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Battle Royale

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Battle Royale

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I came across this book after reading “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins which was claimed to be a “Battle Royale” rip-off. Needless to say, I was curious… I have to admit, similarities between these two books are undeniable. They both are based on the same idea of teenagers forced to participate in a deadly game where only one person wins and lives. However at the same time these books are completely different. I believe you can enjoy and appreciate them both equally. If “Hunger Games” is more of I came across this book after reading “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins which was claimed to be a “Battle Royale” rip-off. Needless to say, I was curious… I have to admit, similarities between these two books are undeniable. They both are based on the same idea of teenagers forced to participate in a deadly game where only one person wins and lives. However at the same time these books are completely different. I believe you can enjoy and appreciate them both equally. If “Hunger Games” is more of a personal story of survival from the POV of just one "player," “Battle Royale” is a complex story which follows all participants of the game. It is much more brutal, violent, and bloody than “Hunger Games.” The book explores what makes regular kids turn on each other, what in their pasts allows them to commit the ultimate crime or what stops them from participating in the killing game altogether. I have to warn however about a couple of things. First, the book has a lot of Japanese names that sound (and look) very similar. So in the beginning it can be hard to follow all characters, but you get used to them eventually. Another concern of mine is the quality of translation. It could have definitely been better. At times I felt something was lost in translation. But I immensely enjoyed this book in spite of the flaws. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is not against gory and bloody reads.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marley

    So unputdownable it's ridiculous. Took a 4-hour plane ride i intended to sleep on and instead read all 624 pages of this; and while I'm a fast reader, even I'm not THAT fast usually. Basically, as everyone else is saying, it's a book about one class of Japanese junior high kids put on an island with a small bag of supplies, a random weapon (grenade? crossbow? Uzi? fork?), an exploding tracking collar, and orders to kill, kill, kill. Nice fascist dystopia world you see around the edges of this pla So unputdownable it's ridiculous. Took a 4-hour plane ride i intended to sleep on and instead read all 624 pages of this; and while I'm a fast reader, even I'm not THAT fast usually. Basically, as everyone else is saying, it's a book about one class of Japanese junior high kids put on an island with a small bag of supplies, a random weapon (grenade? crossbow? Uzi? fork?), an exploding tracking collar, and orders to kill, kill, kill. Nice fascist dystopia world you see around the edges of this place, but it doesn't go into so much detail you're distracted from the "good stuff." And the "good stuff" is watching all the little petty relationships of being 15 suddenly twisted horribly by the extreme fear of knowing only one person will be allowed to live. It's ridiculous, and it's full of eye-popping, gut-wrenching violence. You keep getting thrown into the head of someone and given their whole mental landscape for maybe 1 or 2 chapters, before they die in some completely awful way--which means you root pretty hard for some people you know are doomed, you find yourself almost applauding the death of some stuck-up jerks (and then feel bad about it), and you watch helplessly as some real sociopaths mow down one kid after another. More than anything, this is like watching a horribly-violent low-budget exploitation movie you see at midnight somewhere--there's ZERO surprise it was almost instantly adapted into a movie. It's pulp squared, but like many things this aggressively pulpy, it's got a message under there as well. Great entertainment for people with a tolerance for high amounts of violence, but also a really well-done study of the psychology of extreme fear, and some insights about totalitarianism as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I first read this story in Manga form a few years ago (one of only two manga series I've enjoyed) and I quickly became addicted to these characters and their individual stories. Whilst reading Battle Royale, you go on an intense journey into the minds of nearly all 42 students and discover what it is about them that enables normal high school kids to kill their classmates - or decide not to. I'd recommend reading the manga before or instead of the novel for a few reasons. For one, it makes it a l I first read this story in Manga form a few years ago (one of only two manga series I've enjoyed) and I quickly became addicted to these characters and their individual stories. Whilst reading Battle Royale, you go on an intense journey into the minds of nearly all 42 students and discover what it is about them that enables normal high school kids to kill their classmates - or decide not to. I'd recommend reading the manga before or instead of the novel for a few reasons. For one, it makes it a lot easier to keep up with all the similar sounding names when you have a face to put to it. For another thing, you don't have to struggle through a translation that isn't too smooth. I felt there were times during the novel where the sentences were disjointed and/or abrupt, it wasn't a huge problem for me but I know it will annoy some other readers more. Though I appreciate that the violence in Battle Royale might make some readers queasy, I never found it to be gratuitous like a lot of other people did. It's not unrealistic that when people are put into a situation of great fear and distrust they will go to any lengths to survive. It's biological. If you're in a kill or be killed situation, then nine times out of ten you will choose your own life. And if you're in a situation where someone with a gun may or may not be trying to kill you, are you going to ask questions first and risk getting your head blown off? Maybe. But you're either braver or sillier than most, then. I am going to compare this to The Hunger Games, though not because I want to make a statement about how Collins plagiarised - she probably didn't and, even if she did, no one's going to prove it either way. Their similarities just make them good books to use for a comparison: fight to the death, teenagers, isolated arena, etc. The Hunger Games, as I'm sure you all know, focuses on Katniss and her life, the other characters - both good and bad - are seen solely through her eyes. In Battle Royale, the perspective changes frequently (I liked it but it may infuriate some) and looks at many different types of people. Though both stories are considered dystopias, I think The Hunger Games' world is more developed and easier to picture as a reality. I have a very clear idea in my mind of the Capitol and the districts, I don't have such a vivid image of this oppressive Japanese state... though I don't really think that's the point. For me, Battle Royale is a much more psychological story, it looks into the dark depths of the human mind and doesn't censor anything it finds. I think it's more frightening because of the collars that can be made to explode at any time, because of the time limit set on the players, and because all the participants are classmates. I also felt there was a greater sense of urgency. On the other hand, I think The Hunger Games is a more emotional read. BR is an interesting exploration of the human mind, I liked finding out why the students were able to do what they did, but the only death that really filled me with regret was (view spoiler)[Shinji Mimura (hide spoiler)] and that was only a touch. As much as I like BR, it does seem a little like a case study at times. The Hunger Games' strength is that it is the opposite of this; you really care about Katniss and what she does for her sister, the choices she makes affect the reader emotionally instead of just being something to scrutinize. Maybe they were built on the same ideas, but both novels do something very different and I appreciate them equally. My biggest criticism of Battle Royale is Shuya - the good guy. He is the weak link in a great novel. Why? Because he's so goddamn perfect. Good-looking. Popular. Talented in sports and music. Kind. Self-sacrificing. I just don't like heroes, give me someone who reeks of humanity any day over the one who seems unnaturally above it all. Final note: About what I said at the start - if you thought the novel had too much graphic violence, ignore my recommendation for the manga. If you don't like reading about it, I'm certain you won't want to look at it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    I FINALLY FINISHED. WOW. In my opinion, this book could (and should) have been way shorter. The only reason this book is so long is because the author felt it necessary to go into tons of detail about each character's backstory before killing them off. I can see why some people might like that, but it didn't work for me. I really enjoyed the ending though, so I'm glad I pushed through! I also loved how brutal this book was, both in terms of the violence and the way the characters interacted with e I FINALLY FINISHED. WOW. In my opinion, this book could (and should) have been way shorter. The only reason this book is so long is because the author felt it necessary to go into tons of detail about each character's backstory before killing them off. I can see why some people might like that, but it didn't work for me. I really enjoyed the ending though, so I'm glad I pushed through! I also loved how brutal this book was, both in terms of the violence and the way the characters interacted with each other. They swore and did all sorts of crazy things, and none of that is hidden from the reader which I thought was really refreshing. This one is definitely not your typical YA novel (if you'd even call it that.) So overall I enjoyed this, but obviously didn't LOVE it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    Before reading this book, I believe Ms. Collins, author of The Hunger Games, had ripped off Battle Royale, and after reading BR the novel, I continue to believe THG is a rip-off. For example: (1) different bags of weapons and food given by the government (2) the battle filed gets smaller everyday (3)(view spoiler)[two 'winners' in the end instead of just one (hide spoiler)] (4) The backstory of a former winner who had lost a girl he loved in a previous game (5) said former winner doing what he could Before reading this book, I believe Ms. Collins, author of The Hunger Games, had ripped off Battle Royale, and after reading BR the novel, I continue to believe THG is a rip-off. For example: (1) different bags of weapons and food given by the government (2) the battle filed gets smaller everyday (3)(view spoiler)[two 'winners' in the end instead of just one (hide spoiler)] (4) The backstory of a former winner who had lost a girl he loved in a previous game (5) said former winner doing what he could to help the main couple (6) former winners joining the game (BR movie, Catching Fire) (7) a 'host' saying cheerful things on air throughout the game (8) the names of the dead teens being announced by the end of every day Someone else had already done the comparison in a more detailed way than I did: http://www.buzzfeed.com/miamaria/35-r... On the Author's Note part of the Chinese version of Battle Royale, the author expressed his regret of making America look like some sort of Promise Land when he first penned this novel, it's made clear that his view on this country had later been changed. I recalled Haruki Murakami also expressed similar regret in one of his articles. It seems like back when Murakami's generation was young, America was the Promise Land, a place where 'the beach is clean, the sky is bluer, girls are pretty, the sun seems to always shine and youth can last forever' (line taken from Murakami's novel). But later they realized it's not the case. Still, I am surprised to see Mr. Koushun Takami managed to fill so much youthful spirit and rebellion into his story, I am also delighted to find his novel managing to make meaningful comments on friendship, dreams, trust, the strength/weakness of love, freedom and the power of individuals beyond the gruesome plotlines of teenagers killing other teenagers. In my opinion, this article points out the real difference between BR and THG: if it's rebellion you want, you’re better off seeing/reading Battle Royale. I understand why some people may find the violence in BR offensive and unbearable, because Mr. Takami refused to be half-heartened when it comes to the violent scenes in his book. But it's okay with me because (1) not once does I feel Mr. Takami is being showy or careless about the violence in his book, (2) those violent scenes serve to make us see the brutal reality of the students' situation, (3) I would rather see authors be honest about violence than having them treated violence and death with a pair of fine kid gloves, like Suzanne Collins had done with The Hunger Games. I had watched the BR movies years ago, but reading the novel version of it still manages to provide new insight to different subjects: human nature, freedom and survival etc. As you might also notice, the Japanese society is not big on rebellion and individualism, instead said society likes to highlight conformity and orders whilst giving punishment to those who disobey orders and/or refuse to conform. Under such context, it's surprising for Mr. Koushun to come up with a book such as Battle Royale in the late 1990s. I have no idea what had inspired Mr. Koushun to write BR, I have not read any author interview and I know next to nothing about the author, aside from the fact that BR is Mr. Koushun's first novel and before he published this book (he was around age 30 at that point), Mr. Koushun had once been working for the press. Therefore I can only guess that his experience and the exposure he had with different social issues had somehow motivated him to create a book such as BR. Still, Mr. Koushun's fondness of Rock n' Roll is obviously showed through his writing. I'm delighted to see those references of rock music in the book, the author mentioned not only the classic Western rock music, he even brought up an iconic Chinese rock classic: Nothing to My Name , which is not well known outside of the Chinese-speaking circles. Looks like Rock n Roll still carries the dream of rebellion and freedom after so many decades has passed. However, the book does have its flaws, most of the characters are vividly written but their characterizations are not really so outstanding. Plus the male MC's character can be a bit unrealistic at times, I mean, how come there're so many girls who happen to have a crush on him!? When I was reading Battle Royale, Hong Kong young people had also been (and still are) engaging in a battle of their future and the city's own future too: LINKS: http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/2014/09/... http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/2014/10/... It's not only students and young people, alongside them there are many many brave men and women from all walks of life, and elderly who are still young and hopeful at hearts. The yearning for freedom stubbornly refuses to die, the desire to take charge of our own fates stubbornly refuses to die, imagination and free will also stubbornly refuse to die, that's why we must fight for them. Just some 20 days ago, I was there when tear gas bombs were fired against peaceful protesters, and the fight still goes on. Because of what has been going on around me in the real world, I understand BR even better, I understand this need and necessary to fight back, I understand why hope is so important for our survival, I understand how sometime the suppressing government and society leave people no other choose but to run or fight back. (Photo of Hong Kong youngsters running from police after a crush down @28/11/2014, from United Social Press Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnitedSocial...) In a sense, we were all born to run, just like the ending of BR. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_to_Run) Finished@14/11/2014

