Monday, May 7, 2012

REVIEW: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Publishing Information: Kindle
Publisher: Tor; 1 May 2007
ISBN 10: 0765354063
ISBN 13: 9780765354068
Series: Book #2 of Old Man's War
Copy: Out of Pocket
Reviewer: Tyson

Synopisis:"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…"

It has been a while since I have read Old Man's War. But I do remember it quite well and when it came time to find an incomplete series I have read it went to the top of the list. As we return to the universe Scalzi has created we are quickly drawn into an evil plot where one of the top scientists has apparently betrayed humanity. With the technology of the time allowing the CDF to clone the scientist and with luck uncover just why he did it and what plans he has for leaving.

A few characters return to the story but overall this has the feel of a completely different book. The fact that you have a background does help as there are very few info-dumps and Scalzi is allowed to tell a story and get down to business. It is quite a good rtory too. Just enough action and intrigue for anyone who is a fan of the original novel.

At the heart of the story is a story of personal growth. Because Jared is a clone of the scientist that betrayed the CDF he has repressed memories and as the story progresses they begin to surface and tell the other side of the story. It is a rather inventive way to tell the story.

Overall, a great second foray into the Old Man series. Recommended.

Plot 8/10
Characters 7/10
Style 8/10

Overall 7.5/10