Review: The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi

This is the sequel to Old Man’s War and takes place amongst the Colonial Union’s super soldiers, except this time, instead of following the tale of some regular super soldier, we tag along with even more elite special forces, specifically Jared Dirac.

By and large, I enjoyed the book, but there were a few things I didn’t like. Specifically, I felt that the backstory on how Dirac came to be was a little convoluted and required more than one person to be… well, maybe a little dumb. Having said that, though, I liked Dirac. He was a good guy with a very dry sense of humor.

The other thing I didn’t like was the level of non-action exposition the tale required. That’s common in sequels since they need to fill in the backstory of the universe without going to the trouble of discovering it all over again. It’s easy either to skimp on it or to unload the dumptruck. This one fell a little too far on the dumptruck side for my tastes.

The tale took us through some fun combat, some terrible losses, and some interesting existential conundrums. At times, it seemed a bit too philosophical, but the ultimate payoff was worth it, both in terms of plot and character. I won’t say that everyone got what they deserved, but I will say that I was satisfied with what everyone got.

Sorry to be that vague, but this is one of those that isn’t served well by summing it up. I’ll just say that it’s an interesting piece on how your choices and your experiences make you… you.