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matteo Fumagalli

    Videorecensione: https://youtu.be/3DIz-1bn_R4 Il film (perla vera di un regista storico come Kinji Fukasaku) è stato un must della mia preadolescenza. Visto un milione di volte e amato alla follia. Per qualche motivo, non avevo mai letto il romanzo. Lacuna che ho colmato durante queste (brevi) vacanze. Il libro è oggettivamente scritto male male, ma scorre liscio, avvincendo e tenendo incollati talmente tanto che queste 670 pagine scorrono in un battibaleno. Che bello ritrovare personaggi che nel Videorecensione: https://youtu.be/3DIz-1bn_R4 Il film (perla vera di un regista storico come Kinji Fukasaku) è stato un must della mia preadolescenza. Visto un milione di volte e amato alla follia. Per qualche motivo, non avevo mai letto il romanzo. Lacuna che ho colmato durante queste (brevi) vacanze. Il libro è oggettivamente scritto male male, ma scorre liscio, avvincendo e tenendo incollati talmente tanto che queste 670 pagine scorrono in un battibaleno. Che bello ritrovare personaggi che nel film avevo amato come Shuya, Shogo, Noriko, Takako, Mitsuko e Hiroki qui ancora più approfonditi. I pro del romanzo? Una maggiore attenzione sulle tematiche politiche e satiriche sulla distopia e la natura del gioco del massacro (che nel film vengono tralasciate) e un forte studio psicologico di TUTTI i personaggi (per ovvie ragioni, il film tagliava le storie degli studenti meno centrali, ma che bello scoprire il background di Yoshimi, personaggio più complesso di quel che sembra), dando loro quasi egual importanza. Sebbene alcune scene splatter restino insuperate nel film, per creatività e estro visionario (l'epica scena del faro risulta, nel romanzo, molto più piatta), il libro è maggiormente crudele e sanguinario. Se poi la forte attenzione alla sfera romantica dei legami tra studenti può sembrare inizialmente estremismo manga, ben presto si svela vincente nella caratterizzazione psicologica degli stessi: adolescenti (ancora non uomini e donne), costretti a diventare adulti in una società (molto vicina alla realtà) competitiva, dove la sopravvivenza segue logiche darwiniste, lontana dall'empatia e la collaborazione. Non mancano i difetti (soprattutto di scrittura), ma "Battle Royale" è uno young adult di classe, infinite spanne sopra il 90% della roba analoga che esce recentemente.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    A busload of Japanese teenagers is kidnapped and dumped off on an island, where they are forced to fight to the death until one student remains, all in the name of The Program. Which of the 42 students will survive? I remember hearing about the film version of Battle Royale ages ago but never managed to watch it. Seeing that a lot of people compare The Hunger Games to Battle Royale, I figured I should give it a shot and I'm quite glad I did. Battle Royale is The Hunger Games with more gore and wi A busload of Japanese teenagers is kidnapped and dumped off on an island, where they are forced to fight to the death until one student remains, all in the name of The Program. Which of the 42 students will survive? I remember hearing about the film version of Battle Royale ages ago but never managed to watch it. Seeing that a lot of people compare The Hunger Games to Battle Royale, I figured I should give it a shot and I'm quite glad I did. Battle Royale is The Hunger Games with more gore and without the annoying love triangle. Battle Royale takes place in an alternate present, where Japan is largely a totalitarian police state. Every year, a class is chosen for The Program, a free for all that makes Thunderdome look like an episode of The Care Bears. Each student is given a backpack and a weapon and turned loose one at a time. To make things interesting, there are forbidden zones on the island and anyone caught in one is killed instantly via the explosive collar they are all forced to wear. Sound good? People are killed right off the bat and the book never lets up. I had a pretty good idea who would survive based on who got the most time on screen but the journey was well worth it. Kazuo and Mitsuko both needed their hash settled from the opening bell. I mentioned gore earlier and this book has more than its share of gruesome killings. Hatchets to the face, many, many stabbings, gunshots galore, and lots of betrayal and deception on top of it. The writing was also pretty good. Aside from a couple very minor hiccups, I would never guess it was a translation. In the afterword, Takami mentions Stephen King and Robert Parker as his big influences and I think it shows in the text. The explosive collars are straight out of the Running Man movie (not from the novel). The intro reminded me of the intro to Needful Things. Since I'm only giving it a four, I guess I'll complain about a couple things. Shuya didn't have much personality enough though he was supposed to be the hero. Kazuo was overly powerful and seemed to have unlimited ammo. It was hard to keep track of who was who at times because of similar sounding names. However, all these were minor complaints and I found Battle Royale to be quite an enjoyable read. Four out of five stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simeon

    I read the first hundred pages of Battle Royale and fell asleep. That night I dreamt that I was in The Program. (I remember fleeing a pretty intense gunfight and thinking nonsensically: dammit, at least I'm getting good exercise.) I hardly thought about it until the next evening, when I began to read again and only finished as the sun rose. You cannot know gunfights or car chases until you've read Battle Royale. It's fantastical, it's pulpy, and it's brilliant. I wish it had been written with more I read the first hundred pages of Battle Royale and fell asleep. That night I dreamt that I was in The Program. (I remember fleeing a pretty intense gunfight and thinking nonsensically: dammit, at least I'm getting good exercise.) I hardly thought about it until the next evening, when I began to read again and only finished as the sun rose. You cannot know gunfights or car chases until you've read Battle Royale. It's fantastical, it's pulpy, and it's brilliant. I wish it had been written with more realism, but you can't have everything. Perhaps Koushun Takami will write another, some day.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Becky

