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The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War #2)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  40,563 Ratings  ·  2,032 Reviews
The Ghost Brigades are the Special Forces of the Colonial Defense Forces, elite troops created from the DNA of the dead and turned into the perfect soldiers for the CDF's toughest operations. They’re young, they’re fast and strong, and they’re totally without normal human qualms.

The universe is a dangerous place for humanity—and it's about to become far more dangerous. Thr
Paperback, 347 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2006)
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Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Martian by Andy WeirOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal Stephenson
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
19th out of 512 books — 5,497 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Military Science Fiction
9th out of 618 books — 929 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 27, 2011 Kemper rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, military, war, aliens, 2011
James Cameron and John Scalzi Share An Awkward Elevator Ride

James Cameron: Could you hit the button for the top floor, please?

John Scalzi: Sure. Say, aren’t you James Cameron?

JC: That’s right. My friends call me King of the World! Ha Ha! Just kidding.

JS: Right.

JC: You look kind of familiar. Have we met?

JS: Met? No. Maybe you recognize me from my author’s photo on my books. I’m John Scalzi.

Long pause

JC: Uh……No, sorry. I don’t think I’ve read your books.

JS: Really? You haven’t read Old Man’s War
mark monday
Mar 02, 2014 mark monday rated it liked it
Shelves: futuristik
overall this is a fun, fast-paced, and competently written novel. after finishing this book, I immediately wanted to read more - a good sign! and it is a thoughtful novel - I really liked how it carefully and quietly lays down small but important plot points that are clearly going to be even more important as this space opera continues. in general, I like Scalzi's minor note approach to his world and it is well-matched with prose that is clear and straightforward yet sympathetic and often resona ...more
May 23, 2013 seak rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Warning: Spoilers for Old Man's War, book one in the Old Man's War sequence.

A secret is discovered and war is looming. Former enemies are allied against the Colonial Union and it's up to the Special Forces, the Ghost Brigades, to stop them. They only take the dirtiest jobs and this is no exception.

The Ghost Brigades deals almost exclusively with the Special Forces who have been nicknamed the Ghost Brigades on account of their entire Forces using the bodies of people who did not enter the militar
Dirk Grobbelaar
Nov 20, 2013 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it really liked it
“They can run all the tests they want; nothing will show anything but evidence of a natural catastrophe. Because that's what it was.
It just had a little help."

I don’t know whether it was because I was more focused this time, but I believe I enjoyed Ghost Brigades a bit more than Old Man's War. Scalzi is extremely popular, and rightly so. His military Science Fiction stories are tautly plotted and fairly lean, which means you can read them quickly. Yet, they also deal with interesting concepts a
Dan Schwent
Mar 24, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 2010, the-scalz
In order to catch a traitorous military scientist, Charles Boutin, the Colonial Defense Forces transfer a recording of his consciousness into a new body. Thus, Jared Dirac is born. The transfer apparently didn't take and Dirac joins the CDF's special forces, the Ghost Brigades. When Boutin's personality begins surfacing, Jared's life takes a turn for the worse. Can Jared stop Boutin before the CDF goes to war against three alien armies?

This wasn't exactly what I was expecting from a sequel to O
Jan 01, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Things I like about John Scalzi’s 2006 novel The Ghost Brigades.

1. It is the second book in the Old Man's War series, but not really a sequel, more of an expansion from the universe created by Old Man’s War. In this respect, Old Man’s War was more like a prequel, just crafting a setting for what comes later.

2. Green super humans.

3. Scalzi has demonstrated an adept ability to tell a serious story and have fun with it while still not taking himself too seriously, yet at the same time not devolving
Aug 20, 2014 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The Ghost Brigades is book two of the Old Man’s War series. In the first volume, seventy-five-year-old John Perry abandons his life on Earth, joins the Colonial Defense Force, and heads off into space to protect mankind’s far flung colonies. Once there, his consciousness is transferred into a young, superhuman body; he learns that space is a very dangerous place for humans; he rediscovers part of someone very important to him in the form of Jane Sagan;
The Colonial Defense Force is desperate. They've learned that three species are gearing up to fight a war against The Colonial Union. This isn't the most surprising or frightening part. The worst part is there is one human involved, Charles Boutin. Boutin is a genius CDF military scientist who knows all their secrets and who should be dead. The CDF is willing to do whatever it takes to learn why Boutin turned even going to the point of making a clone using something Boutin should've never left b ...more
What is important about choice? Is it really important how you choose or is it more important that you have the ability to choose in the first place?
Just now you chose to read my review out of a million other things you could have done, so thank you for that. But it was your freedom of choice that enabled you to choose my review.

