao Chu manages to expound on the core concept of aliens having shaped human history and include so many other elements that just weren’t there in The Lives of Tao. Of course we still get all of the amazing humor, but truth be told, The Deaths of Toa was a deeper and more realized work of fiction.

Instead of being told from one view point we get several. This doesn’t always work out in other books but here it gave me all of the dynamic and pieces of the pie that I really needed to get immersed in this story. We get the perspective of several Quasing, which I definitely found fascinating. There were moments I wanted to reach into the pages and face punch some of these high and mighty know it alls! Mostly, I could not get enough of the egotistical maniac, *cough psychopath cough* Enzo – hot diggity I tell you, he was a well written character you’d love to hate. Jill was stubborn, strong and, in my opinion a bit hypocritical but definitely a great character. Roen will always be in my mind a dufus but with a heart in the right place and his mind on food.   At this point I have to mention – food! – I swear some of the moments in Deaths that had me chuckling dealt with food.

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“You know what I live about America? Your food. Now I know why you’re all so fat. You have the best food. It’s just too bad your tea is so awful.” -pg 85
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He sniffed the air as he passed by a particularly repugnant smelling stall.

“What is that?”

I believe the locals call it stinky tofu.

“Name certainly fits. Smells like road kill.”

It is supposed to be delicious. They say the stinkier it is, the better it tastes.

“Then that tofu must taste like filet mignon drizzled with cocaine. I guess that’s the first thing up to bat. I still haven’t met a delicacy I couldn’t stomach.” -pg 123

Something of extreme value that was superbly done, also happens to be my favorite element included in the book, and that was the short forwards at the front of each chapter. They served to tell the reader the background story of the Quasings, the alien race that crash landed on earth so many thousands of years ago. Because of these forwards I fully believe that The Deaths of Tao can be read without needing to read The Lives of Tao. Essentially, The Lives of Tao is Roen Tan’s origin story. While definitely a great addition to the series, seeing as it is the first book and all, it definitely won’t ruin things for readers if they skip right to The Deaths of Tao. while these two books manage to keep the same essence of voice from the writer and characters, Live and Deaths are so vastly different in the style they are told, the story they were telling and the depth to which they dig.

I am not kidding when I say The Deaths of Tao has a lot going for it, not to mention a lot going on. With the different perspectives, the alien factions in conflict, and the political and historical elements – there was literally never a dull moment. Normally, I am not fond of books that are heavy on political or historical points but the politics didn’t confuse me and the bits of history thrown in were awesome ways of highlighting how an alien race really could have been manipulating us over the centuries. A scary but a cool thing to consider. Genre fans will definitely not want to miss The Deaths of Tao.

Plus, free running? – so freaking cool – all I can say is I want to be a ninja!

Be sure to read my interview with the author, Wesley Chu!

The Deaths of Tao (Tao #2)

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• This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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9 Responses to “Review: The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu”

  1. Wendy Darling

    This series sounds intriguing, and it’s definitely rare to find a book two that outshines book one! It’s usually the opposite case. Glad to hear you enjoyed, Tabitha. 🙂

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Both were really great books! They were a real trip to think about, I think I just liked the direction he went with it in the second book so much….plus who doesn’t love when you get a really awesome villain thrown into the mix that you get to read from their perspective right!??

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Haha – I would definitely be interested to see what you think. What SF books have you read liked? I’ve read a fair number I think but I consider myself just recently starting to heavily get into them….well heavily for me – I still lean very far over into the fantasy books.

      • Pamela D

        I lean more towards the fantasy side of things too. Some more SF sorts of books that I like include Parasite, Newsflesh Trilogy, Ender’s Game (Ok, I don’t like the adults in this book, but the story itself is interesting), Foundation, Hyperion, and The Fall of Hyperion. I have a crazy excel sheet of book recommendations though. I am going to email that to you right now. I had a little too much time on my hands one week. 🙂
        Pamela D recently posted…Ho Ho Ho Read-a-Thon Wrap UpMy Profile

        • Tabitha the Pabkins

          Thanks I will definitely have to check this spreadsheet out! SF is good but sometimes it gets too heavy for me you know? I like light SF elements and I do love when they are in space. So I guess space opera? but only if it isn’t like overly technical.