    For the last, oh, 200 pages of this book or so, I kept thinking about what I'd say in my review. I never know how I'll start a review, but this time I kept thinking of possible opening lines. But, like Lays potato chips, I couldn't stop at just one, so here are my top 3, in no particular order: 1. There... once... was... a... book... of... ellipses... which... occasionally... had... words... in... between... them... 2. I'll never read the phrase "That's right" the same way again. 3. I see dead p For the last, oh, 200 pages of this book or so, I kept thinking about what I'd say in my review. I never know how I'll start a review, but this time I kept thinking of possible opening lines. But, like Lays potato chips, I couldn't stop at just one, so here are my top 3, in no particular order: 1. There... once... was... a... book... of... ellipses... which... occasionally... had... words... in... between... them... 2. I'll never read the phrase "That's right" the same way again. 3. I see dead people. Finally. Like many people (I assume) I heard of Battle Royale through The Hunger Games, as people like to claim that THG is derivative of Battle Royale and whatnot. And so, at a library sale last year, I acquired a copy. I was all excited about it, too, because it was super cheap (it was bag day - everything you can stuff into a grocery sized paper bag is $3. SCORE!), and because I love me some everybody-dies-and-the-world's-fucked-up-dystopia. Grim and gritty and violent? Awesome. Only, UGH. In case you couldn't guess from the eleventy-million ranty-sarcastic status updates, I didn't enjoy this book. It was not awesome. It was awful. AWFUL. It actually started out intriguing enough, but when I hit the first instance of the Dramatic Ellipses Pause, it caught me off guard, like stepping off a curb that's about 3 inches higher than you expected, and it made me furrow my brow and think, "That was awkward." When I ran into the second one just a little bit later, it was like walking into a spiderweb face-first. I should have seen it coming, and now there's annoying shit in my face. I should have known that things were only going to go downhill from there, writing wise. Not only because the Dramatic Ellipses Pause was such a flow killer, but because it heralded all sorts of... irksome quirks that were soon to come. Now I know that this is a translation, and not a very good one, by all accounts. And I know that Japanese culture is different from my own (one of the big themes in the book, actually), and that their way of speaking and thinking and behaving is different from the way I would do it. I have no problem with that. I would like to state for the record that I never expected this book to read as though it was written by an American. But I'm not going to just give all of the bad writing in this book a pass because it's poorly translated from Japanese. Repetition is repetition in any language. There are only so many times I can take being told the same things, over and over and over again, sometimes several times a page, before I start losing my shit. We're told repeatedly how smart certain characters are, how well-regarded they are by their peers, or how poorly thought of they are, or how this one is a star shortstop, or that one is a star basketball freethrower guy, or the other one is a star violinist, or another one is a star evil bitch with an angelic smile. (Oh, and in between this narration, and whatever action happens to be going on, we also have the character's inner-dialogue going on. I say dialogue, not monologue, because almost every time, it's seriously like reading a two-sided conversation they're having with themselves, where they repeat many of the same things AGAIN, because, you know, they've got to convince themselves of stuff or something.) Stupid, annoying characters are stupid, annoying characters in any language. I get it. They are kids, and they are thrown into this horrifying situation, of course it's natural to be shocked. How the characters react is one of the reasons that people read books like this. But at some point, the characters have to get over that shit. There's a line from The Shawshank Redemption that says it best: "It comes down to a simple choice, get busy living or get busy dying." So much of this book was spent on shock and disbelief that I was ready to start smashing skulls myself. Again and again and again, we're told how this character or that character or somesuch other character just couldn't believe that their class was chosen, that their class was here, that they were really playing, that they were up for it and killing each other. Again and again. Every perspective change we have to go through the same 7-stage process. Every conversation covers the same ground. Does it make me a terrible person that I just wanted them to start killing each other already?? Just to stop the horrible repetition. And they're supposed to be smart, but they have NO common sense or sense of self-preservation. "It's important that I discuss and explain my intricate plan that you aren't really going to understand anyway, rather than think about the fact that someone could overhear it and that that would be bad." Good going, genius. These kids grew up in this society where even misinterpreted comments about the government could get you thrown into a re-education camp, or worse, killed, and they think that a government sponsored, run, and meticulously tracked program is just going to stop listening to the 40-some people who now have the most reason to turn against them? And not only should these kids just straight up assume their every movement and sound is being recorded, but you'd THINK they'd be wary of their own classmates overhearing them. Apparently not. Then there's the ridiculous romance aspects of the story. Because 15 year olds are such noble romantic creatures that form lasting, twu-wuv bonds. And, yet again, how many times do we need to see the "Do you have a crush on someone?" conversation played out? It was awkward the first time, and the second time, and the every-fucking-time. It felt like a grown man was trying to write teenagers talking about their crushes. That's right... It was that. Seriously, I think that the author really has no idea what a crush is, and thinks that it's either True Love, Soulmate style, or the most dedicated and creepy stalker behavior ever. I'm not sure which, but both were depicted in this book, so maybe that's my answer. It's sure as hell not depicted in any way that's realistic. "Hey, you're cute and cool and I like sitting 3 rows behind you in math. I'll write your initials and my initials together in a heart shape inside a notebook that I'll never show to another soul ever, and I'll fantasize about what it would be like to go out with you. But I'm not going to die for you, or with you, and if it looks like there's a chance you'll be attracting danger, I'm abandoning you because I don't really fucking know you, and this ain't Romeo and Juliet. You're just kinda cute. There are lots of kinda cute people out there. Sorry." Then there are the semi-apologies-in-advance. "I didn't tell you, but, here's an explanation of something that I had no reason to ever think to tell you previously because it's seriously irrelevant to anything but this exact situation right now, and you didn't need to know it anyway. But sorry I didn't tell you." Or "It might be disrespectful to say this, but, I am going to finish this sentence by saying something completely banal." (This one is probably a culture thing, to be fair.) Or "I don't know what to say, but, right now the words coming out of my mouth are going to be something appropriate to say in this situation, which is the very thing I said I didn't know how to say when I started this sentence." That's right... I just remembered the thing that I had forgotten until right now, which is that this kind of sentence occurred way too fucking often in this book. That's right... I've come to a conclusion. That's right... I just remembered to say the thing I just thought of to say. That's right, I just thought of a question. Can I ask you a question? That's right, the question would be right here. That's right, now I'm going to say more things that I just remembered or decided to say. That's right... blah blah blah blah... I think it's probably a good thing that I don't have this book in e-book format, because I'd be so tempted to search key words and phrases just to see how many times they're actually used. I'm that annoyed with this book. I want stats and numbers to quantify my suffering. I have no idea why this book is so highly regarded, except that it's reached cult classic status, and therefore it MUST be amazing. Oh, dang it. I just broke my sarcasm key. *sigh* Edited: First to correct a typo, and second to add some commentary about the point of this book, which is from one of my posts in the discussion below: I did [actually] get the point of this. At the end, it's put out there that having this kind of Program is useful for controlling the populace. They (the people) don't know the rules and the details, they just know of the Program and see it through the lens that the government wants them to. They see it as a competition, that people are ruthless and willing to kill, or at least use others to protect themselves, and that it's everyone for themselves. This, combined with the fear tactics that the government uses (hauling people away to re-education camps or just outright killing them) makes the probability of someone gathering people together to fight against the government unlikely - because nobody can really trust that the others aren't going to betray them. It's actually effective, and had this been less painful to read, I'd probably have loved it. But the writing got in the way of the message, I think.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Will M.

