My twin review of The Lord Of The Sands Of Time by Issui Ogawa and All You Need Is KILL by Hiroshi Sakurazaka is up now at Strange Horizons:
These are both very short novels – Sands of Time is just over 200 pages—and whilst it is to their credit that they both feel like short novels rather than overgrown short stories they are a long way from being The Great Gatsby. They never manage to go much beyond short stories, clinging to their single central idea, not quite achieving the breadth or depth of a good novel. These are not novels to sink into but discrete packets of entertainment, the ideal sort of thing for a train journey but with the disposability that suggests. If you are heading on such a journey leave Lord of the Sands of Time behind though; it is unoriginal and uninteresting and soon you will be staring out the window. Instead take All You Need Is KILL which, despite being perhaps no less familiar, is punchy and fun and a good way of passing the time.