|Battle Royale |
by Koushun Takami
Pages: 614Released: February 26, 2003
Summary: Take a junior high class. Tell them they're going on a field trip. Put them to sleep and let the battle begin. Okay, that summary was a bit too short. It basically starts out with a class of junior high school students who are on a field trip and are taking a bus to the destination. Along the bus ride, they are put to sleep and wake up in a classroom. A man then proceeds to tell them they are in the program and will have to participate. The program is a battle in which they will have to kill off their classmates until one is left standing. Students are given a bag with food, water, and a random weapon and sent off to roam the islands.
What I liked: This book is so action packed! There are 42 students in the battle and I like how the author gives us their back story rather than just presenting them as a student. Takami does this through various flashback scenes and by putting us in the characters shoes. The kill scenes are not off screen which I really appreciate (because comparing it to Hunger Games--Katniss is the narrator and she only sees what 2 kills?). These kill scenes are also pretty gruesome and very realistic. I like how the author was able to capture the personalities of the characters and we get to see how psychotic/crazy/scared the characters are and their fight for survival. The ending was very good I believe and it was somewhat unexpected.
What I disliked: I really wish Takami did a more in depth job explaining the battle and as to why they put the children at risk. There is a small explanation at the beginning and middle of the story, but I was still confused as to why they have the battle. The novel is translated, so I feel like some of the writing and jokes are not "legit" in English (if that makes sense), I feel like some of it is lost through translation.
Conclusion: This is a roller coaster ride and there is so much action in this book, although I did put it down a few times, once I hit the action sequences I was hooked! Like the back says, it's definitely a "high-octane thriller." If you enjoyed Hunger Games, I believe you'll like this one as well! Another similar book would be The Long Walk by Stephen King which follows the same concept of fight till the death scenario between teens.