    42 children forced to kill each other. Around 15 year old children forced to become violent and merciless killers. Only one can survive this brutal bloodbath. It's all about strategy and being emotionless. Who will prevail? The premise was not new to me, but the execution was spectacular. Not only did the author managed to impress me with the plot, but he also managed to make me feel sympathy toward some of the characters. I'll be honest and say that it would be impossible to feel sympathy toward 42 children forced to kill each other. Around 15 year old children forced to become violent and merciless killers. Only one can survive this brutal bloodbath. It's all about strategy and being emotionless. Who will prevail? The premise was not new to me, but the execution was spectacular. Not only did the author managed to impress me with the plot, but he also managed to make me feel sympathy toward some of the characters. I'll be honest and say that it would be impossible to feel sympathy toward all 42 of them, but I still managed to feel a sense of connection toward a few of them. The most impressive attribute of this novel would be the writing. It was vivid. Some would say too vivid, but for me, the more violent, the better. This novel promised a battle royale among teenagers, but what happened was not completely unbelievable. If thrown in together with a bunch of your classmates and forced to kill each other, some people tend to lose their minds. The whole idea of it is not completely unlikely to happen, but odds are it wouldn't. The children here were brutal to the point that they had no hearts. I'm not Japanese, but I still think that Japanese people don't exude the violent characteristics that the author portrayed. The defense though would be that this is a work of fiction. It can be as absurd as it can be. There are some work of fiction that tend to go overboard regarding the absurdity, but for me this novel had the perfect amount. It was believable, and honestly I'm a bit terrified because of it. The amount of violence clearly exceeded the normal level. I liked that. I wanted the blood bath and I got it. The Hunger Games in comparison was a lot more mellow and teenager friendly, but this one was gut wrenching awesome. If you cannot stomach even a little amount of violence, then stay away from this novel. The fucking plot twist in the end. I didn't see it. Wait, let me correct myself, the plot twists. Multiple plot twists simultaneously showed up and it was a mind fuck experience. The author decided to wait for the last few chapters to make me feel like shit for not expecting the ending. I really didn't expect that to happen at all. He slowly gave the ending away near the end though, so I actually did see some things happening, but only when he started to hint them coming. All throughout the novel I was fixating that (view spoiler)[ Shuya was going to win. He was the Katniss Everdeen of the novel. The author managed to shock me that Kawada betrayed them. Then he shocked me again after the plot twist that it was all Kawada's plan and Shuya and Noriko were still alive. They lived and Kawada died. Kawada who was the one who hacked the neck collars before the whole thing even started. His death was unjust, but I'm glad Shuya and Noriko lived. Now they're outlaws. I don't know why I didn't see this coming. Either I'm losing my sense of intuition or the author is just really good. (hide spoiler)] . Despite all the great things mentioned, I still had some problems with the novel. The main thing would be that there were too many characters to begin with. At first I thought it wouldn't be a problem, but along the way some characters weren't even that interesting. I'm aware of them being minor characters, but I still wanted at least an in depth explanation of who they were. Some characters were forced to be explained and they ended up pretentious and annoying. The good side though was that the good characters had more attention and were developed perfectly. Another problem would be the safe zones. They weren't evident enough to be interesting. They were only mentioned at least 5 times if I remember correctly, so the students didn't seem like they were really being forced to be near each other. And the last would be the lack of survival strategies present. There were some, but not interesting enough. I wanted to see more ways of them looking for food, building shelters, and more. Despite not being centralized as a survival book, it should still be heavily implied that the students would be looking for ways to survive, while trying to kill each other(or not) at the same time. This novel will always be compared to Collins' The Hunger Games and Stephen King's The Long Walk. The Hunger games was more similar to this, but still different in its own way. The Long Walk had a different take on it, despite some similarities. Everyone should be aware though that there's really no such thing as a new idea when it comes to writing. Somewhere in the world someone has probably written about your idea already. The only thing one can hope for would be the terrific execution. Battle Royale and The Long Walk both were executed perfectly. I'm not going to chose which one I liked better because I believe I liked them both perfectly the same. I honestly can't say the same for THG, but that was still good nonetheless. 5/5 stars. Terrific writing, interesting characters, and a perfect ending. I will most probably read this again in the future. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    F

    This is more like a 4.5 out of 5. I loved this book so much. Such an original twisted story. I got a little confused over all the japanese names but luckily once they started to die off I got to grips with who a lot of them were. I love books that have some short chapters and some long chapters. The student count at the end of each chapter. Loved shogo. Also LOVED the end. Even though I seen the movie years ago i had forgot what happened. Brillant

  12. 3 out of 5

    Brandy

    I picked this up based on the fervor over "OMG The Hunger Games so totally ripped this off." And for the first half of this book, I agreed: I thought I knew exactly where BR was going, and how it would get there. It's the story of 40 teens who are instructed to kill each other until only one remains, and are each given a bag containing food, water, and a weapon--some as great as machine guns, others as worthless as forks. Early on some alliances are made, then broken; people are betrayed and kil I picked this up based on the fervor over "OMG The Hunger Games so totally ripped this off." And for the first half of this book, I agreed: I thought I knew exactly where BR was going, and how it would get there. It's the story of 40 teens who are instructed to kill each other until only one remains, and are each given a bag containing food, water, and a weapon--some as great as machine guns, others as worthless as forks. Early on some alliances are made, then broken; people are betrayed and killed. But about halfway through, Battle Royale and The Hunger Games part company. By the end, I don't think it's the same story at all. It's a similar story, definitely, but BR's strength is that most of the 40 characters manage to be sympathetic characters. We get backstory on just about all of them, find out who they were before they were thrown int this crazy game, what motivates them to do certain things, and we even see their individual battles against each other. There are a couple of factions we return to multiple times, the ones who are clearly our heroes, but with only one or two exceptions we don't have villains. Hunger Games, everyone who wasn't from District 12 was a villain, someone to be avoided and distrusted, and that was easy because we didn't know who those other characters were. In Battle Royale, we know all these people--they're classmates, some dating back to elementary school. There are histories here, friendships and crushes and romantic entanglements, and that makes the killing that much more horrible. Oh, and for those who thought Hunger Games was a violent book? Whooooooooo boy. This was absolutely horrifying at times. The gunfights were bad enough, but the graphic descriptions of hand-to-hand combat were particularly brutal. It's not the violence that's gratuitous, exactly, but the lengthy descriptions of it, and even that goes a long way toward world-building and accurately conveying the horror of the situation. A bit on the writing: This is not Shakespeare. There's a lot of "basically" and "of course" and "in other words," and there's a LOT of use of the passive voice. Whether this is a writing issue or a translation one is a mystery to me, but you'll roll your eyes at the writing at least once a chapter, I'd say. (Note that I remember seeing at least 70 chapters here... start your eye exercises now, so you're prepared for all the rolling!) But writing quirks aside, this is really engrossing, the kind of book I blew bedtime by several hours for three nights running.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cassy

    Whenever I think of this book, I picture Takami sitting down with a piece of paper and making a list of dozens of cool, violent ways to kill a person. Poison! Jumping off a cliff! Lot of guns! Strangulation! An exploding head! Falling off a roof! And my personal favorite, splitting open a head with a machete like it is a ripe watermelon! Then he goes about the task of writing a book that incorporates each and every one of these deaths. And are you concerned that you will never keep up with all the Whenever I think of this book, I picture Takami sitting down with a piece of paper and making a list of dozens of cool, violent ways to kill a person. Poison! Jumping off a cliff! Lot of guns! Strangulation! An exploding head! Falling off a roof! And my personal favorite, splitting open a head with a machete like it is a ripe watermelon! Then he goes about the task of writing a book that incorporates each and every one of these deaths. And are you concerned that you will never keep up with all the Japanese names? Never fear! For 85% of the cast, you don’t really need to know their names. Within a few pages of being introduced to someone, you can safely bet they’ll be dead. You have to remember the premise of the book promises 40 odd deaths in the span of 600 pages. You do the math. Or I'll do it for you. That's a death every 15 pages (assuming they are evenly spaced, which they basically are). In all seriousness, the translation is shoddy. And I think Hunger Games has more heart. But this book is worth reading – although, perhaps not during a trip to celebrate your second wedding anniversary. It is entertaining in a gruesome way. It is certainly fast paced. And there are a few interesting ideas hidden beneath the gore. Would you trust the person to your left not to kill you if encouraged? No? Or the right? Well, RUN!!!

  14. 3 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    Everything about this book makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. I say again, "yuck yuck yuck," both to the absurd violence and the shallow emotion of this story. Every time the plot turned toward something interesting, it was quickly replaced by a turn toward Lame. I get why SO MANY people compared The Hunger Games with this book (which is the reason I picked Battle Royale up in the first place) because of the basic Lord of the Flies, kids-will-be-kids premise. I, however, found Battle Ro Everything about this book makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. I say again, "yuck yuck yuck," both to the absurd violence and the shallow emotion of this story. Every time the plot turned toward something interesting, it was quickly replaced by a turn toward Lame. I get why SO MANY people compared The Hunger Games with this book (which is the reason I picked Battle Royale up in the first place) because of the basic Lord of the Flies, kids-will-be-kids premise. I, however, found Battle Royale nowhere near as disturbing or thought provoking on a personal level as The Hunger Games. The violence is ridiculous, and even from the first chapter the plot is so obvious, even the way various characters will meet their tragic ends is so obvious, that the only conflict it caused for me was whether to give in to my stubbornness about finishing books or just give up after the first hundred pages. I'm not prepared to defend the violence in The Hunger Games, or comment as to whether I thought it was cheesy or not, but in that book it is not the sole focus of the story. I think the violence is basically boring in both, but in the Hunger Games there is at least less of it, so I have less to be bored with. For me, the value of the Hunger Games is in presenting a model of a girl action hero who is genuinely there as a female perspective and not ultimately an object of male desire like most female characters who are set up as being girl action heroes. I think that is why the comparison of the two doesn't seem very valuable to me. Battle Royale obviously does more with the violence, so if that is something that is a draw to a reader, that reader will definitely prefer Battle Royale. Hunger Games does more for changing the narrative of female protagonists, so if that is a draw to a reader, as it is to me, that reader might prefer Hunger Games. The descriptions were very anime, which makes me think that if the writing had been beautiful, or if any of the emotion had seemed deep, I may have liked this book. The end was plot-twist after plot-twist (you thought they were dead?! No! Alive! No, wait, dead. Like that part in Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill), and half of the twists gave me hope that they would redeem the story. The other half killed those hopes. My advice is that if you think you feel like reading this book, maybe you actually feel like watching Cowboy Beebop. I don't think you'll regret it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    AMEERA

    3.75/5 absolutely this book like the hunger games or the hunger games like it but of course has different things and I think i loved the Hunger Games more

