The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu
|Book Name:||The Rebirths of Tao|
|Formatt:||Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||April 7, 2015|
It’s been over a decade since the climactic events of The Deaths of Tao. Now both of the Quasing factions have to combat a new threat. Mankind. The Genjinx are closing in on their goal of terraforming Earth into the new Quasing homeworld, and it’s up to the dwindling Prophus forces along with the Tan family, to stop them.
The Rebirths of Tao is the third and final installment in the Tao Trilogy. I am a huge fan of the two previous books and I was incredibly excited to dive into this one. The book is charming, funny and filled with great action just like its predecessors. Rebirths, however, adds many new elements which were not present in the earlier books which Chu juggles with grace and confidence, weaving a fantastic story that left me completely satisfied as a reader and a fan of the series.
The story focuses on the Tan family, who struggle to balance their normal lives, with their roles as prophus operatives. The triple perspective for me is one of the book’s strong points. Chu does a wonderful job of giving each character (Roen, Jill and their son Cameron), an even amount of focus. I usually find books with multiple perspectives suffer from pacing issues, but with Rebirths, I didn’t get that feeling at all, and I was always happy to check in with the characters and follow their particular story arc.
One of the strengths of the Tao series has always been humour that Chu injects into, what is essentially a high octane spy adventure. The addition of Roen and Jill dealing with Cameron growing up and becoming a man, provides a great new element to the comedy. Tao also returns and is as witty and entertaining as before, the Prophus/host dynamic working just as well here as it did in the other books.
This brings me nicely to my favourite character in the book. Cameron Tan for me is the most interesting, funny and well written character in perhaps the entire series. He has the wit of his father and the determination of his mother whilst also playing host for Tao. I felt like Cameron truly was at the heart of this story. As I said earlier, we do spend an equal amount of time seeing things from the perspective of Roen and Jill, but it was with Cameron that I felt the story really came into its own and explored new territory. Seeing Cameron train and become what Tao believes to be his greatest student, was an interesting parallel to the original book where Roen is struggling to fit into this new world of alien civil wars and espionage.
If the entire book had been from Cameron’s perspective, I don’t think I would have minded at all. The focus on Cameron does also lend the book a somewhat, young adult feel but not in a negative way. Seeing the civil war from his young, fresh perspective was really interesting, especially when he begins to fall for a young Genjinx host. Cameron was a fantastic new character and I am just sorry we only got to spend time with him for this one book. Here’s hoping that he makes an appearance in the recently announced second series set within the Tao universe.
The larger focus on Cameron, while great, does not take away from the rest of series core themes. This book, like the previous titles is filled with drama, action and espionage. The stakes are much higher this time round and that certainly comes across in the story, as the Tan’s have to embark on their most dangerous missions yet. The added element of the Human backed alien hunting organisation provides an interesting third dynamic to the Prophus civil war and gives new insight into the balance of power changes since the events of the second book. We also spend some time seeing things from the Genjix point of view, watching their grand schemes unfold and catching up with some notable characters from the previous books.
We see Roen as a changed man, dealing with a whole range of emotional issues. He is a veteran agent who no longer has a host and a father raising a child who has an alien in his head training him to be a super spy. He is older and just wants to protect his family. Following Roen as he deals with all this really shows how far the series and the character both have come since the first book. The passage of time feels perfectly natural and you really believe Roen has aged based on his changes of perspective. Roen has been through a lot in this series and that really shows here and adds some serious weight to the book.
It’s always an emotional experience when a book trilogy comes to an end. There is the nervousness about what will happen to your favourite characters and the anticipation of finding out where the journey will end. The Rebirths of Tao does not disappoint in any of these regards. The story is fantastic and feels like a true continuation of the narrative despite over a decade passing since the second book. The story threads are all expertly tied up and brought to satisfying conclusions, yet still leaving enough breathing room for the overarching narrative. This was a conclusion for the characters of the series, not of the Prophus war itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down and from the very first page, I felt like I had never left Roen and Tao for a minute. This is one of my favourite series of recent years, providing a nice blend of science fiction, spy thriller and comedy that I have yet to find anywhere else. I was very sad to say farewell to these characters, but knowing there is more to come from this universe gives me hope that I may see them again.