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Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Release Date: Feburary 26, 2003
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 624
Genre: Dystopian, Horror, Thriller, Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Amazon
Buy This At: Amazon

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

I wish my English class had read this book, not going to lie. We read 1984, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, some even read The Hunger Games. I wish my English class read this book when discussing dystopian novels. Koushun Takami really hit home with Battle Royale. 

To all of The Hunger Games worshipers, this book is right up your alley. 42 Japanese students brought to a deserted island to fight to the death. Morbid? Yes. Gruesome? Totally. Intersting? Hell yeah! Oh, did i mention that it's a game show? Battle Royale is a book unlike any other. A true Lord of the Flies via the 21st century. 

Even though there are 42 students, Takami really nails the characters and makes you feel for all of them, even those who don't stand a chance in the dog-eat-dog. He brings you into the book and has you rooting for each character to stay alive, to not give up nor give in! I had gotten so attached to each character it was hard to stop myself from crying after a death. This book is truly sad but memorable. 

Hunger Games fans, I do reccomend this book to you. Don't like Japanese culture? Who cares, that's not what makes this book great. So there are some confusing names, there are confusing names in English novels as well. Don't knock it until you try it. The translation has been revised, the characters make you want to keep their story alive, and who doesn't like a fight scene or some gore? I guarantee  you won't be let down.

First Line: What? Battle Royale?

Story: XS 

Cover: A