  16. 4 out of 5

    ♆Hayley

    “Now then, I want you to write this down. To memorize something, it’s best to write it down. Write this. ‘We will kill each other.’ Write it three times.” ... “Okay then. ‘If I don’t kill, I will be killed.’ Write this down three times too.” This was truly madness. I remember when The Hunger Games came out everyone was saying it was the poor man’s version of Battle Royale. Damn, was that an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Hunger Games but it’s nothing compared to the masterpiece tha “Now then, I want you to write this down. To memorize something, it’s best to write it down. Write this. ‘We will kill each other.’ Write it three times.” ... “Okay then. ‘If I don’t kill, I will be killed.’ Write this down three times too.” This was truly madness. I remember when The Hunger Games came out everyone was saying it was the poor man’s version of Battle Royale. Damn, was that an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Hunger Games but it’s nothing compared to the masterpiece that is Battle Royale. In The Hunger Games characters are killing people they don’t even know, from places they’ve never been. In Battle Royale they’re killing their childhood friends, their boyfriends or girlfriends, their crushes, their teammates. Kids they’ve grown up with, who they’ve seen everyday. Kids they have bonded with through years of childhood and adolescences. Friends they think they’re going on a fun school trip with, so they’ve packed treats, they’re ready to gossip about their crushes, sneak away for some stolen kisses, maybe even get laid. They fucking K N O W each other, intimately.You get me? Instead they are abandoned on an island and forced to kill each other, and it’s fucking brutal. “They tried to believe in their classmates. They must have believed that if we could all get together, then we might end up being saved. We should commend them for that. We couldn't do that.” I’ve read a lot of horror and thriller novels but I’ve never read anything like this. The suspense is unreal and no other books come close. There are really two different kinds of suspense: 1. You (the reader), along with the characters, have no idea what the fuck is going on so you’re full of suspicion, rushing to put everything together before it’s too late. 2. You (the reader) know E X A C T L Y what the fuck is going on so you’re screaming inside as the characters trust someone they shouldn’t, walk right into a trap, misinterpret something, etc. Because this book is told through the rotating POV of every character I got both these kinds of suspense, and it’s delicious. I encountered students that I hadn’t met before so I had no idea if they were “playing the game”. I was suspicious and whispering “Don’t trust them”, waiting for them to turn on them and beat them to death with their aluminum bat (or you know, stab them with a FORK if that was their assigned weapon). OR I encountered students that I KNEW were playing the game and I was screaming “DO NOT TRUST THEM! IT’S A TRAP!!”. I got to be the hunter and the hunted. The person who spends all their time looking for their crush so that they can tell them they love them. The best friends hiding in the dark together and whispering about boys they like as a distraction. The betrayed and the betrayer. I know, I know, rotating through 38 POVs sounds exhausting and confusing but it was executed so well and each character was so different. I loved that I got to experience the Program through all different eyes and the experience would not have been the same if it wasn’t written this way. I got to see through the eyes of the avid hunters, the hiders, the plotters and I-don’t-want-to-kill-anyone-but-I’m-just-trying-to-survive-ers. I saw it all. “I killed him because it looked like he wasn’t going to kill you after all.” Another thing that added to the suspense were the different assigned weapons. Every student had a randomly assigned weapon in their day pack and they ranged from a FUCKING FORK to an Uzi. One girl had a freaking boomerang! It was horrifying reading the POV of a character crawling around with a fork when you know that there is a psycho out there with a submachine gun. There were so many twists I didn’t see coming and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I had no idea how it was going to end. No one and nothing felt safe, even lovers and best friends, and I LOVED that. There were points while reading this that I was either sitting on my couch in stunned silence or screaming at my BF, “CAN YOU BELIEVE!?”. It was really fun trying to keep track of where everyone was, who was “playing” and who wasn’t, what weapons they had, where the forbidden zones were, etc. Okay, this is about to get morbid but, none of the “death scenes” were the same and they were so well written and suspenseful that sometimes I had to set the book down and take a moment for myself. There was sneaking and there was hiding. There was backstabbing and explosions, close calls and near beheadings. It was simply amazing. While Battle Royale is an epic thriller it also explores some pretty philosophical thoughts. What is one willing to do when faced with a life or death situation - when it’s you vs. them? We all tell ourselves that we are good people, that we would never kill a friend or loved one, but then fear and suspicion take over and slowly poisons logic until we are broken down to animal instinct. Why is it so much easier for some to commit horrible acts of violence than others? Is it their life experiences? Or is it just because? “There's no end to suspicion once you get going.” I loved all the characters. Even if I didn’t love their personalities, actions or thought they were idiots, I loved what they added to the story. They all felt fleshed out and unique to one another. I loved being in their heads and seeing all their different reasons for committing, or not committing, such horrible acts. Were they enjoying it? Were they just scared? Was it an accident? Were they trying to escape? It was all so interesting. Though I thoroughly enjoyed every POV, even those of the savage hunters, I had my little tribe of dweebs that I was rooting so hard for. Did they survive? Maybe. Did they get obliterated? Possibly. But they were fucking badass. Yes, I teared up several times but I didn’t actually cry until the very end. The last two sentences. After everything I went through with these characters, I just found them so amazing and touching. I’ve seen the movie (as of five minutes ago) and although it is awesome, I highly, highly recommend the book even if you’ve seen it. The book is obviously better. I would also recommend getting the physical copy. There is a lot to keep track of so it’s nice being able to quickly and easily flip around, especially back to the map. To put it simply, this book was beautiful and tragic and amazing. It’s definitely a new all time favorite and I will be telling everyone to read it until I’m blue in the face. “By then she was dead. In fact, she may have been dead a while ago. Physically, several seconds ago, mentally, ages ago.” *** P.S. I know Suzanne Collins claims innocence when to comes to completely ripping off Battle Royale, but after reading this... That’s how I feel about it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Most Dangerous Game" meets the gruesome, bloody stylings of Quentin Tarantino... on acid who killed Stephen King and tossed his body into BTK's backyard. I have read this book twice in the last two years both times within two days and I can guarantee that I'll read it a time or two (or three) again in the future (NERD!). The very thought of being 15-year-olds and being thrust into a situation where you have to kill or be killed, your best friends become your enemies "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Most Dangerous Game" meets the gruesome, bloody stylings of Quentin Tarantino... on acid who killed Stephen King and tossed his body into BTK's backyard. I have read this book twice in the last two years both times within two days and I can guarantee that I'll read it a time or two (or three) again in the future (NERD!). The very thought of being 15-year-olds and being thrust into a situation where you have to kill or be killed, your best friends become your enemies and people you have grown up with are suddenly crazed killers is utterly terrifying. There are 42 students, 42 Japanese names (and if you're not Japanese, therein lies guaranteed confusion) and 42 different personalities that are thrown at you within the first few chapters. It's overwhelming and somewhat confusing, yet somehow it becomes very easy to distinguish who is who. It is even easier to select which students deserve pity, which students deserve sympathy, which students are morally despicable and which students one truly hopes survive. Out of these 42 students, by the rules of The Program, only one can survive. Yikes.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    First off, if you go shopping for Battle Royale based on my review, you need to look for Battle Royale: Remastered. I stayed away from this book for years because of reviews from friends that said the translation was broken. All too often, translations are rushed due to the piece's success in the original language or an upcoming film adaptation. Recent fuckery would include the first Stieg Larsson book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which remains one of the worst translations I've set eyes on First off, if you go shopping for Battle Royale based on my review, you need to look for Battle Royale: Remastered. I stayed away from this book for years because of reviews from friends that said the translation was broken. All too often, translations are rushed due to the piece's success in the original language or an upcoming film adaptation. Recent fuckery would include the first Stieg Larsson book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which remains one of the worst translations I've set eyes on. Have I read the original Swedish? No. But there were clear moments when I could tell the translator could not be bothered to do his job correctly. For more info on that, read my review HERE. I also cannot speak to the quality of the original Japanese text. I can only speak toward this particular version, a version someone on Goodreads decided to combine with the original translation, because reasons. Suffice it to say, Battle Royale and Battle Royale: Remastered are not the same book. This version had five typos stretched over 624 pages (the final 20+ pages of the book is an interview with the author that I didn't bother to read). That's pretty fucking good, if you ask me. I've seen more than that in traditionally-published American-English books. Anyfuck, on with the review. I loved almost everything about this book. It's full of blood and guts and betrayal and love and emotionless killers and endearing characters. Pretty much everything I look for in my fiction occurred in this novel. I was constantly amazed at the variety of deaths and situations in which those deaths happened. We have misunderstandings, suicides, cold-blooded murder, manslaughter, murder in self defense, and the list goes on. If you're a gorehound, you'll likely enjoy this experience. What really shocked me was the depth of character development showcased herein. I was expecting a bunch of death and destruction and not much else. And while I received plenty of that, I also got a healthy dose of character writing. The author takes the time to thoroughly establish even the smallest role. I think the least amount of time he spends developing a character is the absolutely hilarious death of the anime fan near the end of the book. The scene lasts all of three pages, but it's one of the more memorable deaths of the book because the author put forth the effort to make the scene feel more important than it was. I dug the hell out of this hunk of book, but it is not without its faults. The ending is sillier than an erection on a nun. Everything is tied up far too perfectly, damn near creating a parody which mocks the bleak nature of the previous 600 pages. I wish it had ended on the mountain, but this is not my book. Besides, people like happy endings. Although I think it's been established time and time again that I am not most people. I am perfectly happy with everyone dying. I dig it when favorite characters bite the dust. The reason for this is, I expect the heroes to live because that's what most people want. Because of that, most fiction is predictable. You don't have to read a majority of popular novels to the end these days due to the expectation and delivery of the same people surviving and the same villains being dispatched in all the same fashion. There's nothing wrong with the cookie-cutter bullshit floating on the top of bestsellers lists, but there's not much right with them either. Some people read for escape, and that's cool. You do you. But there are some who read to be challenged, both intellectually and emotionally. I reside somewhere in the middle, and for the most part, this book checks both boxes: challenging escapism. Until the end. Yeah, the ending sucks. Taking a star away for that predictable-ass shit. In summation: If you dig books like The Hunger Games and The Running Man and The Lottery, you'll likely dig this massive motherfucker. I was never bored during its 624-page runtime, but I'm special. I like character development and multiple story arcs. If you prefer your fiction condensed to a few major players, you'll likely spend the majority of this novel confused, especially if you have trouble keeping track of non-Anglo-Saxon names. Final Judgment: The journey rocks; the destination, not so much.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Jilly

