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John Scalzi’s The Ghost Brigades: A Review


Book Review: The Ghost Brigades

Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (May 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765354063
ISBN-13: 978-0765354068

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The Ghost Brigades is part two of three. It involves a completely different cast of characters (mostly). Our protagonist this time is Jared Dirac. A genetically engineered dead guy. A member of the special forces. The Ghost Brigades.

In this book, we get to learn much about the special forces of the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF). Maybe too much. As Jared learns, it’s a hard universe and in a hard universe, it’s sometimes hard to tell who the good guys are and who are the bad.

A human scientist has gone rogue and the best opportunity to find him, discover why he went rogue and what his plans are, is to use a back up image of his soul. Or more accurately, “it’s a holographic representation of the dynamic electrical system that embodies the consciousness of Charles Boutin.” A backup of his mind, consciousness, memory, etc.

The CDF needs to know what the evil scientist is doing so they pump that consciousness into a cloned soldier, Jared Dirac. They hope that Jared will have the scientist’s memories. There is no one prepping the soldier so when he becomes conscious, without any of the scientists memories, he is in a state of shock. The process didn’t work (yet).

So Jared trains to be a special forces soldier and we get to watch. With Brain Pal and MPE, a newly created team goes through training. It’s a fun task.

In this book, we get to meet a Rraey scientist (who is significant to the story), some Eneshan, and we learn a lot about the Obin (advanced and stupid all at the same time). We also learn that the CDF is not a goody two shoes organization and at times make morally reprehensible decisions.

This book is a little bit deeper than Old Man’s War but not as much fun. It is a very good story but I think The Ghost Brigades loses a little bit of the Heinlein and gives us a bit more of the Scalzi. Not bad, just different.

I did enjoy it. It took me a little longer to read as I had to think about some passages rather than just bulldoze through it. If you read Old Man’s War, you MUST read this one. If you haven’t, I recommend that you do AND THEN you’ll have to read this one.

Next in this series is The Last Colony. I’ll be going to get mine as soon as I can.

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