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4.5 out of 5 stars
All You Need Is Kill
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2014
For me, if I'm going to read a book after watching the film, it's on e assumption that the book will be better. I liked Edge of Tomorrow, it was alright, so I wanted to learn more about the time travel concept, about the aliens, and so on; the film has primed me for more!

The book failed to deliver, and is pretty much a hollow shell that the film has massively built upon.

An example: in the film the aliens are these metallic, tentacled monsters, whereas in the book they're described variously as starfish and frogs. Now, I don't want to offend anyone who fears amphibians, but I think most of us agree (all in all) that big tentacled monsters are far scarier than frogs. Or starfish - the gentlemen of the ocean. I really liked he monsters in the film, here they just sound like a joke.

Another example: in the film, the main character goes from being a coward to being a hero, and a love interest starts forming with a meet cute that involves Oneida them exploding. There's not a lot of character in the film, but enough to put a couple of hooks in me. So I'm thinking - this novel will develop all the side characters, will put me into the Major's head and feel the fear pulverising him from the inside. Great, right? Nope, because in the book he's just a dumb grunt with no character arc and no romantic entanglements, and here's even fewer side characters!

Pretty disappointing.

The ending is different though, so if you do like the idea of killer frogs, and less character, I guess you might dig this? Different strokes for different folks I guess.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
In the film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray repeatedly wakes up and re-lives the same 24hrs over and over again. Each time the cycle repeats, he learns another valuable lesson about his life. All You Need is Kil by Hiroshi Sakurakzaka has a similar premise but instead of being set in Punxsutawney it is set on the muddy battlefields of Japan in the midst of a future war.

Alien creatures called Mimics have landed and are attempting to invade Earth. Slowly they are attacking each country trying to discover where humanities weak points lie. Keiji Kiriya is a fresh faced solider who is starting to panic at the thought of his first impending battle. He has never experienced war. He has no idea of what to expect or how to react. His worst fears are confirmed and shortly after the battle begins he is killed only to re-awake back in the army base where he is forced to relive the build up to his death once more. Keiji quickly comes to realise he is trapped in time and no matter how he tries to escape destiny he will always end up on the battlefield.

We also get to see the battle from the perspective of an American female soldier called Rita Vrataski, known by all around her as the Full Metal Bitch. Rita is the quintessential warrior. She and her colleagues are battle hardened veterans and seem to be the polar opposite of Keiji and his friends. As Keiji relives the battle over and over again, trying to discover a way forward, Rita becomes the only fixed constant in his world.

Where this novel excels is by taking a concept that many readers will already be familiar with, in this case time travel, and adding an interesting new wrinkle. Instead of going forward or back in time great distances, the main protagonist is trapped in the same time period, forced to continue reliving the same moments indefinitely.

I was really pleased when I heard that All You Need is Kill has had the movie rights optioned. Though the story takes place in a small geographical area it reads as epic in scale, certainly something that would translate as a real spectacle on the movie screen. My initial excitement for a movie was somewhat dampened however, when I then read that the character of Keiji is going to be 'Americanized'. This is a great shame as some of the central concepts of the novel will be lost due to changes in nationality. There is an old samurai principle that is mentioned in the novel, `Kiri-oboeru' which means to strike down your enemy and learn. This sort of detail will become irrelevant if the character is no longer Japanese.

Another concern, while trying to avoid spoilers, is that the book ends on a bittersweet note. I do hope this isn't changed for the film adaption. I would much rather see a faithful adaption on screen than a schmaltzy saccharin sweet Hollywood happy ending.

The novel isn't terribly long, only around two hundred pages, so it's a quick read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys their science fiction full of action but with in-depth characterization.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2014
I'm not much of a book reader. I only came across this book after seeing the film (Edge of Tomorrow). But, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have seen Edge of Tomorrow, the film only really borrows the central concepts from the book (war, aliens, travel back in time when you die), it doesn't follow the story line and leaves out most of the characters. So you won't be reading it thinking you know exactly how it's going to end. I found the whole thing pretty original and thoroughly engaging. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
If you've seen Groundhog Day the concept will be familiar, so you might not be expecting a lot of originality. On one hand it's just that plotline but in a military context - instead of repeating a day until the protagonist becomes a good enough person, they repeat it until they become a good enough soldier to break the cycle. There's an explanation in this one about how the cycle came about, so a little more self-consistency. There's the twist of someone else knowing about it, but not experiencing it.
It's also well written and gives a glimpse into Japanese history/personality.
It's a worthwhile read - also being short enough that the author resisted any urge to pad it out and make it epic in some way - it stands well as an idea worked out to a conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2015
A couple of decades or so into a global war with an invading alien race called the “Mimics”* Keiji Kiriya is a newish recruit in the United Defence Force (UDF). He’s a “jacket jockey” which is an infantry soldier in a powered exo-skeleton suit called, you guessed it, a jacket. We see him go through his day from waking up, through training, preparing for battle, fighting and subsequently dying in what seems to be a futile attempt to hold the Mimics back on the coastline of Japan. Did I say dying? Did I just give away a spoiler? Not really, as this is the premise of the book – we discover very early on that something is different about Kiriya, after that first death on the battle field he keeps going back, re-living the day over and over. So it’s a kind of Groundhog Day with aliens and war. We follow Kiriya as he tries to work out what’s going on, how to get out of the time loop, how to defeat the Mimics and what all this has to do with the near-mythic UDF soldier who crosses his path, Rita Vrataski, the so-called “Full Metal Bitch”.

