15 December 2013

Books: The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu (2013)


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.

By far, The Deaths of Tao outshines its predecessor. Partly because most of the World Building that author Chu need setting up took place in the first book; this enables the story to hit the ground running.  Also, this is a deeper realized book, even though at times I felt there was too much downtime between the action set pieces. 

Chu has also created a good villain in the form of Enzo (with his Zoras Genjix). He’s basically every James Bond body guard to main Bad Guy–big, muscled, blond (or as they’re called Adonis Vessels) - but with a brain. And the human character is so arrogant and so consumed with what he’s trained to be since birth, you often times just wanted to slap the SOB for being so rash (which is a nice departure from fictional villains –he acts more than talks).

Unlike the first book, where we basically got only Roen and Tao’s point of view, this book opened the world to other viewpoints (plus, three years have passed since The Lives of Tao, which was a very interesting and creative way of setting up the back-story of Roen’s domestic issues coming into conflict with his duties to Prophus). But by doing this, we get a deeper and better view of how the Quasing’s have been influencing Earth’s past since the dawn of time. 

As noted, I do believe the book could’ve been whittled down a bit. Chu’s desire to show everything in great detail reminds me why I’ve put aside the George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones books –I get bored with all this ennui. I’m sure it’s important to the writer to show –in book form- how long training takes, but too much can slow down the book (even though I read this quicker than the first –but I admit I jumped around the page, finding stuff that I felt moved the story along).

Though, I’m guess, some find this detailed look into various martial arts history fascinating, I thought a time jump here and there would’ve made the story move even faster.

Finally, according to the author’s acknowledgements at the end of this book, The Death of Tao was moved from summer 2014 release to fall of 2013 due to the success of the first book. Which was great, because I could read them back-to-back, but does that mean book three will be out next summer or out in 2015? For me, such long delay between releases gives me a chance to move on to something else. And while I’m not the only reader on the planet, I am aging like an over ripe banana. I don’t have the time to wait and build that anticipation anymore. Next summer would be fine, but beyond that I may never want to read a book three if Angry Robot delays it until 2015.

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