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…
“Ah, the vaunted Special Forces snotty attitude,” Mattson said. “I was wondering when it would become obvious you were six.” “I’m nine,” Sagan said.
The Ghost Brigades is so much better than Old Man’s War, in all the best ways possible. I had already decided to continue on with the series after reading the previous book, but boy am I so glad. This book was everything I wanted in this military sci-fi!
New book, new set of characters. This installation of the series mainly follows a new character we hadn’t seen before, Jared Dirac. We hadn’t seen him before mostly because he didn’t exist prior to the start of this book. Ah, sci-fi. It is the best, isn’t it? Don’t despair, though! We also get a lot of some characters we have already met. Not as often as I would have liked to have had them around during, but that is just me. I get attached to character quite easily.
I really liked Jared. I really liked his story. Perry was just too limited in what we could see. Jared opened up so much more. He is a clone of someone who they thought to be dead, but isn’t. Charles Boutin. Traiter. Only, he doesn’t know it. He thinks he is just one of the Ghost Brigade – a group of adult children who start out with no knowledge and no sense of self, who learn how to become soldiers. Then, the memories start coming back. Poor guy.
The story presented in The Ghost Brigades is quite fucked up, all told. And very, very creepy. It is just as fucked as the end of Old Man’s War was, but this time there is more of it. The idea of babies with no sense of self training for war is horrific, even if they eventually learn how to become human. The things the Colonial Union does to its people is awful. But it makes for great story. They are able to justify even the worst actions possible to themselves.
The biggest change between this book and the previous was the amount of story that was set up for later. In the previous book, it mostly just set up the world, and John Perry, soldier extraordinaire. In The Ghost Brigades, Scalzi sets up what is to be the rest of the series. A lot of enemies and allies. A lot of hints about what is to come. A lot of just really interesting stuff.
The Ghost Brigades was just much more my type of story. Its humor was my type of humor, whereas the humor in the last book definitely wasn’t. Everything I loved about the first book got brought out to the forefront this time around, and I loved it. I’m so eager to read the next book now.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Old Man’s War series page!