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All You Need Is Kill Paperback – July 21, 2009
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About the Author
Hiroshi Sakurazaka was born in Tokyo in 1970. After a career in information technology, he published his first novel, Modern Magic Made Simple (Yoku wakaru gendai mahou), in 2003 with Super Dash Bunko, a popular young adult light novel imprint. There are now seven volumes in the series, and it was adapted as a manga in 2008 and as a television anime series in 2009. Sakurazaka published All You Need Is Kill with Super Dash Bunko in 2004 and with it earned his first Seiun Award nomination for best of the year honors in Japanese science fiction. His 2004 short story, "Saitama Chainsaw Massacre," won the 16th SF Magazine Reader's Award.
In 2009, All You Need Is Kill was the launch title for Haikasoru, a unique imprint dedicated to publishing the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy for English-speaking audiences. New York Times best-selling author John Scalzi declared All You Need Is Kill to be a novel that "reads fast, kicks ass, and keeps on coming," and it has proven to be one of Haikasoru's most popular titles. Sakurazaka's other novels include Characters (cowritten with Hiroki Azuma) and Slum Online, which was published in English by Haikasoru in 2010.
In 2010, Sakurazaka started an experimental digital magazine AiR with Junji Hotta. He remains one of Japan's most energetic writers of both light novels and adult science fiction.
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I don't usually write reviews of films; so why should I start now? Let's forget that three other people wrote the screenplay for that little gem. I enjoyed the film aside from having just a moment of confusion about the ending.(Hope that doesn't stand as a spoiler.) As soon as I got home I got onto Amazons site and downloaded the book. This turned out to be fortuitous because the book was every bit if not better than the movie in many ways and it was, not so surprisingly, nothing like the movie. This works out well for both because if you have read the book you can still enjoy the movie as something quite different. And if you've seen the movie I would recommend that you read the book it came from. The ending is less of a head shaker but then you need to read it to find out what I mean by that.
So I heard it said that the movie was like Groundhog Day mixed with Starship Troopers. And more reverently compared to Groundhog Day mixed with Independence Day. Since these Mimics reminded me a lot of the Matrix Sentinel I think we can toss some of that into it too. But that's the movie and I'm cutting quickly to the original novel from which the idea was taken.
In the book the Mimics are described as looking somewhat like frogs which comes nowhere close to what we see in the movie. Keiji(Cage) Kiriya is not a Major in the US Forces(as William Cage in the movie is) but instead a UDF Jacket Jockey-fresh and green as they come going into his first real battle. A short battle at that and perhaps one of the longest short battles ever. His first meeting with the Full Metal Bitch (Mad Wargarita as the Japanese refer to her) is when she quiets him , after he's fatally hit, with some casual conversation while she waits for him to die; so she can take his battery. This is the introduction to the beginning of the loops. From Keiji's POV we get the grit of the war and perhaps some of the bitterness for those in command sending out the Jackets to die.
The story itself begins much like the book The Good Soldier Svejk, by Jaroslav Hasek (which is a dark comedy on the horror of war and the incompetence of the Army.) The movie starts much the same, but for my tastes seems to be a bit more comedic ( and might well be the reason to compare to Starship Troopers), which may have diminished the characters that surround Keiji as he prepares each day to go to battle vowing to save as many of his comrades as he can. Rita Vrataski may be the closest character carried over from book to movie. Well the red hair might be a bit off or washed out in the movie. But I would have to agree with some that the movie portrayal somewhat diminishes the strong female character by placing her further back from the lens than is in the book. In the book the reader gets a whole chapter from her POV.
The book also contains an account of the use of a battle axe trademark of Rita and how Keiji quickly picks up on the value of such; enough to begin training with one as soon as possible. I particularly love the explanation of how the axe would be the weapon of choice for close battle.
In the book there is a far greater field from which to become acquainted with the characters. This and the many differences of book to movie make it a separate story in itself that stands well and above the film in so many ways I can not emphasize enough the importance of reading this story as a sort of measure of a much more powerful story.
And for those who haven't seen the movie it is worth watching even for those who have read the book because in so many ways it is a completely different story being told.
With superior characterization and a much different story I loved reading this more than I enjoyed the fantastic movie.
This is great SFF for the Military Minded Fan.
If you don't already know, the main character is a soldier who, while battling an alien race that has been devastating the world, becomes trapped in a 'Groundhog Day' type loop. If he dies in battle, he wakes up again at the beginning of the same day. If he makes it through the day, he wakes up again at the beginning of that same day regardless. The bulk of the story deals with how he tries to deal with being trapped in a single day while at the same time trying to find a way to use his predicament to his advantage in the war.
If you've seen 'Edge of Tomorrow', just be warned, the movie does not follow the plot of the book. Once the looping starts in the movie, the plots do mirror each other for a while, but the book is much darker. Good dark, but still, it may be a bit jarring if you're expecting the hollywood ending.
The first thing I have to say is: IGNORE "EDGE OF TOMORROW"; TOM CRUISE RUINS BOOKS WITH BAD MOVIES. The movie is loosely based on the novel, at best. Cruise completely changed the main character into an unlikable idiot rather than just a newbie soldier, and the female lead's backstory was completely butchered and left out. And most devastatingly, the ending was completely changed. This book is not meant to have a happy guy-gets-the-girl-and-everything's-okay ending so much as a somber, yet hopeful one. Ignore the movie, give the book a shot.
The book itself establishes the plot fairly quickly and in an interesting and easy to understand way. Despite being LIKE Groundhog Day, don't worry, it won't bore you. The plot might seem straightforward, but the further in you get, the more it twists.
The characters are really what make this story, though. You'll come to love them and their individual quirks, and the interactions between them.
Beyond that, the author has a good grasp of military knowledge and tactics, and he blends it well with a story and technology that could only be otherwise found in a manga or anime.
I highly recommend you check it out. The best thing about this book is that it's available in multiple formats. There's also a manga version (All You Need is Kill (manga): 2-in-1 Edition) that sticks to the plot almost 100%, without losing any real detail or power of the story. Definitely check it out, it's worth it!