And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?
Author: Wesley Chu
Category: Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Millions of years ago the Quasing crash-landed on Earth. Not being able to live in Earth’s atmosphere, they have survived the many years by inhabiting the creatures native to the planet. Since the rise of humanity they have worked toward mankind learning enough to engage in space travel thereby getting the Quasing off the planet and headed home.
My worry with this book was that it was a case of an author not being able to let go of the universe they created even when there is no more story to tell. These are almost never good.
Thankfully, this was 100% not the case here.
The Lives of Tao ended with the Alien World War on the horizon. Instead of this series diving into that story, The Rise of Io jumps ahead several years to after that war has kind of ended in a stalemate. I found that kind of odd at first because there would undoubtedly be more than enough events that take place in that war to make a book out of.
But like the original trilogy, the story zooms in on a human and Quasing host that are involved in the bigger picture. The relationship between Quasing and host is really the heart of the story.
I love Roen and I love Tao and I love Cameron. There was a little bit of a bittersweet feeling being back in this world it not being all about them. The dynamics in the relationship between Ella and Io are very different than in the first series. There are far fewer witticisms and less bonding.
But that’s because their story is less about bonding with the alien that has taken up residence in one’s mind and more about dealing with it in a more practical sense. Ella is a much more practical person than Roen/Cameron so she spends a lot of time thinking about how she can use being a Quasing host to her advantage, namely her financial advantage.
I do think that this book started out really similar to The Lives of Tao, just in a different setting and characters. And a lot of the book kind of read like that with lots of training for the human (Ella) to get physically trained enough to be a Prophus operative (although it did seem a little more sped up in this book versus the initial series) and some time spent with Ella slowly coming to terms with how her life has changed since Io made Ella’s brain her new home.
After the beginning phases though the story is very different. Ella’s life is very different from Roen’s and she faces somewhat different challenges. While Roen lived in the US and worked in a cubicle all day long (which contributed to his obesity), Ella lives in a slum in western India in a town that was built up from the Alien World War and grew up orphaned and fighting for every little thing that she has.
While I have seen some reviews on this book from people that did not read The Lives of Tao, I would recommend starting with that series rather than jumping in here.
The information on what is going on is here so you could start with The Rise of Io and be okay, I think the world-building is a little bit stronger in the first series because it was starting the story from scratch whereas this book kind of assumes you know at least a little.