Customer Reviews for

The Lives of Tao

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man

It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man with the crazy hair, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of History Channel's Ancient Aliens, was right all along...the course of human history was really steered along by aliens!

The Lives of Tao manages to tell a very ...
It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man with the crazy hair, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of History Channel's Ancient Aliens, was right all along...the course of human history was really steered along by aliens!

The Lives of Tao manages to tell a very entertaining tale in which there is an ongoing, centuries long war between 2 opposing factions of an alien race that has been living on earth. One of which cares about humans and are obviously the 'good guys' and a more hardline faction that primarily is only concerned about their own race and doesn't care about any negative impact to humanity.

Conventional logic would have you think an advanced alien race that can make it all the way to earth would have no problems living here, but as it turns out their big Achille's heel is that they cannot survive here on Earth without living inside a host body. This host usually ends up being a human being, and the alien symbiote can communicate with their human host as a voice in their head and attempt to influence their decision making. And as it turns out, most of the famous historical figures in human history were also hosts to aliens.

In addition to the scifi and action aspects of the book, Wesley Chu manages to create a main character, Roen Tan, which you find very human and believably 'average' at first vs the many stories where the hero is always some lethal, man-killing weapon who is the object of lust for every straight female he crosses paths with. Roen is basically what many would characterize as a stereotype overweight, out of shape computer geek, loser without much going on in his life at least until Tao the alien ends up having to take on Roen as his human host. Now guided by a centuries wise Tao, Roen must transform into an actual agent that can fight for the good guys. But poor Roen...the baddies want to kill Tao, which means they need to kill Roen. So Roen basically has no choice but train now. I don't want to say its a story partly about his coming of age, but more of a forced late bloomer, Men in Black secret 007 agent walking along railroad tracks with the Stand by Me from Ben E. King playing in the background. Once you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.

As an extra benefit of having a super James Bond alien in your head, Roen may even grow the balls to talk to women! I think there are probably many guys out there that would pay to have a coach like that in their head for that function alone.

The bromance between Roen and Tao starts up slow, but you can see it developing fuller along the way. Some of Tao's wise ass comments to Roen made me laugh.

OVerall, I really enjoyed being there for all the failures, successes, and hilarious moments... and there are many...in Roen's journey to transform himself into the improved Roen, along with flipping page after page to find out who will be winning this age old war and the impact on humanity. I won't say too much else about the story so it doesn't spoil it for people who haven't read it yet.

The Lives of Tao is highly recommended.

posted by 17565698 on May 10, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Dont bother

Poor characters, poor story. Not worth the money if it was free.

posted by 471032 on May 4, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man

    It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man with the crazy hair, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of History Channel's Ancient Aliens, was right all along...the course of human history was really steered along by aliens!

    The Lives of Tao manages to tell a very entertaining tale in which there is an ongoing, centuries long war between 2 opposing factions of an alien race that has been living on earth. One of which cares about humans and are obviously the 'good guys' and a more hardline faction that primarily is only concerned about their own race and doesn't care about any negative impact to humanity.

    Conventional logic would have you think an advanced alien race that can make it all the way to earth would have no problems living here, but as it turns out their big Achille's heel is that they cannot survive here on Earth without living inside a host body. This host usually ends up being a human being, and the alien symbiote can communicate with their human host as a voice in their head and attempt to influence their decision making. And as it turns out, most of the famous historical figures in human history were also hosts to aliens.

    In addition to the scifi and action aspects of the book, Wesley Chu manages to create a main character, Roen Tan, which you find very human and believably 'average' at first vs the many stories where the hero is always some lethal, man-killing weapon who is the object of lust for every straight female he crosses paths with. Roen is basically what many would characterize as a stereotype overweight, out of shape computer geek, loser without much going on in his life at least until Tao the alien ends up having to take on Roen as his human host. Now guided by a centuries wise Tao, Roen must transform into an actual agent that can fight for the good guys. But poor Roen...the baddies want to kill Tao, which means they need to kill Roen. So Roen basically has no choice but train now. I don't want to say its a story partly about his coming of age, but more of a forced late bloomer, Men in Black secret 007 agent walking along railroad tracks with the Stand by Me from Ben E. King playing in the background. Once you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.

    As an extra benefit of having a super James Bond alien in your head, Roen may even grow the balls to talk to women! I think there are probably many guys out there that would pay to have a coach like that in their head for that function alone.

    The bromance between Roen and Tao starts up slow, but you can see it developing fuller along the way. Some of Tao's wise ass comments to Roen made me laugh.

    OVerall, I really enjoyed being there for all the failures, successes, and hilarious moments... and there are many...in Roen's journey to transform himself into the improved Roen, along with flipping page after page to find out who will be winning this age old war and the impact on humanity. I won't say too much else about the story so it doesn't spoil it for people who haven't read it yet.

    The Lives of Tao is highly recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Silly, yet keeps you engaged

    An awesome twist on every conspiracy theory out there, with mirth and wit. I found this book difficult to put down and cannot wait for the next one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    What do you get when you have an out-of shape, pathetic IT guy w

    What do you get when you have an out-of shape, pathetic IT guy whose life is stuck in a rut, and throw in symbiotic aliens who have been on earth since prehistoric times and are currently using humanity to wage civil war against one another? You get one action-packed thrill ride!

