Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Deaths of Tao

The Deaths of Tao (Tao, #2)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!

Beyond Dinocalypse

Beyond Dinocalypse (Dinocalypse Trilogy, #2)Beyond Dinocalypse by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the events of Dinocalypse Now, Jet Black, Professor Khan, Amelia Stone, Atok, and Benjamin Hu find themselves flung decades into the future, the far away year 2000 where the psychosaurs have taken over the world. What has the passage of time done to their allies in the Century Club? And can they find their way back to the past to fix the future?

Chuck Wendig continues his rampage of pulp awesomeness with Beyond Dinocalypse, the second and superior volume in the Dinocalypse Trilogy. If dinosaurs invading 1935 Manhattan was bad, the result of their conquest is a thousand times worse. The remaining Centurions are holed up beneath Manhattan, working with the former enemies The Walking Brain and Doctor Methusaleh just to survive. Humanity have been reduced to cattle, harvesting the mind-controlling fungus that gives the psychosaurs their power. And Sally Slick isn't how you remember her at all...

Beyond Dinocalpse took everything I enjoyed about Dinocalypse Now and turned the knob up to 11. The world is overrun, good guys aren't as good as they used to be, and it's up to a small band of heroes to turn things around. What's not to like?

BD focuses on a slightly different group of heroes and turns them loose. Benjamin Hu and Amelia Stone got some much needed action and Jet Black and Professor Khan are finally stepping up and becoming the heroes they were always meant to be. Aside from Jet and Khan, the best parts were seeing how far the mighty have fallen. Never expected to see Sally Slick boozing it up and wearing an eyepatch.

Even the prose was better than in the first volume. A more forward thinking reviewer would have highlighted things or wrote them down for sharing later but I couldn't be bothered to stop long enough to write things down. Or shower.

As you can tell, Beyond Dinocalpse really stimulated my literrogenous zones. When you add a dystopian future to the chaotic pulp stew that was Dinocalypse Now, you get an unstoppable force of pulp perfection. 4.5 out of 5 toothsome stars!

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