26 October 2014

Review: All You Need Is Kill

All You Need Is Kill
All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I try my best to read the books movies are based on before seeing the movie. It was pretty difficult to get my hands on a version of this from the library before seeing Edge of Tomorrow, but given that I really enjoyed EoT, I still stuck with getting the book.

In a word, though? Wow.

The concept, like the film, is pretty simply on its face - humanity is at war with an alien race, and our soldier at the center of the story has somehow gotten the ability to replay the same day repeatedly following his own death, sort of like a video game. He thinks it might be linked to one of the aliens he killed, but as time progresses and more information comes about, the complexities of the war and his situation come around.

The book is ridiculously fast-paced, and where it diverges from the movie are things that I really loved about it and probably would have hated in the film had my consumption of the two had been reversed. The confusion, the reveals, the overall fun of what the book offers changes it from a story similar to Run Lola Run or Groundhog Day into something a lot more.

This book can't exist without the current sort of video game cultural touchstones that it uses to push its narrative. That it's nearly 10 years old and feels new and fresh is also interesting, and the specific American translation feels really natural, which was welcome. Overall, it's absolutely a book that I enjoyed a lot more than I expected to and really think every science fiction fan should read.

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