Oct 12, 2016

[Books] Days of Tao

Wesley Chu's Tao series of books was one of my earlier reads after joining the Angry Robot Army book review program. There was a pleasant honesty about his writing plus he had quite the flair for action sequences that really made the books a lot of fun to read.

Three books later, I'm pretty much hooked and I've done my best to purchase all the books that I had previously reviewed for free. In this case I received a copy of this book for my birthday earlier this year and I was pretty keen on getting around to reading The Days of Tao.

Sure, this is more of a novella and not a full novel, but it was nice to revisit our favorite cranky alien and his now very young host. And Chu managed to setup a tight little adventure for the pair to go through that made the most of the limited format. And on its merits as a shorter work of fiction, it was certainly a fun read and an interesting glimpse of a point in young Cameron's growth and development.

Synopsis: The Days of Tao is a novella set in the Tao series as written by Wesley Chu. Note: I didn't receive a free review copy for this book this time around, so this is just me talking about a series I already enjoy. The story takes place some time after the events of The Rebirths of Tao.

Cameron Tan, current host of the Quasing Tao and son of the current Keeper Jill is in Greece for a school trip, but also becauses he got a D in Art History. And while this delays his full training as a Prophus agent, at the very least it gives him a chance to live a more normal life of sorts together with his classmates. But the lack of Prophus assets in Greece leads to him being activated as an emergency asset in order to bring out a fellow agent in dire need of extraction. He holds information vital to the ongoing fight against the Genjix and it is of the utmost importance to get him out. But at the same time, he also  reveals that Greece is about to declare their full support for the Genjix and thus the country is about to become very, very dangerous indeed.

What I Liked: Despite its length, the book has a pretty solid and complete story that has us alongside Cameron and Tao as they go through the surprise mission. As much as Cameron had already demonstrated respectable fighting abilities in the last book, the story reveals his natural uncertainty as a young man, especially when it comes to leadership and other social interactions. It's easy to be a lone wolf fighting off bad guys on your own.. It's another thing to be responsible for others, especially friends and peers, and this is a new experience for Cameron in this case.

Not as much focus on fighting (but Cameron manages to hold his own) but a lot of good character development for him.

What Could Have Been Better: Beyond wishing the book was longer, the large cast of characters in the form of Cameron's classmates results in the feeling of a lot of placeholders standing in the background while Cameron has to be awesome. It's like a video game where your character is made to escort and protect a group of NPCs and all they do is whine. A few manage to distinguish themselves later on in the book but not by much.

And things end rather abruptly despite a final plot twist  that sort of colors the last part of Cameron's escape from Greece and yet this twist isn't quite resolved. Sure, maybe I'm expecting too much from the young Cameron, but at the same time you'd think Tao would have figured  something out.

TL;DR: The Days of Tao is still a fun story on its  own and a nice return to the adventures of Tao and his various hosts. Cameron is a lot more fleshed out in this book although no one else gets the same level of development in the novella. Thus the book gets a good 4 near-escapes by Cameron and team out of a possible 5.

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