Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Book Review: All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Translated by: Joseph Reeder with Alexander Smith

Pros: great sense of perspective, deals cleverly with repeating days

Cons: starts in the middle of the action so it’s harder to get a grasp of the situation

When Keiji Kiriya dies in his first battle with the alien Mimics he doesn’t expect to wake up the previous morning as if those days were just a dream.  He quickly realizes that time is repeating and decides to train hard and become a great Jacket jockey like Rita Vrataski, aka the Valkyrie, aka the Full Metal Bitch.

This novel was the basis for the film Edge of Tomorrow, which I thought was really well done.  Sure, the ending didn’t make much sense, but it was a fun film.  The ending in the book is different, and does make sense.

You get point of view chapters from both Keiji and, later on, Rita, which help put you into the action and understand why those two act the way they do.  They’re interesting characters, with a lot of supporting characters around them that you get to know fairly well.

There’s enough exposition to understand the armoured suits the soldiers wear (the Jackets) and the alien menace, but beyond that there are only snippets here and there about how the world has coped with the war and how Keiji and Rita ended up enlisting.

While a few days are heavily detailed, the majority are skipped outright, giving you a good impression of time passing and Keiji learning how to fight without becoming boring or repetitive.

It’s an action packed story that’s also a quick read at just under 200 pages.

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