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Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2014

After watching Tom Cruise live, die, then repeat in Edge of Tomorrow, of course I wanted to check out the original Japanese novel (translated by Joseph Reeder). As it turns out, the movie is very much a loose adaptation of the novel, whose main character is completely different and whose plot follows a very different trajectory.

In All You Need Is Kill, Keiji Kiriya is your traditional power armor war story soldier hero: a greenhorn who joined up to fight the alien invaders, he's got a girl back home he wants to see, he makes sexist comments with his dudebro compatriots, and so on, although unlike most of the power armor classics, we get it all from the Japanese perspective. From the very beginning, the visceral battle scenes grab you and put you in the shit, metal flying everywhere at high velocities, bodies falling, terrifying aliens appearing out of nowhere.

And then he dies and wakes up the day before the battle. The time loop has begun. It takes him some time to figure out what's going on, but I loved how realistic his reactions were. Hiroshi Sakurazaka spends a huge chunk of the book allowing Kiriya to loop again and again as he determines the best use of his time, long before he finally, officially hooks up with Rita Vrataski, the Full Metal Bitch, who just might be able to help him figure out what the hell is going on.

All You Need Is Kill is a highly addictive read, hard to put down, with a strong narrative voice, although some metaphors and idiomatic expressions fall weirdly flat in translation, which I also noticed when reading the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels. You get a lot more backstory on the Mimics and Rita, yet Rita doesn't seem to have as large and critical a role as she does in the movie, since she doesn't become a major part of the story until later in the book. And while I do like Kiriya, I prefer the Reluctant Soldier version in the movie myself, since I find it more interesting. Like in the movie, of course, the mechanics of the time travel are a bit fuzzy and it makes the resolution confusing, but, in its own way, it's actually a more satisfying ending that doesn't require as much handwaving.

If you're a fan of the movie, the book is absolutely worth a read. If you haven't seen the movie, the book is a fun time travel military sci-fi adventure and a quick read.

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Reading Progress

June 8, 2014 – Shelved
June 8, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
October 8, 2014 – Started Reading
October 11, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
October 11, 2014 – Finished Reading

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