All You Need is Kill is a fun, pacy, quick read. It has a certain tone to the language which is almost noirish in its grimy, toughness that I liked. It suited the story. It’s not deep but we skid along on the surface so quickly that that doesn’t matter. The time loop business was not over-used – that is to say, it didn’t become overly convoluted in a way that made my brain hurt (yes Primer I’m looking at you!) but served the purpose of the story. It’s particularly effective that what we end up with is a battle-hardened, war-weary veteran in the body of what the rest of the world sees as a raw recruit.

Like a lot of SciFi at this level the logic of it all doesn’t bear too close a scrutiny but that’s not what you’re interested in. And if you are this is probably not the book for you. If you want a fun little romp with aliens and fighting and so on then it may be.

I’d have like to have seen a slightly more nuanced view of women in this book, which you could argue is misogynistic. I think it’s mostly not but in a teenage boy’s naive, “it can’t be sexist if the women are kick-ass fighters too” kinda way. Then again nuance of any sort isn’t really that much in evidence here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
I agree wit ha previous reviewer that the film is actually better, though not necessarily for the same reasons.

I really enjoyed the film, I thought it was possibly the best acting I've ever seen from Tom Cruise, definitely the best acting I've seen from him in recent years. He managed to really invest the character with humanity and gave him a strong emotional story arc with real character development. Sadly that is almost entirely missing from the book.

The background is good and I liked the idea of the aliens better in the book, it fitted better with their name 'mimics' (you kind of have to actually mimic something to be a mimic). I think a previous reviewer who said the aliens in the book weren't scary because they were described as frogs and starfish, I feel he somewhat missed the point.

The idea that an alien civilization could effectively launch a drone fleet of nanobots to simultaneously terraform a world and wipe out is native life is interesting and very relevant to the debate about the use of drones in combat that is currently ongoing. However the execution of it is a letdown, this is because there is a significant break in the internal logic of how the aliens spread and take over the world (I won't say more for fear of giving spoilers)

I feel this book deserves a strong 3 or a weak 4, so I went for 4 to be generous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
The source novel for the recent Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow. The novel is a very different beast from the feature film. A simpler story, with less overall scope, but with a bit more heart and whole heap more cynicism. This is a short story, and plays out like a violent Groundhog Day, with a little juvenile flirting thrown in. It lost me a little in the middle, where I wished it had actually taken more time to drip feed it's ideas, rather than just do a data dump. But the ending was emotionally involving and certainly not as Hollywood chose to conclude their version. A decent sci-fi quick read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Presumably not by chance, Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel follows similar themes to Issui Ogawa's The Lord of the Sands of Time, also published among the first wave of Japanese sci-fi novels under Viz's new Haikasoru fiction imprint, but in reality the two books are very different in approach. Again the theme is one of using time-travel in order to combat the overwhelming invasion force that threatens to wipe out the entire planet. In the case of All You Need Is Kill, the time-travel is however on a smaller, more personal scale, but the outcome could equally be of global importance.

Here, one fresh Japanese recruit in the United Defence Force, Keiji Kiriya, is caught-up in a Groundhog Day style loop, seemingly doomed to fight and repeatedly die in a major battle with the Mimics that, like a computer game, is continually reset until he can build up the necessary fighting experience and find a way - if there is a way - to overcome the merciless onslaught of the strange mechanical amphibian creatures that threaten to destroy life on the entire planet. That experience might be found in Rita Vrataski, a young American UDF soldier of formidable killing power known as the Full Metal Bitch, but the Mimics are also learning new moves with every battle.

Much more dynamic and with harder-hitting writing than the Ogawa novel, Sakurazaka takes conventional genre and gaming elements and puts a fresh and entertaining spin on them, keeping the repetition of the loops to a minimum, finding new ways of moving the plot forward and keeping the viewer interested in finding the answer to this strange phenomenon. A good translation also makes the book highly readable and entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
I was actually looking for something 100% unrelated and i ended up on IMDB's page for Edge of Tomorrow movie. I looked quickly through the description, searched for some artwork online (the movie poster is OUTSTANDING!) and that's how i found out about the book.

The book is very well written (and translated!) and has a quite fast pace that makes it hard to put down. It's actually the only book i've been reading at work during my breaks, otherwise i'm usually playing my PS Vita. I guess that says a lot.

Without spoiling anything, seems the alien race is actually called "mimics" unlike the name on Amazon's review/information, however this might be the way it's actually translated. The book has a nice way of dividing action in chapters based on different characters, with a short description of the situation before the "time loop" and then some later actions that ties into the main timeframe.

Would recommend to anyone looking for a fast SF read, that's not in a very far-away future and leaves spare space to align it into modern history and geography
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2014
This story has been called 'Groundhog Day with guns', however it's a great deal more than that. The story deals with a lot of deep issues and the story actually provides a plausible explanation for the phenomenon experienced by the main character. This is a real 'thinkers' novel that will roll around your head for a while after you've finished reading it. Thoroughly recommended.
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