    E.T.A.: So, I watched the movie today online. (It's everywhere). If you saw the movie, you still don't know the book. Totally different! The movie is even more like the Hunger Games, but it doesn't scratch the surface of the book. It also is not true to the book at all. Even character names were changed. Read the book instead! ;-) **************************************** (Back to your previously scheduled book review): Holy Massacre, Batman! If you feel like the Hunger Games was way too sweet, touch E.T.A.: So, I watched the movie today online. (It's everywhere). If you saw the movie, you still don't know the book. Totally different! The movie is even more like the Hunger Games, but it doesn't scratch the surface of the book. It also is not true to the book at all. Even character names were changed. Read the book instead! ;-) **************************************** (Back to your previously scheduled book review): Holy Massacre, Batman! If you feel like the Hunger Games was way too sweet, touchy feely, and gentle - this might be more your style. If you wanted more kids in the arena, more sick & twisted mind games, waaaaay more blood guts & gore - look no further. If you wondered what it would be like if all 42 kids grew up together, knew each other, and trusted each other before the Hunger Games - your answer lies within this book. If you wished that you had the POV's of Cato, Clove, Rue, Foxface, along with their backstories and their brutally detailed deaths - gotcha covered. If you thought of how much different things would have been if they'd been given guns and there were no game-maker toys to kill them, only each other - it's all here, baby! So, the first bit is a little hard to get through because it can be a bit confusing with so many characters. Especially since they have tough names that includes their last names. I mean, for me they were tough. There were no Joe's or Sue's. And, there are 42 of these suckers - ouch! That is a lot of names to keep straight. But, the good news is that once the 'game' gets underway, it really starts to flow. And, it is epic. So unbelievably brutal and disturbing. But, also so many times when it's poignant. I'm just amazed at how deep this book was able to go into the character's minds when there was so much action and so many people. It really is an amazing piece of work. Also, Suzanne Collins totally plagiarized! There were parts of the story that were absolutely exactly from this book. For instance, there were announcements in the morning and evening of who was killed, they were constantly narrowing down the playing field to herd the kids closer together, and there was a part where they instructed one boy to set two fires with young wood so that it would smoke as a signal and then they would use a bird call to find each other. Copy much? I read this book, not only because I wanted to and it was epic, but also as part of my 2016 Reading Challenge with the MacHalo chicks: Read a book that was made into a movie.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Cindy

    This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages. I think it's been about five minutes since I read the last word of Battle Royale. My heart is still pounding abnormally fast, and every few seconds, I have to take a break from typing to watch the French countryside rushing by outside the train window instead.* The view is strangely soothing, and I definitely need some calming right now. So. Battle Royale. Was. Epic. Dare I say it? It was better than The Hunger Games, and The Hunger Games i This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages. I think it's been about five minutes since I read the last word of Battle Royale. My heart is still pounding abnormally fast, and every few seconds, I have to take a break from typing to watch the French countryside rushing by outside the train window instead.* The view is strangely soothing, and I definitely need some calming right now. So. Battle Royale. Was. Epic. Dare I say it? It was better than The Hunger Games, and The Hunger Games is one of my favorites. Both have similar settings: a dystopian government that forces children into an arena and makes them kill each other off one by one. But Battle Royale ended up as the more striking, more intense, of the two. The novel grabbed me, strapped me to a poodle, and threw me off a cliff. How does a poodle save a person from a fall off a cliff, you may ask. It doesn't. That's why I kind of feel like an insignificant smudge on the ground right now. Unlike The Hunger Games, which focuses only on Katniss's narrative, Battle Royale jumps around from one student to another. I didn't find that disorienting or discontinuous. The skipping around revealed quite a lot about each participant of the Program, as the government calls this bloodbath. Such intricate lines bind all the classmates together, and it's so saddening to watch it all fall apart. There are love interests and friendships and histories and their own survival to consider as the 15-year-olds wander around an island with machine guns, scared out of their wits. What a story Takami-san has dreamt up. What a story. And the ending, too. Wow, if you thought The Hunger Games's ending was jarring, you will be totally unprepared for Battle Royale's. Takami-san wrote it with the flare of a pro, although I kind of want to punch him now... The only thing I disliked were the gory scenes. Battle Royale was a lot more graphic than I'd imagined. So instead of puking up the contents of my stomach, I just skipped the paragraphs describing blood and bashed-in brains. The human imagination is always a lot more vivid than a movie scene. Normally, that's a good thing, but now, not so much. I would say that I'm now a fangirl of Battle Royale, but given the book's subject matter, I don't think that'd be entirely appropriate. Apparently, Takami-san is writing (or has already written) a second novel. I must hunt it down. *My first vacation in Europe! Book Source: Borrowed

  21. 3 out of 5

    PickyTree

    Cult novels are hard to resist. Lord of the Flies. Naked Lunch. A Clockwork Orange. Fight Club. Startling. Brutal. Original. Compelling. They frighten me to death, yet I love them. It's that kind of complicated. I picked up Takami's Battle Royale mainly because the guy in the bookshop opened his mouth and said 'cult novel'. Just two little words and I was immediately consumed with the need to know why. Wikipedia gives the following plot outline: "The novel and manga Battle Royale takes place in an Cult novels are hard to resist. Lord of the Flies. Naked Lunch. A Clockwork Orange. Fight Club. Startling. Brutal. Original. Compelling. They frighten me to death, yet I love them. It's that kind of complicated. I picked up Takami's Battle Royale mainly because the guy in the bookshop opened his mouth and said 'cult novel'. Just two little words and I was immediately consumed with the need to know why. Wikipedia gives the following plot outline: "The novel and manga Battle Royale takes place in an alternate timeline, according to the book's prologue, where Japan is a police state, known as the Republic of Greater East Asia. Once a year, randomly selected classes of middle-school students are forced to take arms against one another until only one student in each class remains. The program was created, supposedly, as a form of military research, though the outcome of each battle is publicized on local television. The first battle in the series took place in 1947, and the novel follows a battle that takes place in May 1997. Under the guise of a 'study trip', the students are corralled onto a bus and gassed, only to awaken on an evacuated island or isolated area with metal collars around their necks. After being briefed about their role in the program, the students are issued bags that carry bread, water, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a watchguns and knives, some students acquire useless items like boomerangs, some common dartboard darts, or a fork. In some cases, instead of a weapon, the student receives a tool; Hiroki SugimuraToshinori Oda receives a bulletproof vest. To make sure the students obey the rules and kill each other, the metal collars around their necks track their positions, and will explode if they linger in a 'Forbidden Zone' or attempt to remove the collars. The Forbidden Zones are randomly chosen areas of the map that increase in number from hour to hour, re-sculpting and shrinking the battlefield and forcing the students to move around. The collars secretly transmit sound back to the organizers of the game, allowing them to hear the students' conversations, root out escape plans, and log their activities. The students are also given a time limit. If twenty-four hours pass without someone killing someone, then all of the collars will be detonated simultaneously and there will be no winner." And as plot intros go, that's a pretty decent one. The scenario is set up in the first 30 pages. The remaining 570 pages are devoted to the "battle". Let's just say it was a looooonnngggg 570 pages. Problems? 1. The book is not well written. It feels like a lumbering engine. Doing what it has to do mechanically but without any real finesse. Now maybe that's caused by a less than gifted translation from the original Japanese. I'll give it the benefit of the the doubt... 2. While I was expecting somewhat stereotypical characters, these just seemed soooo tired. So predictable. The dialogue at times had me wincing from the melodrama. Yes, teenagers can be melodramatic. Yes, ninth grade is filled with "roles" that students fill: the loner, the spoiled rich kid, the class clown, etc. But this book did nothing to elevate those truths. It's been a long while since I read Lord of the Flies. Maybe it was equally simplistic. But my gut says, no. 3. The love story that evolved between X and Y. *slaps hand to forehead* Could you get a more traditional piece of dreck? He's the protector, the "strong" one. She's the weak female, needing his protection. Yadda. Yadda. This may be every ninth grade girl's (or hell, every middle aged women's) dream. But I found it tired. I've seen traditional done soooooo much better elsewhere. 4. The "plot twists" were obvious well in advance. There were no shocks. I didn't cling to the book wanting to know what happend next. The ending while perhaps crazy-thrilling and oh-so-amazing to the cultees, seemed painfully apparant by about page 150. When I compare the truly shocking texts found in Naked Lunch or Fight Club, to the truly sad tale that is Battle Royale, I see no basis for comparison. Battle Royale may be a cult novel but it doesn't measure up in any of the complex ways I expect cult novels to challenge, shock and engage me. I suspect Battle Royale got its "cult" moniker purely due to two things: it's protagonists are young and it contains plenty of violence. Sadly these two factors do not make it good! I'm putting my copy in the book recycling. Yes, it's that bad.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Trudi

