The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Old Man’s War #2)

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Old Man’s War #2)Takeaway: Super soldiers, bred for combat get frustrated with worthless wars too.

It has been five years since I read the first book in this years, Old Man’s War. I probably should have re-read it before I started this. But I did not and so it took a little while to remember the previous book and all the characters and story line that I was supposed to be remembering.

The first book was about humans from earth that when they were near death, were allowed to leave earth and be given new bodies, in exchange for 10 years of service in the military. It was a riff off of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. It was bleak and a mostly anti-war, war book.

Ghost Brigades is about the second part of the military. Instead of using the minds of the elderly in new bodies, the special forces units are specifically bred as fighting machines. They are still mostly human. But they have been genetically altered and ‘birthed’ as adults. They are kept away from building many real relationships with normally born humans and tightly bonded with their squads.

The tech that allows for memory transfer has been hacked to allow a mad scientist to fake his own death and escape to the enemy. And that starts the plot of this book.

I won’t detail the plot much here. It is a fine plot, but like the first book (and I skipped to the end and have read books 5 and 6), it isn’t just the military that is fundamentally flawed, but virtually all of human leadership. The aliens are fighting them. But the corrupt humans are really the ultimate problem.

There is a cynicism there that I am not thrilled about. But the story isn’t all dark, or at least it is written light enough, with enough jokes along the way that the cynicism goes down fairly well. I picked up this and the next book while they were on sale a little bit ago. So I will probably at least read the next. But I am not sure that I really recommend them. The writing is fine. But the cynicism is a bit draining.

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Old Man’s War #2) Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook

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