I wasn’t sure of this one at first. Ella seemed a bit of a stereotype at first, and her early relationship with Io hit a lot of similar notes as the Roen/Tao one. However both characters eventually grew up on me, and by the end of the book, I’m honestly excited to see where their story is going. (And hey, neither of them is Cameron, so they were already an improvement.)
I did figure out a plot point and a twist pretty early on, maybe earlier than the author intended, but there’s plenty of action and subterfuge going around that it doesn’t detract from the story.
While continuing the overall Quasing saga, and some specific plot points from The Days of Tao novella, the novel is completely standalone. I actually think it’s a better entry point for new readers than The lives of Tao, since Chu has improved a whole lot as a writer since then. But then I read The Deaths of Tao first, so what do I know.