Review: “The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War Book 2) by John Scalzi. Tor Books. 384 pages.

In all honesty, I started reading The Ghost Brigades because I picked up The Last Colony and was going to read it, only to realize that it was the third book in a series, and that I needed to read The Ghost Brigades first. I read Old Man’s War several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but also remember picking up Ghost a couple of years ago and being turned off by how much talking there was and how little action.

To do the series justice, you need to understand the universe it exists in. This is somewhere in the future, probably a couple of hundred years from now. Old Man’s War starts with senior citizens–no one under the age of 70–being recruited to serve in the military. They are given new bodies and are shipped out to colonies on other planets to fight for the Colonial Union. As you can imagine, it is hilarious, and I had a good time with it.

Ghost Brigades is about Special Forces, who come about their bodies a different way. Rather than growing them for several years and adding a living consciousness to them, SF troops are grown quickly with genetic enhancements added. They don’t remember life before being a SF trooper. And there’s no love lost between the two types of soldiers.

The book revolves around a scientist who decides that what the Colonial Union is doing is unethical, and decides to help the aliens. The expectation is that with a story involving Special Forces there will be a lot of combat, and there is some, but nowhere near as much as I expected. As I mentioned earlier, much of it is spent with people talking about concepts and intrigue and not really getting anywhere.

There is an exciting ending, but it probably takes up about 50 pages of the 384 pages of the book. I like John Scalzi as an author, and I will probably read the third book in this series, but it is nowhere near his best book.

I give it three (yawn!) stars out of five.

Note: After posting this review, I looked and apparently I had read this book seven years ago. And my review for that book at the time was the same. Nothing like feeling a little vindication.