Jared Dirac doesn't have that kind of choice. He is a member of the Special Forces, genetically engineered soldiers who's only purpose is to save humanity via black ops
Aug 07, 2014 Apatt rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the second volume of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. I enjoyed the first book Old Man's War very much, I even rated it 5 stars on my Goodreads review (adjusted to 4 later). However, I read it in June 2011 and I have just read this second volume three years later. The reason is that since reading that first volume I have read so many books that I like much better and a 5 stars rating seems inaccurate. In all fairness I do not think there is much wrong with Old Man's War apart from som ...more
Feb 03, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Old Man's War
Executive Summary: A fun sci-fi space opera. You won't get deep plot, just a fast-paced military story...IN SPACE!

Audio book: This is the second book I've listened to by William Dufris. He's pretty good. He speaks clearly and with good inflections.

You can tell the characters apart. He did seem to use the same voices as from Cryptonomicon, so I kept thinking of characters from that book. Overall though, I enjoy him as a narrator.

Full Review
Somehow I hadn't heard of John Scalzi before last yea
Jan 24, 2010 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I believe that science fiction and fantasy are the most effective way of exploring our own morality. When we see people in an alternate world, it is easier for us to step back and look at the choices they make as a parallel to the choices we make. It forces us to really consider the state of our world, and whether or not changes need to be made for the better. Scalzi has written incredibly real and humane characters, in a plot that is very timely to the world we live in. This book will stay with ...more
[Name Redacted]
Sep 28, 2012 [Name Redacted] rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, politics, war, futurity
Weaker than the previous entry, but still fairly readable. Scalzi's work as a film-critic really shows through here, as he relies heavily on sci-fi and military film tropes and cliches to build his story. The perspectives chosen to construct the narrative (third person and close third person) are an unwelcome departure from Old Man's War's first person, and this results in a slight feeling of disjointedness and a lack of intimacy. Only loosely connected to the previous novel in terms of characte ...more
Dec 12, 2011 Carol. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Scalzi fans, people looking for modern sci-fi
Shelves: sci-fi, male-lead
Perhaps twice a winter, I enjoy making a big pot of chili, suitable for snowy nights and bone chilling cold. I spend much of the morning slicing, dicing and simmering. Although I follow the same general recipe every time, on occasion it just doesn't turn out as savory. I don't know if I boiled instead of simmered, uncovered instead of covered, or failed to sneak in extra secret spice. All the same ingredients and yet it doesn't quite spark. Still decent, mind you--I wouldn't throw it out--but I ...more
David Sven
Aug 28, 2012 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ghost Brigades starts a new story after the events of Old Man's War. John Perry is not a POV character this time around, but Jane Sagan returns as a major character. Harry Wilson, the genius in spite of not having the math, also plays a smaller role.

The BrainPal technology developed by the Colonial Defense Force has so far given the human military an edge in its competition against other alien life forms for colonisable planets. But even superior technology may not be enough to counter a secret
There are plenty of good reviews on GR of this sequel to Old Man's War, so I'll dispense with a plot description. It was a well-written, briskly-paced tale, but I didn't like it quite as much as Old Man's War. That earlier first-person narrative had the perfect blend of humor, future world-building, exciting military adventure, and likeable characters. Just the fact that The Ghost Brigades did not feature John Perry from the first book was a bit of a disappointment (though he does resurface in l ...more
Apr 26, 2009 Nikki rated it really liked it
I really like John Scalzi's writing. It's not too fancy, no particular bells and whistles, but it's not stilted either. It goes down easy. The Ghost Brigades is set in the same context as Old Man's War, and links up to it in various ways, but the main protagonist is a different one with a whole different bundle of issues. I wasn't surprised that Scalzi decided to write more about the Ghost Brigades, and I was half-expecting it not to link up at all -- which would have been disappointing, really. ...more
Sercan Vatansever
Apr 03, 2016 Sercan Vatansever rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İtiraf edeyim biraz yoruyor. Kenara çekilip soluklanmak istediğim zamanlar oldu çünkü dur durak bilmiyor bu kitap. İlk kitabı daha etkileyici ve daha komik bulmuştum ama bu da müthiş zaman geçirtiyor. Tek eksik yanı ilki kadar akılda kalıcı olmaması. (Belki ilkini 2,5 kez okuduğumdan da olabilir tabii bu.... Bilemiyorum.) Belki biraz mesaj verme kaygısı gütse veya sorgulama, irdeleme vs. olsaydı daha çarpıcı olabilirdi. Neyse, karakterleri sevdim ve özgün fikirlerle dolu bir kitap. John Scalzi h ...more
Nov 19, 2013 Algernon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
didn't work as well for me as Old Man's War. The first part was ok, almost a carbon copy of the debut of the series - with special training and first mission as part of a crack team. It was towards the conclusion when things really came apart and I felt like I was reading a cross breeder between Austin Powers and a late Steven Segal flick.

