cover image The Rise of Io

The Rise of Io

Wesley Chu. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-85766-582-9

This solid latest volume in Chu's Tao series shifts attention from the immortal alien Tao and his human vessel Cameron to a new pairing: another alien, the crabby, self-centered Io, and Indian street urchin Ella Patel. The Prophus and the Genjix, two aspects of a stranded alien species, have secretly been guiding human evolution since the beginning and are now fighting a war intended to raise humans to the level where they can create the technological necessary to return the aliens to their home world. The aliens, who are immaterial and ride their human vessels, have instigated many of humans' greatest triumphs and horrors. Now Io, a perennial incompetent, has chosen Ella to make her play for greatness, but Ella has her own agenda. Three things contribute to the success of this novel: an understated, occasionally snarky sense of humor, well-done action sequences, and strong character development. Io is pretty nasty but has a few saving graces. Ella, isn't much nicer, but her strong moral sense and her refusal to quit win the reader's admiration. Readers familiar with the series will also be pleased when Tao and Cameron also make an exciting reappearance. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen. (Oct.)