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All You Need Is Kill is the novel which inspired the movie Edge of Tomorrow. It describes a world in which the Mimics are destroying our world and taking it over so that the aliens who sent them can live here; the catch is that their world is poisonous to the inhabits of earth, human and otherwise. The United Defense Force (UDF) uses mechanized Jackets to help them fight the Mimics. Overall, we’re in a losing battle but Rita Full-Metal-B*tch Vrataski AKA Valkyrie, is slowly changing that. Then things get complicated when she meets Keiji Kiriya, a foot soldier right out of basic training who is more than he appears to be.

All-You-Need-is-Kill-Novel-Cover

This is one of the rare times (Blade Runner being another) when I like the movie as much as the book (and I really like the book). In both cases, there are some fairly significant differences between the versions which the movie blew up an aspect of the book and went with it.

While this is a kick-butt, action-packed thrill ride, it, like the movie, is so much more. Why? It is a very clever ride which is as much about relationship, purpose and sacrifice as it is about action.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Mr. Sakurazaka not only builds in this clever mechanism of die & repeat cycle for the story, but uses the relationship between Keiji and Rita, his platoon-mates and some other personnel on the base (like the cook), to build purpose and focus to their efforts. He also provides a clearer background for the reason days repeat and the Mimics themselves than the movie; the ending makes a bit more sense as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie despite some Hollywoodesque-style changes, but one has to suspend believe just a bit harder and longer to enjoy it.

It’s challenging to describe the relationship between Rita & Keiji without spoilers; let me simply say that they are a rock to each other in a sea of change. They are the only ones to have experienced the repeat-cycle of battle. They share more (re)battles than most soldiers do in a long tour together due to the repeat cycle, hence the connection is strong.

JosephReeder

This is a quick paced book without sacrificing great descriptions, complex characters and interesting relationships. Joseph Reeder translated with Alexander O. Smith. I can’t judge the accuracy but their translation results in crisp dialog, clear English that communicates the pace of war-time activity and the inner thought-life of Keiji.

all-you-need-is-kill- manga

For you manga fans, there is a manga version adapted by Nick Mamatas & illustrated by Lee Ferguson.

I highly recommend the book, whether you’ve seen the film or not (which I also recommend). I’m delighted to have an opportunity to read Mr. Sakurazaka’s work and I look forward to his future work.

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