(view spoiler)
Milda Page Runner
Feb 01, 2016 Milda Page Runner rated it liked it
On it's own - it's a good read. But if you'll compare it to Old Man's War - it doesn't have the same subtlety, depth and emotional impact of the first book. That said - I did enjoy the story. It's got science, humour, military action, unexpected ally and ..unlikely villain. That's one grumble I have about the book - I wasn't convinced about main villain's motivations and chosen methods in the end. Ah, well.. - I still enjoyed reading it and planing to get the next one.
Mar 06, 2016 Panagiotis rated it really liked it
Η συνέχεια της σειράς Old Man's War είναι ένα πάρα πολύ καλό βιβλίο. Καταρχάς πάει κόντρα στον κανόνα που θέλει κάθε συνέχεια να ωχριά μπροστά στο ξεκίνημα. Τουναντίον, τούτο εδώ είναι εξίσου διασκεδαστικό, ικανοποιεί την λαχτάρα του αναγνώστη να μάθει τι γίνετια στην συνέχεια, τον βομβαρδίζει με το συμπαθητικό χιούμορ του Σκάλζι, που για τα δεδομένα της ε.φ. είναι προδιαγραφών Νόμπελ.

Μα τι κάνει εδώ ο Σκάλζι; Πιάνει την γενική ιστορία, δηλαδή αυτή της κοσμοπλασίας του λίγο μετά τα συμβάντα του
May 31, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, summer-reads
That ending! I need the next book right now. I need more answers about The Conclave and Anti-Conclave and to get to read about John Perry again.

Also worth noting, this is more than a fun romp of an SF book. It's also very reflective and has deeper themes. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of what it means to be human, prejudice and choice.
Alex Ristea
Jan 13, 2014 Alex Ristea rated it really liked it
If you're a fan of Scalzi's writing—and his humour—you'll like this book!

On the surface, it may seem like a light, easy read, but there are quite a few interesting social commentaries about humans, rationality, purpose, and how we think.

And really, what better way to tackle these issues than in an incredibly entertaining story set in an equally fascinating world?

My only minor gripe is that there are a lot of info dumps not attached to any particular POV. I guess I've been reading a lot of tight
4.0 to 4.5 stars. An excellent follow up to Old Man's War. I think both the story and the writing improved from the first novel (which I also liked very much). Recommended.

Nominee: Prometheus Award
Feb 05, 2015 Gaby rated it it was ok
Fascinating plot but so-so execution. The problem is that I find the whole “oh no I was just an empty vessel for his consciousness” thing ironic, since all of Scalzi’s characters read like empty vessels for Scalzi’s own consciousness. Which obviously I know is the case, but the fact that they all have the same kind of “voice”, the same sense of humor, and the same personality (or lack-off) gets tiring. It was a bit hard to get past this, and it bothered me because (view spoiler) ...more
Perfectly enjoyable, fairly shallow retread of the themes expressed in Old Man's War. Plus one evil mastermind who gives a big third-act villain speech, sealing his doom, instead of just keeping his stupid mouth shut. The lead character is a cypher (literally) and not nearly as much fun as the old man from book one.

I'd go on to book three but my library is all out of audiobooks and I don't think I'd get too far trying to actually read one.
Sep 27, 2015 Tanner rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was very different from the first one. But that's not a bad thing. Once again this book was short meaning you can finish it relatively quickly.

You follow main character Jared Dirac who is created from DNA used from a turn coat by the name of Charles Boutin. Both of the characters listed above did not appear in the last book.

The other main character you follow is Jane Sagan. Who did play a role in the first book. But she got a lot more page time in this book.

I di
Dec 21, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It's a funny thing reading science fiction, because sometimes getting the technobabble is part of the charm, but sometimes you get pages and pages of expository jargon and explaining how made-up technology works and it's basically the author wanking onto the page. I had this thought while reading The Ghost Brigades because it threw at me a couple of passages that fit into the latter category.

The challenge for a second book in a series is that now you've lost the sense of discovery of a universe,
Kat  Hooper
Jun 19, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit:

The Ghost Brigades is the second novel in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR saga. It focuses on the Ghost Brigades — the Special Forces soldiers that the Colonial Union (CU) creates by genetic engineering and who have special powers because of the BrainPal computers in their heads. They’re born in adult bodies and are rapidly assimilated into the Special Forces, though they are a little immature because of their mental age and they la
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...

Other Books in the Series

Old Man's War (7 books)
  • Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)
  • The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3)
  • Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
  • The Human Division (Old Man's War, #5)
  • The End of All Things (Old Man's War, #6)
  • To Stand or Fall (The End of All Things, #4)

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“To everyone who thinks writing a sequel should be easy because you've already clreated the universe: Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Heh. No.” 11 likes
“Colonel, I'm giving you a direct order. Eat the fucking cookie.” 10 likes
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