Review Tuesday: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi is the sequel to Old Man’s War.

One of my best friend’s Jay had Old Man’s War sitting on his bookshelf, and when I was browsing his bookshelf seeing if there was anything on it I wanted to read (there always is) I came across Old Man’s War, and Jay said that I had to read it. I’m very particular in what I read in scifi (i.e. I don’t like much of it) but I loved Old Man’s War. So naturally, when I was once again browsing Jay’s bookshelf and saw The Ghost Brigades, I asked to borrow it.

ghost brigadesFrom Goodreads:

The Ghost Brigades are the Special Forces of the Colonial Defense Forces, elite troops created from the DNA of the dead and turned into the perfect soldiers for the CDF’s toughest operations. They’re young, they’re fast and strong, and they’re totally without normal human qualms.

The universe is a dangerous place for humanity—and it’s about to become far more dangerous. Three races that humans have clashed with before have allied to halt our expansion into space. Their linchpin: the turncoat military scientist Charles Boutin, who knows the CDF’s biggest military secrets. To prevail, the CDF must find out why Boutin did what he did.

Jared Dirac is the only human who can provide answers — a superhuman hybrid, created from Boutin’s DNA, Jared’s brain should be able to access Boutin’s electronic memories. But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given to the Ghost Brigades.

At first, Jared is a perfect soldier, but as Boutin’s memories slowly surface, Jared begins to intuit the reason’s for Boutin’s betrayal. As Jared desperately hunts for his “father,” he must also come to grips with his own choices. Time is running out: The alliance is preparing its offensive, and some of them plan worse things than humanity’s mere military defeat… 

Once again Scalzi knocked it out of the park. This to me didn’t really read as a sequel. Most of the characters were different, and it takes place later in the timeline of the universe. This reads as a continuation of a series, and I loved it.

Jared is the main character and is born to the Ghost Brigades – a military group that you first learn about in Old Man’s War. The Ghost Brigades soldiers are different than the regular troops as they’re born into a full adult body. They hit the ground running just about – which would be weird for any human being. The first part of the book is really just about Jared learning things, and giving the reader time to learn about the soldiers who make up the Ghost Brigades.

Jared of course is different because he has another conscious living inside of him, so while he is a ghost brigade soldier, he is also different from the get go. He also doesn’t know about his unique situation at the beginning of the book, but as soon as he does learn the book moves quickly to bring the reader into the main crux of the novel.

I was never bored when reading this book, and the pacing was really good. There were one or two times where explanations went over my head on the first read, so I had to go back and reread them just to make sure I understood. There were also one or two times where events in the book just about brought tears to my eyes, and one scene where it definitely did.

For all that I’m not a huge scifi reading, this is a series and an author that I would highly recommend. I can’t wait to start reading book 3. So Jay…you’re making a trip to the bookstore right?



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