Quasing #4: The Days of Tao

When the days are cold and the cards all fold and the saints we see are all made of gold… then the time of Tao is upon us once more. Let’s relive The Days of Tao, by Wesley Chu.

Synopsis:

Cameron Tan wouldn’t have even been in Greece if he hadn’t gotten a ‘D’ in Art History.
Instead of spending the summer after college completing his training as a Prophus operative, he’s doing a study abroad program in Greece, enjoying a normal life – spending time with friends and getting teased about his crush on a classmate.

Then the emergency notification comes in: a Prophus agent with vital information needs immediate extraction, and Cameron is the only agent on the ground, responsible for getting the other agent and data out of the country. The Prophus are relying on him to uncomplicate things.
Easy.

Easy, except the rival Genjix have declared all-out war against the Prophus, which means Greece is about to be a very dangerous place. And the agent isn’t the only person relying on Cameron to get them safely out of the country – his friends from the study abroad program are, too. Cameron knows a good agent would leave them to fend for themselves. He also knows a good person wouldn’t. Suddenly, things aren’t easy at all.

The Days of Tao is the latest in the popular Tao series from award-winning author, Wesley Chu. Following after The Rebirths of Tao, this novella carries on the fast-moving and fun tone of the series.

Source: Goodreads

SPOILERS BELOW

How to go about reviewing The Days of Tao? It’s a much shorter piece of work than any of the other books in the Quasing series – a novella rather than a full novel, primarily meant to serve as a bridge between the Tao and Io trilogies rather than telling its own self-contained story. Because of this, it ends up feeling a little incomplete. The ending, in particular, is unsatisfying: much of the plot revolves around a traitor in the group Cameron Tan is attempting to bring to safety, and yet the identity of the traitor is not revealed within this story; it is instead left as a dangling thread to be continued as a very minor subplot in The Rise of Io.

I also have to object to the final paragraph of the synopsis. The novella is fast-moving, yes, but fun? It’s a fairly dark story about a dwindling group of civilians getting picked off one by one as they try to escape enemy territory during a war. The ending is probably the most downbeat of all the books in the Quasing series. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s “fun” in tone. For that matter, while it is “fast-moving”, I can’t really say it “continues” any kind of series trend of being fast-moving, given that two of the three previous books consisting largely of stretched-out training montages. Remember all those pages Roen spent staking out mailboxes? Total, non-stop action!

Still, while it’s a lot shorter than the other Quasing stories, being a novella rather than a novel is just a choice of medium and not something that I’d hold against the actual content of the story. Likewise, bullshit back-cover synopses are nothing new to me, and I’ve seen far worse. And ultimately, the story itself is a good one.

So, yeah, that’s pretty much all there is to say about it. The weak ending means I can’t exactly call it great, but it’s a decent enough final adventure from the POV of Cameron Tan and Tao before we move on to Ella Patel and Io.

Final Rating: 3/5

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