The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu (Tao #3)

The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu is the third and final book in the Tao trilogy. Rebirths was slow to start but gradually picked up steam before rocketing towards a huge climax that served as a satisfying bookend to the trilogy. If you haven't tried these books yet, all I can say is "why not?!"

The story takes place a number of years after The Deaths of Tao and the great betrayal, with the world slowly coming to terms with the idea that an ancient alien race call the Quasing have been living symbiotically within human bodies since the earliest days of humankind. The Quasing civil war rages on between the Prophus who would preserve the Earth and the Gengix who terraform Earth to resemble the Quasing home world, but they now have to worry about the humans and the International Extraterrestrial Task Force (IXTF) who now have the technology to detect if a human is host to a Quasing, and who use it with extreme prejudice. The war is coming to a head, and regardless of who comes out on top, the end result is probably going to suck for all parties involved.

The Rebirths of Tao rotates through four main viewpoint characters, three Prophus agents and one Gengix agent, with each one giving a unique perspective on the civil war. Roen, Jill and Enzo are characters we have gotten to know over the previous two books and they continue to lead their respective sides to victory, with Roen, Jill and the Prophus taking a guerrilla approach, while Enzo and the Gengix take a more overt conquer and dominate approach with some subterfuge when required. Cameron is the new viewpoint character, the son of Roen and Jill who became a Quasing host at a very young age, who is well into his teenage years and having to deal with everything that comes with being a teenager... in a secret alien war as a host to one of the aliens. I like how Chu allows us to see things from many perspectives, attempting to somewhat blur the lines between the good / bad dichotomy and introduce more layers and shades of grey.

The Enzo chapters were the only downside for me reading this story. Part of this is because the Enzo chapters were some of the best moments from The Deaths of Tao, but it is also because the Enzo chapters weren't really connected to the rest of the story. What Enzo was doing was important, but it was half a world away from what Roen, Jill and Cameron were doing, and while the climax that brought the two stories together made for some entertaining action, it felt very forced rather than natural. While the Enzo chapters weren't quite as compelling as in the previous book, they still made for great reading and delivered a lot of backstory.

Apart from the Enzo chapters, I loved every other part of this book. The relationships forged between characters felt meaningful, there was a lot of laugh-out-loud humour, the action set pieces were fantastic, the way in which the actions of the characters contributed overall to the war were observable and tangible, and it was just a lot of fun. I've read that Chu is writing a new trilogy set in this universe, so I am very much looking forward to that.

9/10 A satisfying bookend to the trilogy.

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