Customer Reviews: All You Need Is Kill
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on September 27, 2009
I am a United States soldier. Being that I really cant stand to read war novels or anything military related. In fact I like to read anything that can get me as far from reality as I can.

I was looking in the public selection on the bookshelf and I noticed this title staring me down. The cover art was brilliant. Big suit of cybernetic armor with Japanese style of art. I said to myself this book has to be good. I know your not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I did.

I took it to my rack and began to read it. I was shocked to find how similar it is with our real world yet so far apart I felt like I was in another reality.

It had all the basics of the military in it. The Japanese 301st ID and the United Stated special forces. It was also interesting to see the military tactics used portrayed in this novel.

This book is Excellent for anyone who just wants to get away for the day or any anime scifi war zone action buff. I picked it up and couldn't put it down. Though short, I think this book was worth more than a lot of legends we know today.

Well worth the price.
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on June 16, 2014
All You Need is Kill (Edge of Tomorrow) Hiroshi Sakurazaka

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.

J.L. Dobias
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on August 2, 2009
Groundhog's Day meets Starship Troopers is the best way to describe the story in All You Need Is Kill. It's a whole lot of fun and a wild ride. At just about 200 pages it's an exciting quick read that's just begging to be flown through. The only thing that puts me off is the $14 price tag on the cover that's a little steep for a 200 page paperback but it's definitely a lot of fun if you're a sci fi or anime buff.
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on February 8, 2010
It's too bad the English edition didn't keep the interior artwork from the original Japanese light novel. Even without it, this is an excellent book. Without giving away more than is on the back cover: Private Keiji is a green recruit, about to face his first battle against an implacable and incomprehensible alien foe. He dies, only to wake up and do it all over again. And again. And again. How many painful deaths can he face? Is he trapped alone in a personal hell, or is there a way out? The ending works quite well; like most good war novels, it refuses to allow an easy "and they all lived happily ever after!" cop-out.

Really, the point of the book is about suffering, and how people face it. The old saying is that "a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero dies only once". But not poor Keiji: whether a hero or a coward, he dies over and over and over...
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on July 3, 2014
Watched the movie, read the book, now I want to see the movie again. I think the concept of the book was brilliant. The story flows really well. My only major complaint about it, which is kinda a backhanded compliment, is that it's too short. I could certainly read a much longer version of this story and be quite happy. I would love to see a prequel to this book that tells us more of Rita's back story just like I'd like them to do a prequel movie.

The language is certainly rougher than I would like; I probably won't let my son read it yet due to the language. Then again, the characters are in the military and military people are not known for talking like nuns.
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on July 12, 2014
This was a great read. Lots of action, lots of twists and turns.

I watched Edge of Tomorrow first, and expected the book to be similar to the movie, but lots of deviations led to me getting to the end and being entirely surprised and equally invested emotionally.
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on March 17, 2015
All you need is kill is a translated light novel from Japan which was later turned into the movie edge of tomorrow. I watched the movie first and then read the book, finding the book to be of exceptional quality and far better than the spin off film.

I was instantly engrossed with the book, because unlike the movie, there is a lot more depth here than just the battle or the loop which the main characters are trapped in. There is far better explanation for what is going on, better character development, more realistic characters and feminist themes that were just utterly ignored in the movie. Yes I realize Rita is still tough in the movie, but she is far tougher in the book, far more capable and far more in control.

For a Japanese book this story is refreshingly positive to the female, who is described as being better than the male lead. In fact the only reason he can stand up to her, as quoted by him in the story, is a lot of what he learned was from watching her, so he sort of specialized in knowing her style where she didn’t have that advantage against him. The story does have the cliché Japanese fatalism you will often find in Japanese stories (if you don’t know what I am talking about, read a few more of them and you’ll start to get the picture), however despite this I still feel the author stepped away from standard sexist themes you will also find in most cultures. For contrast, the book is much better to women than the movie is.

I confess to not understanding what makes a book a ‘light’ novel because this story included a lot of depth and despite being short, had a lot of subtlety. I would recommend this book to anyone, it really blows the movie to bits.
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on March 30, 2014
There’s truly something special about a book that amounts to more than just a means for entertainment. Many novels in the past have tackled the ramifications that war afflicts upon the innocents caught in the crossfire, as well as the political string-pulling that orchestrates the entire affair. While novels featuring an introspective on war are nothing new, especially in the science-fiction genre, Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill stands apart with its attention focused solely on the psychological perspective of the very soldiers who do both the fighting and the dying on the battlefield. It’s emotionally-moving, exceptionally well-written, and incredibly entertaining. All You Need Is Kill isn’t just incredible; it may end up being one of my favorite science-fiction novels of all time.

