The Deaths of Tao is a continuation of everything that was done right in Lives of Tao. Action, suspense, humor, and yes, plot as well. It jumps in several years after Lives of Tao ended. Roen is no longer the overweight bumbling new host that entertained us in the first book. But that does not mean he is any less entertaining. Roen is now at a minimum competent, and actually excels in some areas.
Unfortunately family life is not an area he excels at. This book brings Roen’s emotional struggle as he copes with his failed marriage to Jill (In between the two books, they got married: yay! But they also separated: boo!). Roen has been a slave to Tao’s missions, torn away from his family, who he longs to rejoin.
Jill has not had it much easier. She has been coping with two full time jobs (her job on the Hill as well as her job with the Prophus) in addition to being a single parent since Roen has been absent (did I mention they also had a kid between the two books? Yay?)
Deaths of Tao puts Roen in the hot seat, forces him to put his family aside, so he can save the world as we know it from an evil (or is it dastardly?) Genjix plan uncovered from his time spent running on missions for Tao.
Speaking of Tao, we get plenty of great interplay between Tao and Roen again. While Roen may not be as inept as he was initially, Tao still manages to put him in his place and keep his ego in check. Roen is the type of character I just can’t help but love. He is really good at some things, but not perfect and certainly does not have an ego. And his devotion to his family, even if he has not been around, is yet another endearing quality. And I need to mention, Roen has some emotional struggles leaving his family behind, but with those struggles, comes, of course: Action! Suspense! And everything else that can get your adrenalin going.
Deaths of Tao introduces us to a new player in the game as well. Enzo is on the Genjix side, a product of their Hatchery program designed to churn out genetically superior vessels for the Quasing. He is bringing a new level of fight to the game and pushing things forward faster and harder than previous Genjix. To say he is a bit of a power happy egotistical prick might be an understatement. But he certainly does keep things interesting.
We also get better backstories for some of the Quasings, which I really enjoyed. The way the Quasing history is tied together with history that we know is a fun aspect of these books.
So, all in all, this is another great book by Chu. It has plenty of action, it has plenty of humor, and plenty of plot. It’s all very well balanced. Also, I don’t think this very often, but these books seem like they would also make awesome movies. I’d love to see Roen on big screen.
AND THE ENDING!!!! I love the ending. That’s all I can say. Well, except read the book so you know what I’m talking about!
The Deaths of Tao will be released Oct. 29th by Angry Robot Books. Many thanks to the Angry Robot and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.