Book Review: All You Need Is Kill

Okay, a bit of an odd choice for me, and if I’m honest I picked it for one reason:

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Yup, it’s being made into a movie starring Tom Cruise. (Do I need a better one?). The book follows the experiences of a soldier caught up in a twenty-year war with an enemy that seems unbeatable, even though the home side is equipped with high-tech exoskeletons that enable them to fight with superhuman strength and speed. The first time into battle, our hero is killed, and wakes up to find himself in a time loop: repeating the same day and the same battle again and again.

The Forever War meets Ground Hog Day.

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I wasn’t expecting much, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was well-written, well-paced and told the story in a sort of flat, distant style that did remind me very much of the Forever War. It’s not a very long book, and the terse prose didn’t waste a single word. The history of the war, the origins of the aliens, the technology and the explanation of the time loop was all skilfully weaved into the plot without the feeling that it was all being slotted in during slow moments. Nicely done.

Speaking of the time loop, I had a lot of difficulty getting my noggin around that one, but I’ve always found time travel in novels a bit tricky. In this case though, I found it tricky and perhaps a little bit unconvincing (can you say that about a science-fiction novel?). Just my opinion though.

As I said, I was pleasantly surprised. This is an excellent book that I will probably become a bit of a cult classic after the movie is released. I just hope the film does it justice.

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