Friday, April 17, 2015

Book: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades is the second book in the Old Man's War world, by John Scalzi.  This book did not pick up where I expected, and I think that made it difficult for me to get into this book.  Instead of following the familiar voice of Perry, we are introduced to a new set of characters and an aspect of the CDF that was secretive in the first book - the Special Forces, also called the Ghost Brigades.  The Special Forces are CDF soldiers created from DNA sources where the donor is no longer living (hence the Ghost Brigades).  When a person signs up to be a recruit with the CDF, they provide a DNA sample.  Due to the age of the recruits some don't actually make it to transporting off the planet but the CDF still has their DNA.  And as with big secretive corporations, waste not want not.  The CDF uses this DNA to create recruits that they can test new technologies on before introducing them to all recruits.  Because of their abilities, advanced technology, and secrecy the Special Forces are sent on missions normal recruits are not capable of.  In this book we are introduced to Charles Boutin, a top scientist who carries a grudge.  He has formed an alliance with the Rraey, Eneshan, and Obin, and is causing trouble for the CDF.  Boutin's body is found, and it is discovered he stored some of his consciousness on a computer, so the CDF decides to grow a body with Boutin's DNA and see if they can transfer the consciousness into the new body.  The wake the body, and transfer the consciousness but nothing seems to happen.  Again, waste not want not, they decide to let him join the newest group of Special Forces.  They name him Jared Dirac, and Jane Sagan is one of the people tasked to watch Dirac to see if Boutin's consciousnesses surfaces.  It was interesting to follow Dirac through his training, which was very different from the process Perry went through.  The Special Forces learn faster, and have advantages when it comes to communicating with each other via the BrainPal because of their enhancements.  It was also interesting to get to know Sagan's character better.  She began to have questions about what the CDF was really up to, like Perry in the previous book.  I'm not going to lie, I tend to get bored with some of the political stuff and I find that I don't pay as much attention as I should to things going on.  I'm sure I missed some important things in this story.

Once I got into this book I did enjoy it.  It was interesting to learn about the Ghost Brigades, and what made them so different and special.  I really liked Dirac and following him on his journey as he struggled with being himself while struggling with the other identity inside him and what that meant.  It will be interesting to see what tale the next book has to tell!

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