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Battle Royale (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Paperback]

Koushun Takami
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 May 2007 GOLLANCZ S.F.

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of 42 junior high school students are taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are electronically collared, provided with weapons of varying potency, and sent out onto the island.

If they are in the wrong part of the island at the wrong time, their collars will explode. If they band together to save themselves a collar will explode at random. If they try to escape from the island, they will be blown up. Their only chance for survival lies in killing their classmates.

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, and a potent story of politics and survival 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, and is now available for the first time to the UK mainstream.

Frequently Bought Together

Battle Royale (GOLLANCZ S.F.) + Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] + Battle Royale 2: Requiem [DVD] [2003]
Price For All Three: 21.23

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575080493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575080492
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Koushun Takami was born in 1969 and is best-known as the author of the novel Battle Royale, originally published in Japanese, and later translated into English by Yuji Oniki. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence course program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the news company Shikoku Shimbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports and economics. Battle Royale was completed after Takami left the news company, and was rejected in the final round of the literary competition for which it was intended, owing to its controversial content. It become a bestseller when finally released in 1999, and a year later, was made into a manga and a feature film.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and thought-provoking read 23 Oct 2007
I read this book after seeing the film, and reading some of the manga, so I came to it expecting more of the same - I was pleasantly surprised.

The book has the luxury of being able to explore each character in depth, something that the film was unable to do. You get a more rounded portrait of the class, although don't assume that this is just the book of the film - the characters here are more like the ones in the manga, but they're subtly different again from their graphic-novel counterparts. These are characters that we half-know, and it's interesting to find out more about them - how friendships developed, what's going on inside their heads as they go through their ordeal.

Shuuya, our hero, is likeable and capable of calling up our affection. Noriko remains a bit of a drip, but that's only to be expected in a book which offers up only one or two strong, interesting female characters. As a reader, you honestly start to wonder what you would do in that situation.

However, I can't skate over the fact that this is an awkward book to read. The name of the translator is Japanese, not European, and it's an inescapable fact that this book isn't perfectly translated. Sentences can be shaky and repetitive, with word-choices that seem strange to a Westerner. The introduction at the beginning could do with some explaining. Some metaphors are very strange and come across as either inappropriate or just plain weird, and you do get the sense that this novel could have done with a bit more editing before it was published in the English language - and maybe another translator for good measure.

That's not to say that it's a bad book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Aussie Zombie 27 Jan 2012
By Kat
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first heard of Battle Royale when reading reviews of The Hunger Games, when it was suggested that Ms. Collins' inspiration must have come from this book. It took me a while, but after seeing a few more recommendations, I purchased a copy and sat it on my shelf. Where it sat for several months until last Saturday I decided I felt like reading a paperback book and it was the first one I picked up.

To be honest, at first I was a little wary - sure the storyline sounds amazing, but how could I possibly keep 42 (!) characters (with Japanese names which also confuse me) straight in my head? I have trouble with half a dozen sometimes....so it was with a little trepidation that I opened the book to the first page.......

I was immediately hooked - keeping the characters straight was made easier by a list of names in the front of the book, and when characters that had been previously mentioned reappeared, the link back through the writing was strong enough that I was fully aware of who was who, their story, their actions and their fates.

This is not a book for the faint hearted - Takami holds nothing back in his imagination, and some scenes are jaw-dropping in their intensity and detail, but the story itself stops Battle Royale from spiraling into a mindless bloodbath. There are twists and turns I never saw coming and the ending is breathtaking (and unexpected!).

Three days and more than 600 pages later I finished reading (I put off the final 20-odd pages off because I didn't want it to end!), put down the book, turned to my boyfriend and said just one word "Wow!".

I wish I could tell you more about this book, but it is a difficult book to review without giving away key parts of the story. If you can get a copy, you should definitely invest in this book - I'll definitely be going back to this one again!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale 2 July 2009
Without a doubt the best book I've ever read.
I'm not going into detail into why it's great but will get straight to the point.
-Full of twists
-Well written (but not perfectly translated, still brilliant though)
-Brilliant character background
-Beautifully detailed scenes
Really worth a read. You probably won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
3.5 stars, to be fair.

This was on a '50 most challenging books' list. Thought I'd give it a go - loved the film a few years ago.

After reading it, I think the reason it made the above list was not the violence, the premise or the morality. It's the names. A class of 40 students is selected to take part in a 'to the death' battle in the dystopian Republic of Greater East Asia. Only one can survive - the 'winner'. The rest must die. Friends must fight friends, girls must fight boys. The students are 15. The problem as a reader is really the fact that it's very hard to tell everyone apart. In some ways it hardly matters, most are going to die soon after being introduced. With 600 pages and more than 30 deaths, that's an average of a death every 20 pages. So we don't really get the chance to know many of the students well. But when we do, it's pretty hard to distinguish best friends Yukiko and Yumiko, and the group that includes Yukie, Yuko and Yuka. You can see what I mean.

Anyone preparing to read this book, I assume, is aware that there is going to be a LOT of violent death. One of the interesting aspects for me was how students reacted to the news that they were going to have to abandon loyalties to save their own skin. Would they refuse to go it alone and stay together? Would they take to the game with relish? Both extremes of human instinct come into play, with a wide range of characters and stories. In some ways it's a shame the book isn't longer, to really see the stories of the students. But in another, it wouldn't be necessary as they die so quickly anyway.

For me, the fact that it was a class of 15-year-olds made it a little samey in parts (is that possible with this storyline?!).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the film? Now read the book
Great dystopian Japanese novel. All the different japanese names can be confusing at times so you have to concentrate on each character and their place in the story. Read more
Published 19 days ago by W. Stubbs
5.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable book that you will have difficulties putting down.
A class of 42 high school students are sent to fight each other on a remote island. What can go wrong? Read more
Published 23 days ago by Jerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
evrything fine :)
Published 1 month ago by Maro Baran
3.0 out of 5 stars TOTALLy different to Hunger Games
I read this after reading some comments claiming Hunger Games was a rip off of this book. I was intrigued and wanted to judge for myself. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Deborah Percy
5.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive Review - Battle Royale
Battle Royale in two words: Shock Horror. The title itself probably originates from the fact that writer Koushin Takami is a huge pro-wrestling fan; and other than the fact that... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Showerbread
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Hunger Games, read this
very similar idea (came first though) to Hunger Games, but different approach - interesting to read both! Both are great reads in different ways.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. P. A. Preston
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I love the movie and was inspired to purchase the book because of that. I've really enjoyed reading this and the translation is great, no problems with awkward translations in my... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kirstie Rowlands
5.0 out of 5 stars Royale with cheese
So bad I couldn't put it down. Fantastic, thrilling, roller coaster. I can't help thinking that the translation was not great, unless everyone in Japan talks like they have stepped... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Gezza
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes your heart Race
When the Hunger Games first game out and I talked to my friend about it she told me it sounded an awful lot like a Japanese story she had read. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Barmy_Bex
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, poor translation
After reading, and enjoying, the hugely successful Hunger Games trilogy, I wanted read Battle Royal to see how the book compare, as they have a similar storyline (children made to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Miss A C R Finch
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