Review: “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

kill“All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Translated by Alexander O. Smith.

Reviewing a book written initially in another language may make me sound like some kind of intellectual, even though the title isn’t intellectual at all. But to tell the truth, I picked this book up because I recently saw the Tom Cruise movie “Edge of Tomorrow,” which is based on this book.

For those who have seen the movie, this is another example of Hollywood–specifically high-profile actors–buying the book because of its premise, and then changing it to the point where you almost don’t recognize it. The other recent example of this is “World War Z” (both the book and the movie have the same title). They start out with the same premise, and then completely change everything else.

So what is the same in this book and the movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”? Well, it’s based on the idea of an alien invasion where the aliens can reset time to learn from their mistakes. When the protagonist (in this case, a Japanese recruit named Keiji Kiriya) kills a specific alien, he inherits the ability to reset time. And just like the movie “Groundhog Day,” each time he is killed his day is reset.

Tom Cruise doesn't look Japanese in the least.
Tom Cruise doesn’t look Japanese in the least.

So what’s different? The book is set in Japan after 20 years of war. The movie is set in England and France. And Tom Cruise isn’t Japanese. I can’t really say one is better than the other; they’re just different. But if you liked the movie at all, you really need to read the book.

I think the movie went out of its way to try to come up with a scientific explanation for the resetting of time, where the book doesn’t worry about it as much. But amazingly, a book that originally written in Japanese translates very well into American English. The action and dialogue supposedly takes place in English, which makes the fact that the book is Japanese interesting.

Dialogue is credible, action is fun and exciting, and characterization is spot-on. This is the second book by this young author, and I will be looking for more from him.

I give “All You Need Is Kill” four and a half stars out of five. I give “Edge of Tomorrow” four stars.