The Rebirths of Tao is the third book in the series and perhaps the last book should this close off as a trilogy. At the very least at least Chu has announced another book series set in the same universe but following a different Quasing this time around.
But back to Tao, this book certainly escalates the entire conflict after the events of The Deaths of Tao. The Prophus was already on the losing side of their secret war with the Genjix, but now things aren't secret at all. With all of humanity now fully aware that there are aliens among them and these aliens have been pretty much manipulating humanity for thousands of years, things aren't going to get easier for either side.
Synopsis: The Rebirths of Tao is the third book in Wesley Chu's Lives of Tao series of books. I received a free review copy of the title through NetGalley as part of the Angry Robot Army.
Ever since Jill Tan revealed to the world that the Quasing exist as part of a desperate gambit, the world is now divided between the pro-Prophus and pro-Quasing factions along with those who wish to have nothing to do with them. An international task force has been created to hunt down Quasing of either side and arrest them in order to contain them. To this end, all airports and major metropolitan areas have been equipped with Penetra scanners designed to detect the presence of Quasing inside other people. The Genjix retain control of key countries like China and Russia while the Prophus are a pale shadow of their former selves.
The Tan family are now based on a farm and help with a sort of underground railroad designed to smuggle Prophus operatives out of more sensitive areas into countries that are a bit more indifferent to the Quasing on earth. Jill together with Baji is now the regional coordinator reporting to the Keeper herself while Roen is a bit of a loose cannon agent supporting Jill's efforts but doing his best not to kill any Genjix or government operatives that he encounters. And their son Cameron together with who has become a sort of Quasing godparent Tao have been spending most of his young life training to defend himself against the Genjix or anyone else who can threaten their family. But being such a young host has opened up interesting doors for Cameron and Tao and they may be on the verge of a major discovery.
The shift in focus for this book is pretty significant not just because of the change in the global landscape, but also in terms of the Tan family. The book follows the lives of Jill, Roen, and Cameron individually but also the what's going on among the Genjix factions. But let's focus on the Tan family first.
All of them are very different from the last time we checked in on them. Jill and Baji have become become a central figure in the Prophus organization and you can see how they've really stepped up their efforts to help the Prophus. Roen is dealing with life without Tan with him being the only human to ever survive a Quasing leaving him, although he has moments of imagining how Tao might react to one situation or another and I often found myself wondering if some part of Tao was still in Roen to some extent.
But Cameron is another creature entirely - he's closer to an ideal Prophus agent given how young he was when he first became a host. Tao has been directing him and teaching him all that he knows for so long now that Cameron and Tao are more of a team than we ever saw with Roen. You can sense Roen missing Tao but it's really a new period for all of them and its' Cameron who carries Tao for now. But he's still a teenager and all the usual drama and angst that we associate with the age still comes into play.
And things aren't exactly great on the Genjix front and I appreciate how not everyone has decided to side with Enzo and his maniacal plans of advancing the Quasiform project sooner rather than later. And the fact that not all the Genjix are prepared to essentially kill of humanity right away has formed a little schism within the group made for an interesting twist in things. Sure, if also gives the Prophus a bit more of a chance to figure out what to do, but it also demonstrates just how crazy that particular Adonis vessel may actually be.
Chu's flair for humor really works this time around and it all just demonstrates how he has grown as a writer and just how well he knows his characters. Each is fully formed and nicely complex and that's all that you can ask from a book, really. Sure the big events and the whole Prophus-Genjix conflict is important. But at the same time even the best movies with epic story settings really boil down to its characters, and that's why these books really work.
The Rebirths of Tao is a great book and a nice way to cap off the stories of the Tan family and the Prophus Quasing known as Tao. And while I'll miss them, I'm excited to explore other aspects of this universe and maybe get a closer look at how the Genjix see the world. This book gets an awesome 5 Cameron and Tao fighting moves out of a possible 5.