The Rise of Io
Release: October 4, 2016
Ella Patel – thief, con-artist and smuggler – is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants. The man freezes, leaving the woman to fight off five attackers at once, before succumbing. As she dies, to both Ella and the man’s surprise, the sparkling light that rises from the woman enters Ella, instead of the man. She soon realizes she’s been inhabited by Io, a low-ranking Quasing who was involved in some of the worst decisions in history. Now Ella must now help the alien presence to complete her mission and investigate a rash of murders in the border states that maintain the frail peace.
With the Prophus assigned to help her seemingly wanting to stab her in the back, and the enemy Genjix hunting her, Ella must also deal with Io’s annoying inferiority complex. To top it all off, Ella thinks the damn alien voice in her head is trying to get her killed. And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?
Some of my favorite sci-fi books that have come out in the last five years have been written by Wesley Chu. I absolutely adore his Tao series so I was ecstatic when I found out that he was writing another book set in the same world but with a female character! Chronologically, this book is set after the Tao series but it can also be your first Quasing book if you haven't read the others yet.
I immediately fell in love with Ella. She's scrappy and smart and so unlike Roen who came before her! They both are thrust into the life of the Quasing against their will when they becomes hosts to the Prophus, Tao and Io but that's where the similarities end.
When we first met Roen, he was lazy with no direction for his life and Tao was well-known for his success. They had a snarky symbiosis that was frankly, adorable. Ella and Io are the complete opposite. Ella is smart but uneducated. She's a street rat that has been using all her wit and cunning to survive while Io has been the quintessential Prophus failure and has been struggling to make a name for herself. Their relationship is confrontational. Ella is not happy having an alien inside and wants Io out of her head. It's a host-Quasing relationship we've never seen in the series and it was an amazing choice. It was nice to see the opposite of Tao and Roen and I loved that Io had to become reliant on Ella's way more advanced survival skills.
I also loved that this book was set in India! It was enough to expand the world a bit more while still remaining familiar. But what I loved the most besides the characters (three cheers for a diverse cast and multiple awesome female characters!) was the writing. It was like reading a summer blockbuster in book form. And the banter was amazing! Chu definitely has a gift for writing hilarious and action-packed stories!
I can't recommend this book (and the prior books in the series) enough! If you're looking for a fun sci-fi romp, look no further than Wes Chu's Tao books. They are absolutely delightful! I can't wait to see what Chu writes next! I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that we get more books in this universe.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley