The Ghost Brigades

The Ghost Brigades is the sequel to John Scalzi’s debut novel Old Man’s War.  I thought that The Ghost Brigades were one of the more intriguing parts of Old Man’s War, and it was really interesting to see how he dealt with them in this book.  Also, while this is a sequel to Old Man’s War, it’s not a direct sequel, and you could probably read it without having read the first book.  I wouldn’t recommend it though, because I liked the first book.  Anyway, on we go.

Book Stats

343 pages

Science Fiction

Sequel to Old Man’s War


The characters in this book weren’t quite as strong as John from Old Man’s War, not to say that they weren’t interesting, but I liked John better.  There are two central viewpoints, the first is Jane Sagan who was in the first book, and the second is Jared Dirac, another soldier in the Ghost Brigades.  The difference between them is that Jared was based upon the DNA of Charles Boutin, a scientist who has turned against the CDF.  Dirac is created with the hope that he could be used to recover Boutin’s memories to find out why Boutin turned against all of humanity.


Various planets in the same universe as Old Man’s War.


I started to explain this in the character section, so we’ll just sum it up quickly.  Boutin turned on the humans and managed to create an alliance between 3 different alien races who are then working together to overcome humanity.  Jared is created to find out why, but the stored consciousness of Boutin doesn’t take, and Jared is left to develop his own personality rather than assume Boutin’s as he was intended to do.  The book tells the story of the CDF’s attempts to stop the allied aliens from attacking them and their attempts to recover Boutin.


The first thing I really noticed about this book is that it’s not quite as quick a read as Old Man’s War.  Scalzi takes more time to explain the technology used in the book, which causes it to lean a little more towards Hard SF or Military SF as opposed to the first book, which was more along the lines of Space Opera.  While I’m sure that some people enjoyed the shift, it didn’t work out as well for me, I prefer lighter fare when I read Science Fiction.  All that said, it was really interesting to learn more about the Ghost Brigades in this book, how they’re created, how they’re trained, and exactly what they do in the universe.  I was also really intrigued by the ending of the book, and it really sets the stage for a bigger story than the first book told alone.

Overall Grade

Not as strong as the first book, but still good.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.