The story picks up twenty years into mankind’s war with an extraterrestrial race of synthetics known as Mimics. To combat the alien machines, humanity has put their past grievances aside for the sake of survival to form the United Defense Force. Their shared resources allows for the development of a new kind of weapon known as Jackets, cybernetic suits designed to give humanity the fighting chance it desperately needs against a force which has them completely outgunned. Following the perspective of the Japanese UDF soldier Keiji Kiriya, the reader witnesses his first foray into combat, his gruesome death and miraculous rebirth in the day prior to the battle. Caught in an endless loop of life and death, Keiji must use the accumulated experience from his multiple deaths to tilt the war against the Mimics in mankind’s favor while trying to discover the secret of the time loop and how to escape it for good.

Contrary to Keiji’s continuous rebirths, the book has a strong running theme of mortality. Sure, Keiji is able to escape death via the logic-defying time loop, yet the fact that it happens so continuously is a testament to just how easily a soldier can be killed in battle from any manner of means. It makes you think about real-life soldiers from both the past and the present; fighting that horrific sense of vulnerability and the notion that death’s cold embrace could be waiting for them around the next corner, whether through a showing of carelessness or simply bad luck. Sakurazaka captures this foreboding paranoia superbly via the way he illustrates it through the protagonist and the other supporting characters. This theme of mortality is further exacerbated by Sakurazaka’s superb action-scenes that feel right at home on the big screen; each of which poignantly portrays all of the brutality, confused chaos, emotion and outright horror of being on the battlefield.

I feel the Mimics themselves symbolize the very perceptual lens a soldier views his or her enemy through. In war, both sides have their own reasons for being involved in the conflict, whether it be some form of ideology or nationalist pride. Yet to the soldiers on the frontlines, all of their opponent’s humanity is completely washed away in their eyes. In a theoretical perspective, they’re like the Mimics. To the soldiers, their enemy doesn’t feel emotion, they possess no mercy, and their only function is to bring their lives to a painful close.

Keiji is a very likable character due to his dark sardonic humor and his status as an Everyman thrown into a horrific and unexplainable situation. Perfectly on par with the book’s running themes, Sakurazaka illustrates Keiji in a manner that comes off as genuinely human. He has his triumphant moments of bravado as he faces down the odds, yet these instances are also pared with moments of vulnerability that help connect the reader to the character. This emotional investment makes Keiji’s struggle to escape his personal purgatory in time all the greater; for only through killing his enemies can Keiji have a shot at escaping his fate, hence the title of the book. Just like in real war, the only way you’re walking off the battlefield alive is by ensuring your enemy doesn’t.

To my surprise, Sakurazaka even managed to write a compelling romance between Keiji and Rita. As someone who’s extremely cynical towards forced romances, I was completely taken aback by the amount of emotion I felt for the special bond shared between the two soldiers. After what seems like an eternity of loneliness, Keiji is the only person on the planet who can truly relate to Rita and her isolation from her comrades, and likewise, she’s the only one who can help Keiji escape his own conundrum through her own experience. The relationship works where so many forgettable ones have failed because the two complete one another through a developed character-study that isn’t rushed or shoved down the reader’s throat. Sakurazaka masterfully paces the development of the two so that the end result feels like needed closure for the dual character-arcs rather than the author marking off a checklist of tropes to include. The world may perceive Rita as their angel of vengeance destined to annihilate the enemies of man. Yet to Keiji, she may end up being his angel of salvation.

What else can I say but read this masterpiece; it’s one of the best science-fiction novels I’ve ever read and easily one of my favorite books ever. The scenario is more than compelling for any sci-fi junky looking for an exciting action-packed romp complete with cyberpunk machines and power-armor, while also complementing the book’s symbolic references and character-arcs. I’ve never read an eastern novel before but I’m glad All You Need Is Kill was my first, Sakurazaka my friend you have earned your stripes indeed.
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on April 24, 2015
A cool book that I read after the movie.

The movie starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt called Edge of Tomorrow is based on this Japanese novel. Seeing the movie, which I thought was great, turned me on to this book and I wasn't dissapointed.

There were great twists and alot of different parts to the plot of this novel that the movie did not ruin it at all. It was a great adjunct to the movie, and I actually would recommend seeing the movie first. It only gave away names and the over-arching plot in general. This did not detract from the book.

I am a fan of time travel and stories, and love things like Terminator 2, Minority Report, and even Hot Tub Time Machine and Groundhog Day. I think this is a unique and interesting way that the theme of fate and predicting the future. was used in a story.
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on July 9, 2014
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.

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.

For full review, see
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