Review: All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Posted by DarkChaplain at 7/01/2014
All You Need Is Kill, recently adapted as a movie under the title Edge of Tomorrow (and subsequently also re-released as a movie tie-in version, featuring the new title, urgh!), is a fast-paced sci-fi action novel. It uses common tropes, chief among them the time-loop and mankind fighting a losing battle against alien invaders, to craft a well-balanced narrative that is a joy to breeze through.
All You Need Is Kill, recently adapted as a movie under the title Edge of Tomorrow (and subsequently also re-released as a movie tie-in version, featuring the new title, urgh!), is a fast-paced sci-fi action novel. It uses common tropes, chief among them the time-loop and mankind fighting a losing battle against alien invaders, to craft a well-balanced narrative that is a joy to breeze through.

The Story:
"There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?"

The Review
Hiroshi Sakurazaka has written a grim story. Main character Kiriya Keiji is stuck in an unending nightmare of war and death. Where other people would break, however, Keiji is determined to break out of his personal hell and pay those alien invaders back for all the pain they inflict on him and his comrades. Reliving the same two days countless times, he struggles, learns, adapts and kills.

Refreshingly, AYNIK is not just about the terror of war, but also offers a fairly human angle. Keiji's comrades are, while stereotypical, well-considered for such a short light novel, and I was invested in the fates of Sergeant Ferrell, Yonabaru, cafeteria-girl Rachel, Shasta Raylle and, of course, the Full Metal Bitch, Rita Vrataski. It also never forgets to balance all the bad events with a bucket-load of humor (or Umeboshi :p). This benefits the book immensely!

While the novel's characters are for the most part male, the war hero Rita Vrataski takes a central role in the story, becoming Keiji's point of focus, with her bright-red Jacket battlesuit. Rita felt well-explored in the novel, and I enjoyed reading her interact with the various characters. One of the four overarching chapters of the novel specifically delivers Rita's perspective, and brings understanding of the Valkyrie. I liked this part a lot.

Needless to say, the action parts of the story are fairly exaggerated, as is standard-fare for most Anime/Manga-like stories. However, within the context of the story and technology, it never turned me off, or felt too exaggerated to be enjoyable.

All You Need Is Kill is not a particularly deep read. It is an action flick full of humor, growth and even romance. It is a blink into a possible future (one that I don't even find too far-fetched, as far as technology goes) where mankind struggles to survive against a completely alien foe. It is a tried and true concept, and one I enjoyed here.

I can clearly see why the movie adaption Edge of Tomorrow was so well-received. The novel lends itself exceptionally well to the movie format. That being said, I am looking forward to the Bluray release of the movie, to experience this story all over again.
All You Need Is Kill is an experience I wouldn't mind repeating.


All You Need Is Kill on Goodreads

About the Author

I'm known as DarkChaplain across the internet, and call myself a passionate gamer and book enthusiast. I have been blogging mostly about games for a couple of years, but finally found my way to reviewing a different medium: Books. Honestly, I prefer that job so far.
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain


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