Monday, January 14, 2013

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Title: Battle Royale
Author: Koushun Takami

Published: April 1999 
Genre: Action/Adventure, Horror, Survival, Dystopian
Reviewer: Hannah


The government of the Republic of the Greater East Asia is ruthless, brutally murdering their own younger generations to instill fear in the country's people. Middle school classes all over the country are selected to participate in "The Program," a closely monitored fight to the death, wherein they are forced to murder their classmates. 

When one class is unsuspectingly thrown into the middle of this harsh reality, will things be different or end up as they always have? 


I think, in my past reviews, I've been including WAY too many spoilers, so from now on, I'll just give my review and opinion without practically retyping the entire book. If you read the synopsis, you know that Battle Royale is very much similar to The Hunger Games. Yes. And no. While I believe BR was a major inspiration for Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games, she just didn't manage to transfer the grittiness and reality of this book. 

Every gory detail is depicted, and it seems as if every second of the game is described. Seriously, this book is over 600 pages long, and the story takes place in less than two days. It really felt more like two weeks, that's how detailed and intense it was. 

My biggest problem with Battle Royale was how dry the narrative was. And that's always something I consider every time I read a book. What I mean is: some authors are concerned with telling their story. And others are concerned with telling it beautifully. With Battle Royale, I felt like Takami was basically saying, "Then this happened, and that happened, and so on and so forth." I have no clue, maybe it's the translator's fault, as this book is Japanese. I think I would have liked BR so much more if some creative writing techniques had been employed. 

My second problem was do I say this? I absolutely despised how petty all of the characters were, most of them at least. I mean, yeah, sure, you're middle school kids, I get it. But it seems like they were discussing, "So who do you have a crush on, Sally?" more often than the fact that they have to murder their friends. 

Ahhh...but other than that, it was a decent book. I loved the ending, I will tell you that much. And I am floundering right now whether to give it three or four stars.....3.....4.......3.......eenie-meenie-minee-mo.....4 it is!:)



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