For 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 most 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, whose brain is uniquely able to access Boutin's electronic memories. But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given over to the Ghost Brigades.
Jared begins as one of these perfect soldiers, but as memories begin to surface, he 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.
©2006 John Scalzi; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Solid....[Scalzi] sidesteps most of the cliches of military science fiction, delivers fast-paced scenes of combat and pays attention to the science underpinning his premise." (San Francisco Chronicle)
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Very well done.
It fits in nicely with Old Man's War and the Last Colony. I grew to really like the characters and enjoyed learning more about them and their goals for protecting humanity. The issues, both social and political, were interesting to think about. Like all good science fiction, it combined thought provoking situations with pure entertainment. Scalzi is very much a traditionalist but the modern spin on the issues and technology make it a very enjoyable experience. Which for me is the point after all...
Really well done. I am always amazed by how the really good narrators can distinguish characters without affecting an over the top accent, which for me, would define over acting. Dufris does a very good job. I enjoyed it tremendously.
I could see this book being made into a movie. It has interior action that could be translated to a movie. Maybe ... "the Universe is a Scary Place"....this question seems to come up a lot in these reviews and honestly I think movie and books are so different, and they are rarely converted from one medium to another well.
I am not sure why I didn't read Scalzi before, but better late than never. He is a good author, clever in the fact that he saves some ideas for later books and story archs. These are not densely packed books but they combine action, philosophy, social commentary and politics in a way that make it enjoyable and entertaining. I would recommend this to any fan of traditional Science Fiction who wants to spend a month with characters in 3 books (Old Man's Ware, Ghost Brigade, Last Colony) that they will become fond of. I know I did.
This book continues the story started in Old Man's War focusing on the Special Forces in general and Jane Sagan in particular. Just as I thought I'd had enough of the tale, it kept evolving to develop the universe and personalities in much greater depth. While so many science fiction stories about humanity's expansion into the universe revolve around the same basic themes, this series is wholly different. There is limitless variety of species / races. Humans come in all the real varieties, not just good guys. I haven't enjoyed a story in this arena so much since the Ender's Game series. I will most certainly finish the entire series and probably look for more from John Scalzi.
Sci-fi, space opera, dark apocalyptic and post apocalyptic genre, historical fiction and ccasional main-stream thriller
I gave Old Man's War 5 starts all around. I loved the first book, it was one of the best sci-fi's I've read. I was very much looking forward to the next book in anticipation of much of the same. Witty and funny John Perry is gone to be replaced by a Jared Dirac, character so uninteresting it was painful. What a disappointment. Boring, dragged out story with a nearly complete absence of humor and the imagination of the first book. The only reason I might purchase book 3 is because John Perry is back.
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It was an interesting concept - Scalzi always makes you think and this book is no exception.
Like his reading - he suits the style of writing and the characters.
The concept is good - but found it hard to connect to the main characters
Compared to Old man's War, which admittedly is a tough act to follow, the book disappointed. It is still a good listen.
As usual, Scalzi provides a narrative with many unexpected but believable twists. His characters are well-developed and fleshed out. I found myself caring about the characters and their fates. The narration by Dufris is remarkable, with emotion and personality that really brings the book to life. I often find myself wincing at the sound of a male narrator trying to voice a female character, but Dufris is able to do this acceptably and the female characters' voices are tolerable.
The reason I rated this 4 stars rather than 5 is that I found the previous book in the series, "Old Man's War," to be more enjoyable. This book at times fell into a droning and somewhat boring series of dull conversations between characters, with little advancing of the storyline. To me it is like Scalzi is trying to pad the narrative in order to meet a publisher's demand for a certain number of pages. There is such a thing as too much information when it is extraneous to the story.
That having been said, overall I did enjoy the story and would recommend this book.
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
Book to of the ‘Old Man’s War’ series brings another view to the world of the CDF and takes us into the life of the CDF Special forces AKA “The Ghost Brigade”. The cast of characters are a few old faces but mostly new ones, and is well written with enough background to read stand along or as the next in the series. The characters are likable and the story really focuses in on the humanity of the characters and really makes you connect with them. Along with that is enough action and futuristic tech to make you think “who the F comes up with this stuff?”. Some of it is just crazy. Highly recommended for the sci-fi lover.
The performance is for this book as well. Mr Dufris' range of characters really brings them to life and makes the connection with them all that much stronger.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
The Ghost Brigades is the second novel in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR saga. It focuses on the Ghost Brigades — the Special Forces soldiers that the Colonial Union (CU) creates by genetic engineering and who have special powers because of the BrainPal computers in their heads. They’re born in adult bodies and are rapidly assimilated into the Special Forces, though they are a little immature because of their mental age and they lack some of the personality and social skills that come from interaction with “real-born” people in a normal environment. The Ghost Brigades give the regular CU soldiers the heebee-jeebees.
