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The Lives of Tao | [Wesley Chu]

The Lives of Tao

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he’s losing it. He isn’t. As of last night, he has a passenger in his brain - an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. Split into two opposing factions - the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix - the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries.
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Publisher's Summary

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he’s losing it.

He isn’t.

As of last night, he has a passenger in his brain - an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. Split into two opposing factions - the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix - the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet… and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

So now Roen must train to be a hero worthy of his unwanted companion. Like that’s going to end up well.…

©2013 Wesley Chu (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Wesley Chu is my hero.… He has to be the coolest science fiction writer in the world." (Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (129 )
5 star
 (33)
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3.8 (115 )
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Story
4.1 (115 )
5 star
 (38)
4 star
 (53)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Steph United States 09-11-13
    Steph United States 09-11-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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    "I loved it! I need the next book in the series!"

    I loved this book! I just finished it and I can not wait for the next book. I am so glad this will be a series. The book is fun. You have a protagonist that you can not help love because he is overweight, unhappy at his job, fruitlessly going to clubs to try and meet someone and absolutely enduring. It is good enough I am listening to it a second time currently

    The story is about an alien that inhabits the human body of our protagonist. He wasn't exactly our aliens first choice but beggars can not be choosers. You follow the transition of our protagonist learning of his alien inhabitant, figuring out he is not crazy, and developing a positive relationship. Roan gets involved in a war between two different factions of aliens who have been influencing human evolution for years. Our host has been Ghengis Khan, Laffayette, and several other notables.

    Wesley Chu is extremely funny and utilizes multiple pop culture and historical references. This is a book you will enjoy and feel good after reading. Sci fi lovers, spy novel lovers, and anyone who ever wanted an escape from a boring job to become a secret agent will enjoy it. Even better we get the complaining of not getting to eat pizza and being forced to run until you fall down from complete exhaustion. There is no magical transition. Mikael Naramore does a great job. His interpretation of Roan and Tao are perfect. He has some difficulties with some accents and interpretation of women but it is not enough to rate him low for the narration. I find his narration very enjoyable.

    Read this!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 08-16-13
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 08-16-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Realistic take on secret agent with aliens"

    Stereotypical overweight programmer gets to live out dream of being trained as a secret agent. Only it's a realistic version of a secret agent with all the boring parts and there's an alien voice inside his head. I was worried it would be too similar to The Host but it's completely different.
    Funny and was refreshing to read something with modern day pop culture & geeky references. First half should be used for workout motivation showing the large amount of work involved in getting an overweight couch nerd into shape.
    I think it went too far with the amount of influence aliens had on human evolution. According to it every single historical event or person was influenced by the aliens. Has a somewhat surprising ending and written with intention of a sequel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Barnett Jenkintown, PA United States 08-13-13
    Andrew Barnett Jenkintown, PA United States 08-13-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Premise"
    Any additional comments?

    This book has an interesting premise, and Wesley Chu delivers a good story to back it up. I enjoyed the book from start to finish, and look forward to the sequel.

    My only quibble is the "training montage" part of the story does seem to have a bit of a gap somewhere. In other words there's a hole where the hero jumps from fat lazy oaf to super bad ass secret agent without adequate explanation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryland H Garnett 07-10-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Overall, yes. The vast majority of the book was enjoyable, only beginning to wear as the main character continued to use the same tired lines of thought and worn out phrases to express himself. There was the sense that the author was trying to poke fun at or reference cheesy spy and action classic tropes, but being boring for the sake of being cute is still being boring.

    I will say that I became swept up in the world he created of secret behind-the-scenes alien warfare throughout history, and loved the basic concept of the book. Would even be interested to see more stories set in this universe, but perhaps with a different tone.

    The core problem was perhaps one of target audience. The further I got into the book, the more I felt that this would have made an excellent teen or young adult book, even though it was clearly not trying to be. It felt too toothless, the main character almost impossibly immature after a point, to be about adults. Perhaps if I had started it viewing it as a book for teens I would have been lenient.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Wesley Chu again?

    Probably. This felt like a sophomore attempt, a talented and imaginative writer still trying to break free of the bounds of convention and, for lack of a better term, self-doubt. Many times he began down a good path only to fall back on the same outcomes, situations, and phrases. The bulk of the work, however, was fine.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mikael Naramore?

    Yes. Naramore's narration was overall good, his inability to deliver an English accent not withstanding. HIs characters were clearly defined and consistent, which is important in a book that contains multiple simultaneous conversations occurring on different levels.


    Could you see The Lives of Tao being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, but it would accused of being something of a "Chuck" rip-off. I think it would make a fairly good TV series. It could be fun to cast the voices of impressive older actors (Patrick Stewart springs to mind) as the disembodied aliens giving advice, with young up-and-coming TV talents in the leads.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend saving your money and hoping for a sequel. It's a great world, but the characters don't live up to it. Centuries of military wisdom and experience consistently give way to blind, short-sighted action, and the main character pretty stubbornly refuses to mature, think, or grow. Until a sudden last act change where he becomes a collected yet bloodthirsty freedom fighter without any real expectation.

    The book tries for high mindedness, but ends up feeling like it was written for 14 year old boys. I look forward to seeing whether this author can bring his visions in line with his talent in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall Chicago, IL, United States 05-18-14
    Randall Chicago, IL, United States 05-18-14 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    "Would be great if not for choppy recording"
    What did you like best about The Lives of Tao? What did you like least?

    This version of this book is unusable as presented because the audio keeps clipping off the beginnings of nearly every sentence if there is a pause . Due to this I cannot recommend this audio book. This is a shame considering the book is excellent.


    Was The Lives of Tao worth the listening time?

    No due to audio clipping throughout.


    Any additional comments?

    Do you bother listening to the audio you sell Audible?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharell Dallas, TX, United States 05-08-14
    Sharell Dallas, TX, United States 05-08-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Awful, I couldnt get past the first chapter"

    I couldn't listen to this. The narration is terrible and all the characters sound the same so I don't know who is speaking. Audible please take this horrible book back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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