What, this isn’t a featured writer? What’s going on?
Well- I am doing something new again! It’s all part of my 12019 plans to ruin your- I mean enhance your ABKstories experience! Since Featured Writer posts have required more careful planning than they used to, they have become a biweekly occurrence. And now you have entered the Reviewniverse! Every other Thursday you will be treated with a book that mushed up my brain- and by gods you will like it!
Now, listen to this:
(This is a reading of The Lives of Tao by Wesely Chu.I do not own nor do I claim to own any rights to the work of Wesley Chu. I also have not asked his permission to make this post- thus, the recordings I have made of this work are for reader interest only and are not intended as a claim of rights to the read work.)
In my blog last week I mentioned The Lives of Tao as a book that helped motivate me into turning my life around. I want books like this to impact more people’s lives, so welcome to the Reviewniverse!
I was first introduced to The Lives of Tao while couch surfing at my brother’s house in 12015. At the time I worked at Waly World, Had a 1.7 GPA and literally had all but given up on myself. My brother had just finished the book and handed me his copy. It sat there for a few weeks, as books do. And that’s around the time I quit drinking (for the second time) and decided find purpose in life- which I found… through YouTube…
After a hundred videos that told me I should read more and read better books I eventually sat down and picked up my own copy of Lives of Tao from the bookstore. This book shook me. I plowed through its pages like it was the snow in my driveway. For an easy read, and what could be for some a munchy, Chu pushed the limits of my understanding of what Sci-fi can be, and I commend him and his handsome face for that.
Let me tell you something about myself. I have always held value in a story that makes me sit back and think for a minute about the world I’m transported to. The writing doesn’t have to be good, it just needs the right detail- anything really- that causes me to think about the story when I’m not consuming it both in and out of context of its relationship and references to our own world.
Some of the worst books I’ve ever read and movies I’ve ever watched have given me this euphoria, but it is a special thing when I like the story too.
The Tao series, and the later sequel Io series have this ability.
The setting is a unique one, in which a non-corporeal Alien species survives a crash landing on Earth and is forced to live within the planet’s living beings (the only ‘atmosphere’ in which they can survive). These beings- the Quasing- eventually drive the evolution of humanity.
It’s an original take on an old concept. From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Star Trek Aliens have been parasites and possessors of human bodies throughout Science Fiction, but to think that a parasite could be useful to humanity is something I had (admittedly) never seen before taking a look at Chu’s work. Well aside from the babblefish…
The idea behind a work isn’t all that makes it special. To make a story worth reading a writer has to catch them with their writing too. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve put down just because a writer can’t catch me with their words. I’ve since learned to scream quietly to myself and then continue reading when the writing is bad, but that was not a lesson I had learned yet in 12016.
Wesley Chu’s strength is definitely in his world building, but his real key is in dialogue. His characters are openly sarcastic, vigorously entertaining, and my favorite thing- realistic. This is not the easiest thing for a writer to do, my main idea being that I often have to look at my own characters as if they aren’t me when I write their scenes. This is something great writers talk about often, George R.R. Martin talks about Sansa and Tyrion as being real people to him- and we know from Psychology that our minds perceive stories as actually happening when we consume them.
But knowing that doesn’t make it easy to write several characters who don’t reflect who the writer is as a person. I’m sorry but every time I write a Mama Moose and Papa Bear story I have to try as hard as I can to make Mama Moose be Mama Moose and not an ideal of what I believe Mama Moose to be. The same goes for Adebayo and Yuko, characters in my Work in Progress Adebayo’s End.
I have to commend Wesley Chu on this, it is a fascinating skill that takes a lot of practice, though you can still see a little into his character as a person through the characters in the Tao Series.
The next tip of the hat for Chu is that he somehow manages to give every character a set of believable flaws. He has some absolutely perfect characters in here that have inherent flaws that the main character can’t see, but the reader can. That is some masterful character building.
I’d be a liar if I said that these books are perfect. I love them, yes, but I believe Chu was rushed with these novels, and it shows. I don’t know if it was his editing or someone else’s, but typos frequently show up in my copies, sometimes they were so bad that I had to reread sections or simply didn’t understand at all what the intended wording was. I want you to know that despite their presence in no way did these typos take me away from the glory of these books. Every book has typos, and we should be proud that Chu was able to pour these out the way he did. Crap he wrote two of them in the amount of time it took me to write my still unfinished book!
It wouldn’t be a book review without a summary, and though I’m not sure exactly how much I agree with that. I’ll give it a go.
This is not just about the aliens, I mean it’s about aliens but it’s also about personal growth- and later inherited discipline verses learned discipline. (Wesley Chu, if I’ve missed the mark feel free to tell me how crappy my stories are).
It follows the story of Roen Tan, a lazy and overweight IT guy who wakes up one morning to find that he is now host to an alien that wants him to be a secret agent or else. My original thoughts of Roen were of an obese man covered in pizza stains, but he deserves more credit than that. I don’t want to give spoilers, but I will tell you that Roen does become a total badass, and he remains the best character throughout all three books, despite all of his naivety and growth.
That’s all I’ll do for a summary, I guess it is more of a long story pitch, but I’m tired of reviewers that basically tell you the entire plot of a book before you get the chance to read it. You’ll just have to pick up the book and see for yourself. You can find it at your local bookstore or online. I have provided some links for you for your convenience below.
I am not kidding when I say that this series helped motivate me into turning my life around- researching more into learning and mastering a specific craft and taking life in a more jovial attitude. Wesely Chu’s work is a level of Sci-fi that I aspire to reach, and I hope that those of you who are like me will enjoy this dive into the world of the Quasing.
If you’re interested in The Tao Series click on the following images.
You can also check out the Io Series, which I think is arguably better than the Tao Series so far, click the images below.
Wesley Chu does have his own website, which you can find here
I do not own nor do I claim to own any rights to the work of Wesley Chu. I also have not asked his permission to make this post- thus, the recordings I have made of this work are for reader interest only and are not intended as a claim of rights to the read work. If asked to I will remove them and any copyright infringement suspected from this page will be removed as requested immediately. As an amazon Affiliate I may receive commission from qualifying purchases made through the Reviewniverse.
Cheers, and keep reading, my friends.
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