When secret agent Edward Blair is betrayed and killed, Tao, the alien symbiont that lives within him, must find a suitable host to continue the centuries long war between his faction, The Prophus, and their archenemies, the Genjix. Too bad he winds up inside overweight IT worker Roen Tan instead. Can Tao whip Roen into shape before the Genjix find him?
When Angry Robot offered an ARC of this book in their weekly newsletter, I jumped at the chance to request one. Two alien factions waging war against each other using humans as hosts and pawns? What's not to like?
Nothing, as it turns out. Lives of the Tao is an engaging read from start to finish. Roen's journey takes him from being an overweight, weak-willed shlub to a major player in a war for Earth's future. Not bad for an IT guy who hasn't had a girlfriend in ten years.
The relationships in Lives of the Tao are what drives the story forward, most notably Roen's relationships with Tao, the alien living inside his head, and Sonya, the Phophys host assigned to help Tao whip him into shape.
It's a fun read. One of my favorite parts is how Tao related a paragraph or two of the history between the two Quasing factions, the Genjix and the Prophus, at the beginning of each chapter, sometimes paralleling events in the story.
The ending, while somewhat predictable, was perfect for the story and left it open-ended enough for future adventures of Roen and Tao. Four easy stars.