Book Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki (Translator)

Blurb: 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.

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Genre: Horror; Thriller; Science Fiction

Length: 617 Pages

Published: 2003 by VIZ, LLC

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Review

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Most people accused The Hunger Games for ripping off Battle Royale’s storyline; however, I didn’t think of it that way. It’s because if I did, most of romance novel I read would be ripped off each other.

The story began when students in class 3-B were going to a study trip, everyone was excited and everything was normal until they were gassed. When they woke up, their life would be changed forever. They were force to take part in government program in which they would have to fight each other to the death. At that point, I was so shock but it was just a beginning. As I read through each sentences, I knew how protagonist felt. Every words shown his confusion and how he struggled to understand the situation which he never would. At least, not until they were told that the reason they were here was to kill each other. It was so sinister; you had to kill 41 lives in order to live. From that moment, even when they were panic, they were trying to survive. It was more intense than The Hunger Game. In The Hunger Games, everyone knew what would happened when you reached 12 years old. However, in this book, the government killing program was top secret. You only knew about it when you were in it.

I’d like to give a round of applause to the author because he didn’t stop at that. The students were force to wear a silver metal collar which could blew your head off. They were also received a map. It shown the location zones which would be forbidden at the certain time. If they were in that zone after the designate time, their collar would be exploded. It meant that at some point, they would eventually have to kill their classmates.

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While The Hunger Games focused on love triangle, Battle Royale was focusing on morality of characters and of course, the killing. Each scene was so graphic and violent. I was stunned by it. Before that, most of characters didn’t know how to kill.  But when they did, it was so brutal. Everyone wanted to live so now they did everything in their power to stay alive: they tricked their friends and betrayed another person’s trust in order to survive. That made the story even darker by each lines and you would never know what would happen next.

The characters were delicately crafted and deliberately developed. Every characters had their own background that you were soon to read. The author even brought the way they had been nurturing into a mix in order to reflect their current behavior. Their thought, their action, and their morals also changed according to the progress of the story and what they were facing. I could say that because of characters like this, it made the story  even more convincing and realistic.

If you love to read horror, thriller, science fiction and super dark young adult book, I’d like to recommend this book to you. In case, you want to read but couldn’t find the copy, you can leave your e-mail in a comment. Shiver

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One Comment Add yours

  1. This was one of my favorite novels in high school and the graphic novels i think captured the spirit really well too. As much as I loved it I have to say I am glad that your review did it justice. You drew out the essentials in such a way that I hope many of your readers are intrigued to pick it up and try it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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