This is the second installment of the Old Mans War series written by John Scalzi, released in 2006. My review of book one can be found here. A heavy science fiction story, with a large militaristic influence. Ghost Brigades. Can we stop to appreciate that name for a moment… Ghost Brigades, has to be one of the greatest titles I have heard. Mr. Scalzi makes quality choices on like creations and names. Such as, the novels featured space ship, Kite; my new favorite name of any ship of the pop culture galaxy. The series is packed with creative ideas to nerd out on, with intense, intergalactic war, the driving force behind this universe.
Despite the coolness factors I had a difficult time getting into this book. The beginning of the first installment, Old Mans War, had its hook from page one, capturing a reader with curiosity. Now, with the audience familiar with the universe a new approach is necessary. Unfortunately, important beginning scenes were difficult to read. I enjoyed the prologue, yet the novel starts off with a boring meeting with boring characters. Now I have struggled with this in the original Old Mans War. A lot of supporting characters come off as flat, lacking unique characteristics. Which makes it difficult to tell who is who, and conversations a little sterile. The story picks up with morally twisted developments though.
When finally established who the main character is in Ghost Brigades, I fell in love. Despite my initial disappointment that we were no longer following John Perry, the protagonist of the first novel. Jared Dirac has a powerfully individual perspective as we follow him from being newly born in the body of a twenty-year-old super soldier. As Jared discovers the purpose of his birth he is twisted with internal struggle, becoming his own antagonist to his protagonist. John Perry brought us into this universe but Jared Dirac shows us its dark side.
All in all, it is a beautiful story. Reciprocated of the first saga, a tale about what it means to truly be human. Adding to the complexity, what do humans truly crave, and is ignorance bliss or should we be aware of the harsh realities of the world around us? This story has no filler as every step of Dirac’s journey is so important to who he is and the decisions he faces in the end. Wonderfully composed plot. The circumstances and repercussions of every action having drastic effects. The conspiracies that surround this universe add to the complicated nature of human survival.
I think most importantly, these books are a blast to read. For anyone who enjoys science fiction, this has the very soul of what makes the genre intriguing. Thoughtful technology, awe-inspiring space theory, battles of survival, and creative alien species, most of which want to kill or eat humans. I am in love with this universe in a way that I am Star Wars, the Aliens franchise, or any of the pop culture sort. I feel Old Mans War steps over that, cutting out weird Jedi/Sith religions and applying science and technology in the fore front.
I truly want to rate this book a 4. Its good, its fun, I was emotionally tied. The uncharismatic characters were hard for me to look over. I also feel there is so much more to see in the Old Mans War universe and Ghost Brigades focused too much on singular events. A.k.a., I wanted more space battles, explosions, and creepy aliens. So I will stick with a 3/5. I am excited to read the next book in the series, and would recommend Old Mans War to any body who loves science fiction for whatever reason.
Thanks booknerds, stay frosty out there.