    I'm a huge fan of dystopian books, where the future is bleak and infinitely dangerous and if you're gonna survive, you better check your morals at the door. With reality TV everywhere we look these days, and the UFC a mainstream pastime, it's easy to imagine a Survivor where tribe members voted out don't go home, but are executed instead. I figure society's perpetual blood lust is never as deeply buried as we think (or hope). Stephen King describes Battle Royale as "an insanely entertaining pulp I'm a huge fan of dystopian books, where the future is bleak and infinitely dangerous and if you're gonna survive, you better check your morals at the door. With reality TV everywhere we look these days, and the UFC a mainstream pastime, it's easy to imagine a Survivor where tribe members voted out don't go home, but are executed instead. I figure society's perpetual blood lust is never as deeply buried as we think (or hope). Stephen King describes Battle Royale as "an insanely entertaining pulp riff that combines Survivor with World Wrestling Entertainment. Or maybe Royale is just insane." It really is a crazy, page-turning reading experience that's driven by raw emotion and a rollicking series of action sequences. There's tons of blood and gore, so if that's not your thing, stay away. I was pleasantly surprised to care about the six major characters Takami spends the most time developing. I thought he did an excellent job considering the main point of the story is to shock and jolt, not to inspire warm, fuzzy feelings. I'm sure the writing lost something in translation -- certain parts are choppy and a bit crude, but that didn't detract from the overall intensity of what was unfolding on the page. I was on the island with these kids, and freaked out the whole time. Battle Royale is a pulse-pounding, adrenaline ride! Not "high literature" mind you, but a great big greasy cheeseburger with fries. Yum! Recommended Readalikes: The Long Walk, Stephen King The Running Man, Stephen King The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins Lord of the Flies, William Golding

  23. 4 out of 5

    Albert

    I heard about the movie before I read the book, so I knew that the premise was a combination of Lord of the Flies and automatic weapons. I just didn't expect the violence to affect me so deeply. I guess I've never been exposed to extreme violence in books where my imagination comes up with images. I definitely discovered a new closet of images with this book. I started this book on a long subway ride home. I was so engrossed by the book I missed my stop by five stations. I will admit there was a I heard about the movie before I read the book, so I knew that the premise was a combination of Lord of the Flies and automatic weapons. I just didn't expect the violence to affect me so deeply. I guess I've never been exposed to extreme violence in books where my imagination comes up with images. I definitely discovered a new closet of images with this book. I started this book on a long subway ride home. I was so engrossed by the book I missed my stop by five stations. I will admit there was a woman with attractive legs sitting next to me so as I was reading the right hand side of the book part of my attention was slightly diverted. But I swear that I was more focused on the gory action in the book. When I came to surface on that humid night, my skin had goosebumps from the graphic descriptions in the book. I felt as if my brain was surrounded by a pool of blood. Thoughts raced in my mind about people on the street like "What if I had to kill these people?" or " What if they had to kill me?" Of course I had to calm down a bit before starting again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stepheny

    I had heard several times that the Hunger Games was a rip-off of Battle Royale. I personally always thought the Hunger Games was a combination of The Running Man and the Long Walk. But now, having finally gotten around to reading Battle Royale…I can only say wow. People have very valid complaints here. There are entire sections that are almost word for word. Was Collins ever actually accused of plagiarism? Anyway, I digress. There are a bunch of students on a bus for a school field trip. Or so t I had heard several times that the Hunger Games was a rip-off of Battle Royale. I personally always thought the Hunger Games was a combination of The Running Man and the Long Walk. But now, having finally gotten around to reading Battle Royale…I can only say wow. People have very valid complaints here. There are entire sections that are almost word for word. Was Collins ever actually accused of plagiarism? Anyway, I digress. There are a bunch of students on a bus for a school field trip. Or so they think. All of a sudden, they wake up in a room on an island with collars around their neck. Their teacher is telling them they must kill one another. They see brutal footage of the previous year’s winner. When someone tries to make a stand against it, they catch a knife to the forehead courtesy of the teacher. Shit gets real…real fast. There were some really fucked up kids in this book. Which is to say, there are some really fucked up kids in real life too. We just try to ignore it. I am glad I listened to this on audio because I would have slaughtered the names of these kids. I come from a very small town and a pretty low-income family. I didn’t get very many opportunities to become a “cultured” person. I’m hoping you’ll all excuse me on this one. I mean no offense, I’m merely stating a fact. The audio was great. The story was fast-paced and had lots of twists that left me guessing right up until the very last bit. It’s a fucked-up story, people. Pick it up!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris_P

    There's room at the top they're telling you still but first you must learn how to smile as you kill if you want to be like the folks in the hill The above lyrics written by John Lennon kept playing in my head over and over while reading Battle Royale and it's really no wonder. A bunch of 15-year-old students are thrown into an island with the mission to kill each other until only one remains. This is actually the predecessor of all the similar books and movies that have been popping out the last co There's room at the top they're telling you still but first you must learn how to smile as you kill if you want to be like the folks in the hill The above lyrics written by John Lennon kept playing in my head over and over while reading Battle Royale and it's really no wonder. A bunch of 15-year-old students are thrown into an island with the mission to kill each other until only one remains. This is actually the predecessor of all the similar books and movies that have been popping out the last couple of decades (see The Hunger Games). Set in a dystopian Japan, Battle Royale is not only a ridiculously gripping thriller but also a brilliant specimen of the dystopian genre, with all the social commentary that comes with it. Brilliant I say, although this doesn't mean it's without flaws. First of all, the particular translation is poor and the reason for most of the writing issues. Besides that, due to the nature of the story, there were bound to be a few improbabilities and some far-fetched details that, in my humble opinion, weren't enough to destroy the experience. Nonetheless, they were enough to make me hold back a star. That said, I found the execution, as a whole, brilliant. Greatly written action, twists and gore without end. Although it's famous for the gore, however, there's also great depth to the characters. A few pages of background are dedicated even to the ones that are killed off quickly, which makes the uneasiness even bigger. The relationships between the students are also well crafted. There are friendships, betrayals, romance, unrequited love, you name it. Pretty much everything there is in a teenage universe. Every single character is treated with respect by the author and nothing is done swiftly. What else could one ask for? Battle Royale was also adapted into a movie in 2000 whose further success ended all governmental controversy that had broken out due to the themes described in the book. It should be noted that said film is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorites. A great novel which should have been an example for the west and not something to cheaply rip off. Although I liked the first of The Hunger Games series, Battle Royale makes me want to go back and throw it in the one-star pit once and for all.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Xwirus

    El libro en el que esta basado los juegos del hambre. Para resumir juegos del hambre pero con sangre, en el libro de los juegos del hambre de todos los niños que entran, no vemos la muerte ni de la mitad, en Battle Royale veremos todas las muertes, algunas de ellas muy sangrientas con su toque "Gore", me gustaría recalcar que la historia califica mas de "Gore" que de realista, por si alguien buscaba realismo en este libro. Básicamente cogen una clase escogida al azar y se tienen que matar entre el El libro en el que esta basado los juegos del hambre. Para resumir juegos del hambre pero con sangre, en el libro de los juegos del hambre de todos los niños que entran, no vemos la muerte ni de la mitad, en Battle Royale veremos todas las muertes, algunas de ellas muy sangrientas con su toque "Gore", me gustaría recalcar que la historia califica mas de "Gore" que de realista, por si alguien buscaba realismo en este libro. Básicamente cogen una clase escogida al azar y se tienen que matar entre ellos, para ello a cada alumno le darán una bolsa, la cual contiene un arma, la cual puede ir desde un bastón a un bazuca, comida para un día, y en caso de ser mujer cosas para su limpieza intima. Para evitar que escapen les ponen unos collares con bombas, con lo cual si abandonan la isla donde se hace el Battle Royale estos explotaran, y cada cierto tiempo se lanzara un aviso a una zona de la isla, a partir de ese momento tienen una hora para abandonar la zona, en caso de no hacerlo los collares de los que estén en esa zona explotaran. Nota 10/10 (5 stars) Por si alguien le interesa también existe una película.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    5/5 stars DON'T TOUCH ME RN

