Snezan's Reviews > The Ghost Brigades

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
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's review
Nov 25, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: light-reads
Recommended for: anyone interested in a light hard science fiction read
Read in November, 2007

Most of the way through I was really captivated by this book. It was like a passionate affair fizzling out.
At first I could see no wrong, then I could see nothing but.

Scalzi sets up an interesting universe populated with engaging characters. There's conflict, outer in the context of the enemy aliens, and inner in the battle for the self Jared, Sagan, Cainen all take part in. The writing, crisp, bright, well paced is a welcome change from the many digressors and wanderers that litter the shelves of science fiction and fantasy. I really enjoyed the plot as well, with a clearly defined story arc, and a fairly sastisfying climax. There is even a twist, although it seems one that will be explored in a sequel.
Midway through, though, I totally lost my connection with the main character. During the first hundred pages, we build a solid rapport with Jared Dirac, the clone with a heart, his slow maturation, the regaining of memories. Then, we jump, Great Gatsby like, into an emotional wasteland, where he has a James Bond / Star Wars like showdown with the evil villain / his father / his clone / himself. There's no time or space for the reader to adjust to the change in pace and the book finishes about thirty pages later with all the loose ends wrapped up.

The leap in the storyline itself wasn't so bad, the sour part came where I began to look at the past pages with a more critical eye. This is where the book resembled a broken relationship. I realized the battle scenes were stolen from Gordon Dickson, the dialogue stolen from Robert Heinlein and the philosophy cribbed from Arthur C. Clarke. My jilted lover had no original ideas and I could not believe I had wasted two hours with a man that couldn't satisfy me originally.

Perhaps he needs some time to flesh out his own ideas. I could still take him back.


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