Review: “The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi


ghostThe Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. Tor Books. 374 pages.

I need to start off by explaining that this book is the sequel to Old Man’s War, a book I thoroughly enjoyed and have reviewed here. But as John Scalzi himself admits, writing a sequel is no easy thing. Being the author of a trilogy myself, I can agree with him.

Where Old Man’s War was fun and full of action, this book was more cerebral. That’s not to say that the book has fun parts and action, it’s just that those things are fewer and further between. Much of the first two thirds of the book is full of exposition, explaining how things worked. I found my mind wandering and wondering if I should be reading something else.

Here’s the premise, which is a good one. A scientist defects from the humans to join an alien race, and takes with him technology that can hurt his fellow humans. Using the scientist’s consciousness, the military decides to rebuild him to find out why he defected. Later, an elite group of soldiers goes in search of the scientist on an alien-occupied planet.

Sometimes it’s because the book isn’t any good, and sometimes it just because the timing wasn’t right. I have read cerebral books before, filled with lots of dialogue and explaining. Isaac Asimov’s books are often like that. But in this case, the first book presented an expectation that the second one didn’t deliver. It’s wasn’t poorly written; I just found it uninteresting. Does that make sense?

I give it two and a half stars out of five.

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