I finished up this book really early this morning (really, how does one wake up at 7:30 EDT on the first day of Daylight Savings when she doesn’t usually wake up until 8 or 9 in the first place?), and I must say that I was pretty much ready to move on once I did. I liked the book, for sure, but it suffers from that second-book-in-a-series problem of wanting to keep the story moving but also wanting to get people ready for a third book. And maybe I’m too ready for the third book, since the book that started me on this whole thing (the fourth in the series) is a retelling of it.
But it was good! Scalzi abandons John Perry for the moment to focus on Jane Sagan and, more particularly, a new Special Forces soldier called Jared Dirac. Dirac is special because he was created to house the consciousness of one Charles Boutin, who turned traitor on humanity but conveniently left a copy of his consciousness behind (he does consciousness research, it’s not that far-fetched…). It doesn’t take, and Dirac is just trained as a new SF recruit under Sagan, who knows his history and is understandably upset and skeptical about his abilities.
Thus the first half of the book takes a good look at the Special Forces (also called the Ghost Brigades) and what it means to be part of it, with lots of speculation about the soullessness of both the Special Forces soldiers and those who made them. Then, when (spoiler alert?) Dirac finally unlocks a bit of Boutin’s consciousness, it’s time to go track down the traitor and figure out whether Dirac or Boutin or anyone, really, is the ethical person in this shenanigan.
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