It has been over a month since my last post and I have read a few books since Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – one being All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, a Japanese science-fiction novel set in a futurist war against alien Mimics. The novel follows Keiji Kiriya as he enters battle against the Mimics. The book was adapted for the big screen in 2014 as Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise – it was after seeing this film that I bought the book to read.
This book is not something that I would normally read as I am not a big sci-fi reader (although I enjoy sci-fi films a lot), but there was something about the film that really grabbed my attention and I wanted to know more. I think that the title of the novel was part of this intrigue – All You Need is Kill is very striking.
I also really enjoyed the film; the cross between Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers was very entertaining.
All You Need is Kill opens with Kiriya being dropped in to his first battle as a frontline infantryman against an alien race known as Mimics. The Mimics are extremely fast and dangerous, and despite being well armed and wearing a specially designed exoskeleton suit to allow humans to be stronger and wield greater weaponry, Kiriya is swiftly killed. Kiriya then wakes up the day before the battle and starts thinking that he has had an extremely vivid dream. Before long he discovers that he is actually caught in a time loop, and just like Groundhog Day, he lives the same time period over and over. Kiriya takes on the same battle time and time again, becoming increasingly well equipped to battle the Mimics in an attempt to defeat them. During his time throughout the loop he meets a woman who has previously been caught in a time loop; the pair then team up in battle and look for the way that Kiriya can escape.
I very much enjoyed All You Need is Kill, the characters are interesting, the story (despite the premise) is not repetitive, and it is filled with action sequences that are well written and do not lose the reader’s attention. Although it is a sci-fi novel, it is more an action/war novel with some sci-fi elements. I liked that Sakurazaka gave an explanation for the time loop, I liked the detail the author gave to the timeline of the book, and I liked how the reader is ‘dropped’ into a loop so that the story did not need to be repeated. The author also manages the battle sequences well; they give a clear sense of exactly what is happening without losing the random, frenetic nature of battle. I could picture quite easily what Kiriya was doing and when, without getting lost within the text. A lot of this book is set within the battle, it was very important that the author got this bit right. Aside from the war, the book builds the periphery characters well, the reader develops a relationship with Kiriya’s colleagues and friends so that you care about them too. The Company’s build up to being dropped in to battle is mainly regimented, but also intense and sometimes emotional.
I would recommend this book to others; it is fairly short (230 pages) and an easy read. I don’t think you need to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this book… but it probably helps.
If you have read All You Need is Kill you may like:
- Legend by David Gemmell
- Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein (I’ve not read this but it is meant to be very good)
- The Rats by James Herbert