All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?
“She could walk into any hell and come back unscathed.”
Rita. Vrataski. They call her crazy. They call her a badass. They call her a lot of names.
Angel of Death. Mad Wargarita. Full Metal Bitch.
Few know the truth. That she’s all of those things. And more. And less. Even fewer know the reason why. Keiji Kiriya is about to join their ranks.
This is the story of two ordinary people forced to do the extraordinary; save the human race from an alien invasion. We meet Keiji, a green Japanese recruit, on the day of his first battle. Nothing goes right. It’s an ambush, a slaughter. The members of his unit are dropping like flies. Then he’s fatally injured.
That’s when he meets her. The crazy chick with the broadsword, her armor painted red to draw the enemy straight to her.
“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.”
Rita is one of the most badass characters I’ve ever encountered. I think my favorite thing about her is how understated she is. She doesn’t run around pounding on her chest, aping masculine displays of dominance while declaring her badassery. Off the battlefield, she’s just a regular, small town girl from the midwest. She’s curious, a little gullible, and sweet.
And then she puts on an armor suit, heaves a broadsword, and rains down death and destruction from the mother fucking sky.
Keiji is not a badass. At least not in the beginning of this book. But then he kills a Mimic not quite like the others and inherits their strange ability to alter time, resetting it every time he dies.
He’s also a regular guy. Actually, he’s almost boringly ordinary in the beginning of this. Then he dies. Then he dies some more. Then he dies a lot more. And then he begins to change. He morphs from an average Japanese soldier into a Full Metal Mother Fucker.
This book is incredible. So much better than the movie (view spoiler). Less romance-heavy and more character study meets epic action sequences. And the writing, GAH, the writing. You feel every emotion. You hear every bomb drop:
“I grip the trigger with stiff fingers: my arms shake as I send a rain of scorching steel down onto the enemy. The rifle kicks as I fire it. Vunk. Vunk. Vunk. A beat steadier than my heart. A soldier’s spirit isn’t in his body. It’s in his weapon.”
Now, if only I could kill me a Mimic and experience first time reading this over and over again.