The Days of Tao
by Wesley Chu
Cover Artist: Galen Dara
Review by Wes Breazeale
Subterranean Press Deluxe Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596067882
Date: 30 April 2016
Wesley Chu is an exciting writer; he has a way of creating characters you care about and he is able to quickly draw the reader into his stories. The Days of Tao is no different. Picking up a few years after The Rebirths of Tao, The Days of Tao finds us in Greece, with Cameron Tan. Cameron is there for a summer study program, after getting a D in his art history class. He's not exactly excited about it, but is also finding some pleasure in being a normal guy instead of a Prophus operative. Unfortunately for him, things are about to change.
Cameron happens to be the closest Prophus operative when another Prophus agent makes a startling discovery and needs to be extracted. Add to that an outbreak of open hostilities between countries aligned with either the Prophus or Genjix, and Cameron's summer just got a wee bit more interesting. Struggling to balance his responsibilities to the Prophus and his innate drive to protect his new friends, Cameron embarks on an effort to get them all out of Greece safely.
The Days of Tao is an enjoyable return to the world Chu has created in the Tao series, though perhaps serves more as an appetizer than a main course. The Days of Tao is also a bit more Young Adult than some of Chu's other books. The characterization and dialog aren't quite as snappy as some of his other works, though it is not entirely clear if that is an intentional decision or not. The writing fits with the character, so perhaps it was an choice reflective of Cameron's place in life. Whether intentional or not, fans of Chu's other works might be just a bit surprised or put off by the change in tone.
That said, Chu provides Cameron with quite a bit of character development and greater understanding of the overall stakes in the Genjix/Prophus war, all in a short number of pages. And, as with many writers these days, access to e-publishing and specialty printing allows Chu to provide readers with some back-story for one of his characters that we might not have otherwise seen. The Days of Tao is in many ways a story that in earlier times might only have been published in a random short story collection. One final note: the print copy of The Days of Tao--from Subterranean Press--might be for collectors or completists only, based simply on price. But getting it from a library or in electronic form is certainly worth it for fans of the Tao series.