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The Ghost Brigades

(Old Man's War #2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  74,276 ratings  ·  3,493 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 Books (first published March 2006)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  74,276 ratings  ·  3,493 reviews

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Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, sci-fi, war, military, aliens
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
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scalzi-john
The mind and consciousness are popular toys on the playground of sci-fi, but hardly anyone satirized their up and downloading, editing, and maddening like Scalzi does.

Always a big topic, now a main idea in the second part of the amazing series of one of the rare really funny sci-fi writers, the simulation of an ego, a self, is in the main focus. Would take a while to list all possible variations in sci fi but let´s simplify and say that the Colonial Defense Force needs each, and if it´s just tha
Nov 01, 2014 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
mark monday
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-modern
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
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
*** 4 ***

"...“When asked about it, Harvey called it his Occam’s razor theory of combat: The simplest way of kicking someone’s ass was usually the correct one.”..."

The Ghost Brigades is the more serious sequel to the mostly parody that The Old Man's War was. The Brigades are the genetically modified Special Forces of the Humans in space, The Colonial Union, who are fighting in the front lines of the multi-species martial competition to colonize as many planets as possible. Our green warriors,
Dirk Grobbelaar
Jan 31, 2010 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
Nov 19, 2012 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
Mayim de Vries
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
”You are a gun with an ego. You’d be better off without the ego.”

The second volume of the “Old Man’s War” series is, in fact, an account of a young man’s war since the soldiers from the Ghost Brigades, the colonial Special Forces, are are basically children in adult bodies. They are fully produced, which means "waking" to life in adult form albeit without any memories and experiences. Imagine are grown-up kids with guns and range of abilities that make you question their humanity.

Our main prota
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Scalzi fans, people looking for modern sci-fi
Shelves: male-lead, sci-fi
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
Dan Schwent
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, sf, 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
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
“To everyone who thinks writing a sequel should be easy because you've already created the universe: Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Heh. No.”

Sorry, man. I feel for you, but it doesn't make me give you any sympathy stars.

Why was this book sucky compared to the first one?

We lost our old hero from the last book, John, and it was his wittiness and maturity that made the story way more than just some space war deal. John's humanity made his journey more compelling to read because we could relate to his f
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
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read, 2013-read
Second Read 2020 (3.5 stars)
So it turns out that I remembered absolutely nothing about this book except that Jane Sagan was in it. It was entertaining and unchallenging to read, and I enjoyed it, but I can also see why I remembered so little about it.

I didn't miss John Perry at all as he is a bit of a white bread character. I like Jane, but as much as she was in this I still didn't feel like we really got to know her very well as the focus was really on Jared Dirac-another character I had totall
Megan Baxter
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Before reading this book, a bunch of people had told me that it wasn't very good, didn't live up to its predecessor, Old Man's War. But while I do agree it's not quite as good as Old Man's War, I liked The Ghost Brigades a great deal more than I was expecting.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Aug 03, 2014 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
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I didn't love it as much as Old Man's War, it was still a really good story. It's set in the same world and there is a crossover of a character or two, but it's very much it's own separate story. That said, you really have to read the first in order to get a grasp on the science background and the ongoing war between species.

The CDF has discovered they had a traitor in their midst but he has escaped and instigated an alliance between three different species with the outcome being they team
Kevin Kelsey
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this, especially the last 1/3. It's an incredible story, but the writing is just terribly clunky. The secondary characters are all basically the same person, and the exposition between them is way too obvious and unrealistic. It's not delivered in a way that people actually talk to one another. That's my main gripe with it, really. It was also missing the humor that made 'Old Man's War' so much fun.

A big part of the reason I had to give it 3 stars is that thi
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The sequel to Old Man's War follows the titular Ghost Brigades (including Jane Sagan from OMW) as Scalzi expands his universe and further explores the moral and ethical implications of tube-grown soldiers and a space military that reports only to itself. Once you get past the exasperating info dumps in the first quarter of the book the action scenes are a lot of fun. Like in most Scalzi books, dialogue can be irritating at times depending on your personal preference for snark and your italics-to ...more
Jan 06, 2013 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 y
Jan 03, 2010 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
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
[Name Redacted]
Sep 16, 2012 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
David Sven
Aug 18, 2012 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
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, scifi, favourites

“Fear isn’t the desire to avoid death or pain. Fear is rooted in the knowledge that what you recognize as yourself can cease to exist. Fear is existential.”

This sequel to Old Man's War brings quite a different point of view of this universe. The narration doesn't follow John Perry but in fact two members of the Ghost Brigade, section of the military introduced briefly in the first book, Jane Sagan providing the only real link between the two. Again, we get the adaptation to a new body but th
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book more than book one. I was so relieved that John Perry did not make an appearance in this book as I had found him kind of bland and boring. Instead, we get lots more Jane Sagan and a new Special Forces soldier, Jared Dirac, both of whom go on interesting journeys in this novel. And some worrisome and illuminating info is related by the antagonist, which will presumably be dealt with in later books in this series.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoying Scalzi’s books; his contribution to science fiction has been great.

This is the sequel to Old Man’s War, but it’s not necessary to read that one first. The only character from that book that appears here is Jane. You will get spoilers for the first book, and the first book describes the aliens more. The humor is not quite so prevalent here.

Science fiction is a great way to explore questions about the human condition without getting boring or preachy. Our main character, Jared
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
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[3.5 stars] I read Ghost Brigades as a Buddy Read with some awesome people over at Fantasy Buddy Reads. While most of us still appreciate Scalzi as an author and wish to continue the series, there was an overwhelming consensus that book two lacked a little of the magic that made Old Man’s War so successful. Most notably, John Perry and his pervasive humor were absent from the story. It still had little moments of humor (which I appreciated), but was much more serious overall. Ghost Brigade read ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook

I'm glad that I took a break before diving into this book because it's not the same as the first. I would have had expectations that would have totally failed. lol

Interesting take of personality transfer, conflicting moralities and drive.
Apr 01, 2009 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
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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.)

Other books in the series

Old Man's War (6 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)
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