Bout of Books – Day 6
Well, I’ve fallen off my bookish wagon. I had PLANS! THEMES! I was going to rock the zombies. But then, after reading Alice in Zombieland, I tried to read Breathers and I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s not that it wasn’t a good book. It just wasn’t the story I wanted in the moment. What I wanted was… sci-fi. I craved it. I had to have it. I picked up The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. It was amazing.
This is the sequel to Old Man’s War, which I read over my New Year’s train trip. One of the things that makes it so cool is that it takes place shortly after Old Man’s War, but has an entirely new protagonist, although familiar characters crop up over the course of the story.
Jared Dirac is a new Special Forces soldier. He’s so new, that he’s born a couple of chapters into the book. The Special Forces, or the Ghost Brigades, are made up of genetically created soldiers. They are the ones who test the latest innovations in body design and BrainPal architecture. Their genetic progenitors are Colonial Defence Forces volunteers who die before they enter the ranks. Usually. Jared is a little different.
Some time before Jared is ‘born’ a scientist named Charles Boutin appears to have committed suicide. An alien base is raided and one survivor is kept for interrogation. What he has to reveal could change the entire political face of the universe and spell the end of the human race. Charles Boutin is alive and he is working with three alien species to bring total war to all human settled planets, including Earth.
Other than job security, this can’t have anything to do with a newly minted CDF Special Forces soldier. Unless that soldier’s DNA came from the supposedly deceased Dr. Boutin. It goes a step beyond that though. Boutin’s area of interest was the BrainPal, the computer implanted into the brain of every CDF operative. Boutin took his study of the BrainPal a step further. He actually managed to map and record his on consciousness. Jared isn’t only created from Boutin’s DNA, he has Boutin’s consciousness inside his brain. But it seems to be inert. Jared is developing his own personality that seems to be completely unaffected by Boutin. But can anyone, even the members of the Ghost Brigades, cope with a comrade with the mind of a traitor? Jared will either be the key to saving humanity, or another part of what destroys it for good.
So, I loved this book. I found myself empathizing with Jared as he tried to figure out his place in the world. This is an amazing look at what makes a person. Is Jared a real person? Should he be held responsible for the crimes of his progenitor? What if the memories start to come back? How much does memory impact personality? All these awesome questions are rattling around this book along with a really awesome sci-fi adventure. Also, Jane Sagan becomes Jared’s commanding officer so we get to see some more of her following the events of Old Man’s War. I’ve already ordered the rest of this series.