Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4/5)
Summary: An ancient alien race inhabits, or uses, certain humans as their way of surviving on earth, coexisting (sort of) with the rest of humankind. Although these aliens have been on earth for a very long time, recent developments lead to escalated conflict among them. Woven into the tale of this battle is a story about a young couple, recently separated, who are deeply involved in the conflict, although on the same side, which is really the only side for humans. Can they survive long enough to reunite?
Review: A really solid story. (I have to preface my comments with the admission that while this is the second book in a series, I haven’t read the first – it wasn’t available in the bookstore when I wanted to buy it. That said, I felt the story in this second volume was completely self-contained – I understood it and didn’t think anything was missing without having read the first volume, although I would still like to read the first one.) The world-building is very elaborate, and took a fairly thorough understanding of world history, from ancient time to modern, to develop it clearly.
I liked the character development. The characters, all of them, from the main characters to minor ones, and the aliens, seemed very real, with realistic flaws and motivations that sometimes derived from less than noble emotions (if there is such a thing as a noble emotion – I’m talking about actions motivated by jealousy, competitiveness, and revenge etc.)
The pacing was good too. Right up until the final pages, things were happening, the story was moving forward. This isn’t a trivial things to do when a complex world needs to be described, although I would have enjoyed more time spent on considering the implications of the alien possession of humans through history. There is an interesting underlying concept in The Deaths of Tao that begs the question – how would human history have been different with less conflict?
Overall, an enjoyable read, I was swept along with the very credible characters into the action drama, created by the alien society but set on our earth.