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    Wow. The movie was pretty full-on, the book perhaps more so (the book came first). I finished reading it last night and it's still revolving around in my head. The gist of the plot is this: in an alternate present-day Japan, 50 grade 10 classes from across the country are forced into the Program, a Government-run initiative designed to subdue the population. The students in these classes are gassed while on a "study trip", and wake up in isolated locations - in this story, a tiny island - with co Wow. The movie was pretty full-on, the book perhaps more so (the book came first). I finished reading it last night and it's still revolving around in my head. The gist of the plot is this: in an alternate present-day Japan, 50 grade 10 classes from across the country are forced into the Program, a Government-run initiative designed to subdue the population. The students in these classes are gassed while on a "study trip", and wake up in isolated locations - in this story, a tiny island - with collars around their necks, and are ordered to kill each other. There are 42 students in Shirowai Junior High School Class B. Some of them are playing the game. No one can trust anyone. And there can only be one survivor. Each student is given a bag, containing water, bread, map, flashlight and a weapon. Weapons range from  all-out machine guns to a fork. Let no one say the perverted government in this story doesn't have a sense of humour! While officials place bets on who will win, the students must avoid the Forbidden Zones, or else their collars will explode, each other, and the deadline. If no one dies within 24 hours, everyone's collar will explode. The novel follows the students as they hide around the island, keeping track of the body count - or, rather, of those who remain - at the end of each chapter. The hero is Shuya Nanahara, who is determined to keep Noriko alive, first for the sake of his best friend who had a crush on her, who was the first to die, and later because he falls in love with her. They are helped by Shogo, who, in a truly sick twist, was the previous year's winner. Because he was so badly injured, he fell behind and had to repeat a year at another school, putting him once more at risk of being in the Program all over again. But this time, Shogo has a plan, and if Shuya and Noriko can bring themselves to trust him, they just might be able to beat the system. This is one violent book! While the movie was pretty gory too, we are getting pretty desensitised to graphic scenes of violence these days, but it is less usual to come across them in books. It is not sexually graphic at all, though some of the things that happened to a few of the characters when they were younger is sickening to read about. But this book isn't really about violence. It's about how we respond to unlikely, terrifying situations. It's about our humanity, our efforts to think well of others, our trust issues, and love. I recommend this book to anyone who was affected by Lord of the Flies (it has similar themes), and anyone not easily sickened by gory scenes. There were only one or two scenes that made me really grimace, most just made my heart clench for the characters' dire situations. What I love about these kinds of stories is the trapped feeling. It reminds of the movie Cube. (Watch it with a friend, I watched it alone and had a great deal of trouble sleeping afterwards!) In that movie, a seemingly random group of people are trapped within a giant, moving cube, containing smaller cubes all linked on every side, top and bottom. Some are death traps. The really scary thing about the entire concept is that, there is no reason behind it. It's completely - what's the word - it's slipped my mind, but I want to say that although there is a shadowy figure behind it all, there's no point. Although Takami has gone to the effort of making the Program slightly logical - to its creators, anyway - the movie was perhaps more effective for making it seem completely arbitrary. Anyway, this isn't everyone's cup-of-tea, and it would have benefited from a good proof-reader (it's riddled with typos and grammatical errors, small enough to read over), but if you're interested in the darker, psychological side of things, this is one truly fascinating "experiment".

  29. 3 out of 5

    Deniz Balcı

    "Battle Royale" malum 2000 senesinde Kinji Fukasaku tarafından filme alınmış ve büyük çoğunluk tarafından sonradan 'kült' olarak gösterilen bu film sayesinde tanınmış; ancak aslında Koushun Takami'nin 1999'da yazmış olduğu efsane distopya romanı. Kitap çıktığı zamanlarda çok ilgi görmüş ve popüler olmuş olsa da, ülkemizin Uzak Doğu Edebiyatı'na olan ilgisizliğinden dolayı, ancak 2014 yılında İngilizce'den Müge Kocaman Özçelik çevirisi ile Türkçe'ye kazandırılmıştır. Ölüm Oyunu, japonca aslından "Battle Royale" malum 2000 senesinde Kinji Fukasaku tarafından filme alınmış ve büyük çoğunluk tarafından sonradan 'kült' olarak gösterilen bu film sayesinde tanınmış; ancak aslında Koushun Takami'nin 1999'da yazmış olduğu efsane distopya romanı. Kitap çıktığı zamanlarda çok ilgi görmüş ve popüler olmuş olsa da, ülkemizin Uzak Doğu Edebiyatı'na olan ilgisizliğinden dolayı, ancak 2014 yılında İngilizce'den Müge Kocaman Özçelik çevirisi ile Türkçe'ye kazandırılmıştır. Ölüm Oyunu, japonca aslından çevrilip; bilinçli okuyucunun daha ciddiye aldığı yayınevlerinden biri tarafından basılmış olsa idi daha çok ilgi görürdü şüphesiz. Ancak Pegasus Yayınları'nın ara sıra yapmış olduğu sürprizlerden biri aslında bu. (Bakınız: Roberto Bolano - 2666) Filmi kitabı aktarmaktan ciddi anlamda farklı bir noktadadır. Uzak Doğu sSnemasının son yıllarda popüler akımlarına dahil ettiği 'şiddetin pornografi' akımı yüzünden, kitabın temelinde yatan sistem eleştirisi filmde biraz gözardı edilmiştir. Fakat, özel olarak kitaba baktığımız zaman; distopya türünün 'farklı' örneklerinden biri olduğunu söyleyebiliriz. Bu yüzden okunmayı hak ettiğini düşünüyorum. Kitabın ne akıcılığında, ne okuma zevkinde bir problem var. Yalnız edebi anlatım yönü biraz zayıf kaçabilir. Bunun çeviriden mi kaynaklandığını yoksa yazarın yazdığı orijinal metinde de edebi anlatımın zayıf olmasından mı kaynaklandığını bilemiyorum. Bu yüzden dili oldukça sade ve basit. Fakat yazarın yarattığı dünya okumaya, düşlemeye oldukça değer. Olası dünya görüsüne yakıştırmış olduğu sistem ve karakterlerin diyalogları bu dünyanın eleştirilmesine, irdelenmesine oldukça müsait. Zor gelebilecek bir şey varsa, oda 42 kişilik karakterlerin isimleri. Zira Japonca isimler ister istemez bize birbirine benzermiş gibi geliyor. Bu ilk başlarda biraz sıkıntı yaratsa da sonrasında sorun olmuyor. Okumanızı tavsiye ederim. 10/7.5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Venable

    In a terrifying way this TRULY the most realistic portrayal of 9th grader emotions I've ever read. I might argue this should be considered YA, and brilliant YA at that, but considering the amount of folks who are determined to keep this book, and the movie it derived from, banned, I might want to keep my mouth a bit more shut. A surefire way to get me to pay attention to something is to tell me how often it's banned. That was the original reason I sought out the film (and an all-region DVD playe In a terrifying way this TRULY the most realistic portrayal of 9th grader emotions I've ever read. I might argue this should be considered YA, and brilliant YA at that, but considering the amount of folks who are determined to keep this book, and the movie it derived from, banned, I might want to keep my mouth a bit more shut. A surefire way to get me to pay attention to something is to tell me how often it's banned. That was the original reason I sought out the film (and an all-region DVD player aka the best purchase I ever made, since this and many other amazing movies are not available in the US market). The film was both extremely violent and utterly charming. I hated it at first, watched most with my eyes half covered, but as I got to know the characters it was so much more about their emotions than the game they were stuck in...40+ students stuck on an island forced to play a "game" of war where one student would survive. Back to what makes YA YA. Nowadays you can get away with almost anything sex related in YA. Sure you'll still wind up on the banned list, but that's practically an honor. Violence, however, especially violence of this magnitude, is still utterly taboo. (Though I may argue the real reason for the international banning is more related to the strong anti-government themes.) They claim the violence would give kids "ideas" and they would go attacking their peers, but the thing about this book in particular was it was beautiful...the pages which dealt with characters deaths were eloquent and stunning. Glimpses into final thoughts and pages of memories before the final black-out. All the while remaining utterly teen, most of the motives behind all of the characters were crush related, a literal amplification the "if he doesn't love me I'll die." This book made me remember exactly what it felt like to be a 9th grader "in love" and how over-the-top my emotions and reactions to everything were. There's one memorable scene where one boy has been refusing to fight, but searching endlessly for one particular girl the entire game. You assume they are in love and he's trying to save her, but when they finally meet up you find out not only aren't they a couple, but he's barely ever said one sentence to the girl. She assumes he's there to kill her, and reacts accordingly, having no idea what he went through to "save her." As he dies he tells her he loves her, only to have her say something along the lines of "wait, what! you jerk! You've never even spoken to me!" Now if you are a fan of the movie, keep in mind the book differs immensely. They didn't try as hard to put in humorous moments between the warring and there is no such thing as compassion from any of the adults represented, BUT characters who only got 10 seconds of screen time get huge chapters here. No one feels slighted and the details only add to the story more. Definitely one of the most gripping things I've read this year....and while I might argue the YA card, even I didn't feel it right to put this on my YA-fiction shelf. (originally read March 27, 2008. Re-read: May 15, 2013)

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