Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: All You Need Is Kill

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

My rating:

War. Terrible war. Humans vs a race of aliens called Mimics. It's been going on for years now and it seems to go forever - with the odds for humanity growing slimmer with each day that passes. This is the world in which Keiji Kiriya, a Japanese recruit, lives.

Today is gonna be his first battle, and to make him feel even worse, he gets injured.

I'm gonna die on a fucking battlefield. On some godforsaken island with no friends, no family, no girlfriend. In pain, in fear, covered in my own shit because of the fear. And I can't even raise the only weapon I have left to fend off the bastard racing toward me. It was like all the fire in me left with my last round of ammo.

That's when he meets Rita Vrataski, the Full Metal Bitch.

I’d heard stories. A war junkie always chasing the action, no matter where it led her. Word had it she and her Special Forces squad from the U.S. Army had chalked up half of all confirmed Mimic kills ever. Maybe anyone who could see that much fighting and live to tell about it really was the Angel of Death.

She's the most famous soldier of the war. Her abilities in killing Mimics cannot be outstanded by anyone. Too bad the odds were not with Keiji that day, because in the end he died... only to wake up the day before his battle and feel as if all had been a dream.

I remembered the whole thing. I was nervous about it being my first battle, so I’d decided to duck out a bit early. I had come back to my bunk and started reading that mystery novel. I even remembered helping Yonabaru up to his bed when he came staggering in from partying with the ladies.

Unless—unless I had dreamed that too?

Again he goes to war and dies and wakes up in the same way he did the previous time. Over and over again.

So long as the wind blows, I’m born again, and I die. I can’t take anything with me to my next life. The only things I get to keep are my solitude, a fear that no one can understand, and the feel of
the trigger against my finger.

Rita Vrataski and Keiji Kiriya may easily be one of the best cast of characters I've read about. None of them is perfect. Keiji is not fearless, for example. He's terrified of death and he's not afraid of telling you that. He also feels alone quite most of the time, and things have never gone the way he plans. He had motives of his own for enlisting in the army.

I liked being inside his head. His narration was easy to follow and it was highly enjoyable. It was funny at some points and I connected with him very fast, which is something that influences a lot in my rating for a book.

I was weak. I couldn’t even get the woman I loved—the librarian—to look me in the eye.

I also loved how he grows as a character thorough the book. At the beginning he is no other than a normal guy you could find on the streets, but once he grabs hold of his “ability”, he starts training to become the soldier he dreams to be.

Pretending to be a hero slain in battle was one thing. Dying a hero in a real war was another. As I got older, I understood the difference, and I knew I didn’t wanna die. Not even in a dream.

The other character I mentioned, Rita, was by far my favorite, though.

The Americans called Rita the Full Metal Bitch, or sometimes just Queen Bitch. When no one was listening, we called her Mad Wargarita.

Right now, I can't remember the last time I read about such a kick-ass character. She's strong, brave, she doesn't like people messing with her and she hates Mimics with all her soul. Like, she has a very personal reason to hate them.

If she had a bad headache, she’d go apeshit, killing friend and foe alike. And yet not a single enemy round had ever so much as grazed her Jacket. She could walk into any hell and come back unscathed.

Her backstory has just as amazing as herself too. And she's a well developed character as well. I feel like there should be more books with these kind of characters: Strong, badass and confident. And even when she has all those things, she's just a normal girl – no special snowflake.

Rita’s only other distinguishing feature was the red hair she’d inherited from her grandmother. Everything else about her was exactly like any other of over three hundred million Americans.

And don't even get me started on the writing... “Full Amazing Writing” would be the perfect words to describe it. You can feel everything. Full load of feels all over the way. Some times I couldn't help but laugh out loud, some others made me a little sad, others kept me at the edge of my seat because the action was very intense. In summary, I felt, which you already know is something I consider important hile reading a book.

You can’t learn from your mistakes when they kill you. These greenhorns didn’t know what it was to walk the razor’s edge between life and death. They didn’t know that the line dividing the two, the borderland piled high with corpses, was the easiest place to survive. The fear that permeated every fiber of my being as relentless, it was cruel, and it was my best hope for getting through this.

My only complaint for this book is that it didn't last longer. Really, I started it at 3 pm this day and I ended it at 10:30 pm. I finished it in 7 effing hours! Never could I stop myself from reading it. Now I just wish to go back and read it again, for entertainment's sake and because it also had some really awesome quotes I'd like to re-read.

Truly recommended.

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