In this story the Colonial Union has discovered the existence of a traitorous scientist, Charles Boutin, who has faked his death by cloning himself and has aligned himself with three alien species who plan to wipe out the humans. Part of his motivation is that he blames the CU for the death of his daughter Zoe who was on a planet the CU blew up. Boutin is helping the aliens by giving them information about Special Forces’ BrainPals. This will allow them to have such technology themselves and perhaps find a way to hack into the BrainPals of the Special Forces soldiers.
This is not good; Boutin must be stopped. When Special Forces discover a source for Boutin’s DNA and his consciousness which he uploaded for safe keeping, they decide to clone him so they can have a soldier who may have Boutin’s memory and who may think like Boutin. (They realize that this could go badly awry.) And so they create Jared Dirac and it’s up to Jared to stop his “father.” Commander Jane Sagan (who we remember from Old Man’s War), is skeptical and worried that instead of catching a traitor, they may be creating another one.
The Ghost Brigades is an exciting story with lots of action, cool ideas, and some of John Scalzi’s humor (but not as much as in Old Man’s War). Scalzi takes the opportunity to make us think about nature vs. nurture, free will, the role of the environment on personality formation, the ethics of cloning, the role of consciousness in the arts, and the relationship between brain, mind and soul.
Scalzi also decides to throw some mud in the water. At this point in the OLD MAN’S WAR story, it’s becoming clear that war is a murky business. Are we supposed to be rooting for the Colonial Union? They’ve got some seriously questionable ethics and our villain is somewhat sympathetic. Has Earth been mistreating her soldiers and/or holding back human technological development? I look forward to learning more in the next book, The Last Colony and its companion, Zoe’s Tale.
I’m reading the audio version of OLD MAN’S WAR which is mostly narrated by William Dufris who, as usual, gives a stellar performance. I recommend this series on audio.
Not as good as the first book in series but quite entertaining still.
Interesting plot. Few really good twists. Well written. Well narrated.
High hopes for the next one in 'OMW' series
This book takes a deeper dive into what it would be like to be cloned special forces marine who has the body and knowledge of an adult while having the emotional growth of a child.
I liked this story more than Old Man’s War, but rate them the same as they really do go together even though they do not contain many of the same characters. It is also narrated by William Dufris who continues to turn-in fantastic performances.
I like John Scalzi's work since I listened to the Old Man's War audiobook. That was the first one I have read from him.
The story of The Ghost Brigades happens in the same universe as the Old Man's War, and I loved that Sagan was part of this story. (If you don't know: Sagan is the clone of Perry's wife, who dies before Perry joins the army. Perry and Sagan have an interesting relation.) It gives extra connection to the previous book. By the way, it really helps if you read the Old Man's War, because a lot of ideas grow from that story, and you can understand better what's going on.
The Ghost Brigades could be a simple space-military type of book if it hadn't several layers. The base of the story: the Colonial Defense Forces fights against the threat from three alien species, who made an alliance against the humans. This already gives reason for a few exciting actions, like taking a research base by force or kidnapping the heir of an alien race. Or blow up the generator and shot the bad guys' base to pieces.
But more is at stake, because by the end of the book we learn that hundreds of races making alliance and other races are making their counter-alliance, so something BIG is going on in the background.
If we go deeper, we see how the Ghost Brigades soldiers are born. Or made would be the better word, because they are clones of people who died on Earth and didn't have the chance to join the CDF as Perry did in Old Man's War. Which raises a series of questions. How can they coop with the fact that they are very young yet fully grown adults? By their "teenager" years they could be retired veterans. And how can they develop an own consciousness? The Brainpal implant seems to solve this issue by providing all the necessary information while they discover the world.
Talking about the brain implant: it is amazing. Not only because it's like an endless source of information, but because it provides deep integration between soldiers. Scalzi unfolds the possibilities of this technology to several degrees, and uses it's impact to create compelling situations and also trouble. Which makes the story more interesting.
The implications of the consciousness-transfer is well done, and its contribution to the final conflict is well played out. Also brings some interesting questions: who really is Jared? The newborn CDF soldier or the incarnation of Boutin, the bad guy? Can the consciousness of Boutin take over completely, or Jared develops his own personality?
There are some really good twists and turns in the story. And of course, there is the characteristic Scalzi humor (for example the stone throwing), which is like a good spice to a delicious food.
It may seem too sentimental, but I liked the ending: Perry, Sagan and Zoe will be a family most probably. I suppose I will know more when I read Zoe's Tale.
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