Title: All You Need is Kill
Author: Hiroshi Sakurazaka
All You Need is Kill is my 3rd Haikasoru purchase. The story starts with a new recruit, Keiji Kiriya, fighting off enemies from a surprise attack. His friends and other comrades have all died. He’s running out of ammo. And he’s pretty much shitting himself in fear. Needless to say, he dies. But rather than die, he wakes up in his bunk. Casting all that happened aside as some pre-battle jitters, Kiriya proceeds through the day hearing things that he remembers hearing before and seeing activities he thought already happened. A hardcore dose of deja vu? The day continues to go by as he remembers. Soon it’s almost time for his first battle. The battle in his dream started when an enemy’s attack kills his friend. Kiriya gets ready for this surprise attack but gets a surprise of his own – the attack that was supposed to kill his friend instead went straight for him! He doesn’t even get to blink before he opens his eyes and wakes up in his bunk again. What the hell is going on?
The rest of All You Need is Kill deals with Kiriya trying to adapt to his new predicament. Rather than despair, Kiriya uses this loop to his advantage by training and learning how to get stronger. Become better. Become good enough so he can kill his enemies and maybe find a way out of this mess.
Who is the enemy? The enemy isn’t really explained too much in the novel. Just that they are a group of intelligent beings who send these, for lack of better words, bloated frogs to Earth to wipe everyone out so the said beings can inhabit the Earth for themselves. We never get anymore than that.
Another character who plays an interesting part in All You Need is Kill is the female soldier, Rita. How she gets mixed into Kiriya’s situation was certainly a twist. As for the other characters, they pretty much get kicked to the side. This novel deals more with action and swearing than making friends and developing bonds.
The only real negative I have with the book is the ending. I thought it was a big letdown. Also, the reasoning behind it was sort of random. I guess you just have to suspend your belief and go with it.
In the end, I enjoyed All You Need is Kill. Maybe it’s because the book felt like an RPG game to me. I liked watching Kiriya trying to get progressively stronger via one death at a time. I’d recommend this book if you want action and ass-whooping (and aren’t afraid of seeing the F bomb everywhere, because Kiriya has a potty-mouth :) Seriously, don’t give this to your little nephew/brother/sister/random child at a playground. They’ll develop a mouth to make a sailor blush!). Though not my favorite of the Haikasoru line, I’m glad I got to read it. I’m looking forward to this author’s next novel Slum Online which comes out in 2010.
If I had to categorize the Haikasoru books I’ve read so far, it would be like this:
WTF SF: Zoo
Light Romance x Time Travel SF: The Lord of the Sands of Time
Action SF: All You Need is Kill