The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's a few years after the events of The Lives of Tao and things have gone down hill. Roen and Jill have married, had a child, and separated. The war between the Prophus and the Genjix is reaching it's final moments and things don't look good for the Prophus. Can Roen and the rest of the Prophus stop the Genjix's plan to turn Earth into a duplicate of their homeworld, destroying humanity in the process?
I got this ARC from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!
War is a hell of a thing, especially when it's a war between two alien factions that have been using humanity as pawns for a millennium. That's pretty much the core lesson I took from The Deaths of the Tao. Picking up a few years after The Lives of Tao, things have changed and not for the better. While Roen is far from the fat IT guy turned secret agent of the first book, is life is an even bigger ruin. He's split with his wife, never sees his kid, and struggles to hold things together in the war with the Genjix.
I'll be honest, I wasn't completely sold on this one at first. Half the fun of the first book was Roen getting whipped into shape and now that he's actually competent, that was lost. However, I gave it time and was pretty entertained. The chemistry between Roen and Tao was still there, still amping up what could have been another bland secret agent thriller. The body count was a lot higher in this one and the bad guys were much badder.
The Genjix plot to turn Earth into a copy of Quasar and breed Quasing was pretty well done. Enzo and the others were scarily capable as far as bad guys go. Multiple last stands going on simultaneously made the last 20% or so really hard to put down.
Speaking of the last 20%, it was about that time that I realized Mrs. Chu's little boy wasn't going to be able to wrap everything up in this book like I originally thought. The ending was jaw dropping, to say the least.
While I didn't like this one quite as much as the first, it still managed to squeak into four territory. Yo, Chu, get crackin' on the next one!