I heard about All You Need Is Kill from the film Edge of Tomorrow. I’m sure that’s how most people in the West found out about Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel and it wouldn’t surprise me if the book was written for the sole purpose of becoming a movie.
The book starts with army brat Keiji Kiriya being sent into battle against a frog looking alien race known as Mimics. He squashes a few frogs before being killed in action. Then he wakes up 36 hours earlier. He brushes this off as a dream until he’s thrown right back into action where things feel different, yet familiar.
A surprising level of detail comes from the book. For a read less than 200 pages, there’s a lot to take in, which comes at a cost. Keiji only gives an insight to the days that stands out to him, which makes sense. However it leaves the book lacking humour. A distraction to the main plot (much like the multiple deaths of Tom Cruise in the film) could have been nice.
Obvious connections are going to form that All You Need Is Kill is the science fiction version of Groundhog Day. To a certain extent there are similarities but the same could be said for the days of the week. For me, Monday-Friday I wake up, get a shower, and go to work. It’s the same story on a different day. What differentiates the days are the small details; the lower level of fuel, the slowly depleting funds, my tiredness from the week.
The same is said for AYNIK and the Bill Murray classic. Yes, days repeat but for very different reasons. There is a reason Keiji is stuck in his loop and it is explained with a typical science fiction thought process which sets it apart from other popular time-loop stories.
All You Need Is Kill – In closing
It would be easy to dismiss All You Need Is Kill as a Groundhog Day meets Aliens, but the book is much more than that. The growth of the characters and the repetition of the days is thoughtfully executed and within a slim 200 pages. It’s a fast paced, thrilling, albeit short book. Well worth an afternoon of your time.
Based on how much I enjoyed the book, I’ll be tracking down the Manga version next.
If you’re interested in All You Need Is Kill, here’s a link for you (Amazon)