    Seriously, The Lives of Tao is a fast-paced, awesome read, with equal parts of alien intrigue, action, and humor, not to mention some tender moments as well. So what are you waiting for? Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2013

    A Couple's Review Afterglow by Bill: Using the combination

    A Couple's Review

    Afterglow by Bill:




    Using the combination of action from a James Bond movie and the dialogue of an Adam Sandler movie, Lives of Tao is one of the most unique spy books you will ever read in your life.  The book tells the story of a man named Roen who never thought much of his life until an alien named Tao takes over his body after Tao's previous host dies during a mission.  The rest of the book shows the conflict between Roen and the voice in his head (Tao) who gives him the direction and the confidence to better his life and condition himself to become a spy in the fight to safe the human race.




    The dialogue between Roen and Tao, which sometimes can turn serious, is mostly funny as they bicker with one another, as Roen complains about how he will never be a good agent and Tao, who continues to tell about all the men through human history that he was actually controlling.  The book contains action when you least expect it and an ending that you would never see coming.




    Afterglow by Katrina:




    A perfect date book! Action, comedy, romance, cool factor. Bill and I read this one together over the course of a month. Though we tried to pace ourselves, by the end we couldn't put it down. In my mind, Roen Tan is Kung Fu Panda, all gooey and lovably funny throughout. There's a stark difference between his first attempts at training and the missions he executes near the end. His personal transformation is incredible, yet believable. 




    The Lives of Tao is science fiction, but I'm seeing it called a mash-up because it reads a little like a spy thriller in parts. My favorite part, though, is what you can easily see in the synopsis: the funny.




    Whether it's trying to escape a bar fight unscathed by his best friend's arm candy, or watching alien Tao maneuver a large, sleeping human Roen around the living room, the visual comedy is sublime. As Bill mentioned, the dialogue happening inside Roen's brain is also a treat to overhear. You'll end the book wishing you had a wise (and wise-cracking) alien like Tao in your head.




    Who should read it? Teens to adults who like spies, which is pretty much everyone, right?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    took a chance, it paid off

    This book was on sale so I took a chance and it paid off. This was a really good, fun read for me. I like readable stories and this one kept moving along with humor and action. I liked the premise of the story and could see this developed as a motion picture or T.V. show. Easily could see this developed as a comic book as well (hint hint). Well done Mr. Chu. I am now going to go get the sequel, which I just found out existed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Dont bother

    Poor characters, poor story. Not worth the money if it was free.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2015

    Interesting concept

    324 pages. I'm relatively new to sci fi, so perhaps the inhabited-by-benign-aliens is not novel to anyone ese. Whatever. But i found it enjoyable. Annoying that the fight scenes sounded more like a movie climax than a book, however.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2015

     

     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2015

    Scarlet

    ((Sorry dude. Dx l'ma just pick it up.)) "That'd be amazing." Scar tapped her chin. "What's the going rate for one of these machines?"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Fantastic

    Nothing we haven't seen before, but the author does such a nice job with it that it doesn't matter. If there is any justice in this world, someone will turn this into a television series.

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  • Posted July 15, 2014

    Lives of Tao has been out and praised by readers for a few years

    Lives of Tao has been out and praised by readers for a few years, winning the ALA Alex Award in 2014. Many have compared Lives of Tao to the TV show Chuck because it is also a light hearted tale of an unlikely hero given super spy powers. Where Lives of Tao is different is our main character Roen is given his new powers via an alien entity that enters his body. These aliens have been here for millennia, influencing humanity via their hosts in a war under the surface of what most humans are aware of. Roen is an out of shape computer programmer when his alien, Tao, enters his body. The changes in his life as he gets in shape and meets a girl added a nice emotional touch to the story. Roen hates his job, has no self-confidence and no direction in life. Tao has been around for millennia and has learned from some great warriors like one of his hosts, Genghis Khan, as well as having created Tai Chi. This no doubt forces Roen to grow up fast or give up on his potential for greatness.

    Roen’s struggle to embrace his potential and put the work in to achieve it was my favorite aspect of this story. In the midst of this scifi thriller is a story that many can relate with, the question of how to escape a career and lifestyle that does not fulfill and yet seems so impossible to break away from. Easing our experience through this tough, serious reality is the fantasy element of escaping through Roen’s super cool circumstance of symbiosis with a wise alien. And then on top of that you have the spy action as he moves up the ranks and goes toe-to-toe with some of the worst aliens on the planet.

    Lives of Tao exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know beforehand if this would be a good fit for my reading mood, but the combination of relatable and likable character in Roen with the deep but not overwhelming worldbuilding in the secret alien war and finally the cool spy action all made this one of my new favorite series. I hear it keeps getting better, so I’m excited for continuing on with The Deaths of Tao and The Rebirths of Tao. I enjoyed the audiobook narration so much, I’d really like to continue in that format. Some audiobooks have too many characters and prose that is unclear to follow, but the narration by Mikael Naramore added enough distinction to the voices to imprint the characters and kept the story going with excitement so that I didn’t daydream and lose my place. There were parts that were less exciting than the interest built in the beginning, but there were also some high tension conflict moments in the end that showed Mr. Chu knows where to hit his characters so you feel them hurt. So, there’s room for improvement, but as a debut novel in a series that I hear improves by leaps and bounds, Lives of Tao gets a strong recommendation for readers within and outside the genre.


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  • Posted February 11, 2014

    He plagiarized Brian Stableford for the story idea, sorry.

    He plagiarized Brian Stableford for the story idea, sorry.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    Good

    Very cool

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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