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Battle Royale (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 10 May 2007


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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: 12.8 x 3.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The Cult Japanese bestselling phenomenon. "Top of the class" now has a whole new meaning ...

About the Author

Koushun Takami is best-known as the author of the novel Battle Royale, originally published in Japanese, and later translated into English by Yuji Oniki. Battle Royale was rejected in the final round of the literary competition for which it was written owing to its controversial content. It become a bestseller when finally released in 1999 and, a year later, became a manga series and a feature film.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Coke on 23 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barmy_Bex on 21 April 2013
Format: Paperback
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. She told me the basic outline and I agreed their were similarities but it didn't bother me. It seems she wasn't the only one to think it the internet exploded with people saying Hunger Games had 'ripped this story off' etc. Having never read this I couldn't judge.I love the Hunger Games and always will but I decided I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I requested this book from the library quite a while ago and even once it had arrived I didn't pick it up. My friend warned me that it was quite gory, and as a wimp it put me off. It remained in my tray at work, but when I had 15 minutes to pass yesterday I picked it up.
Now to get the whole Hunger Games thing out of the way - apart from the fact a group of children are put together and told to kill each other - that is where the similarities end. The books are very different and stand very well on their own two feet. For one in the HG everyone knows what is going on and the people going into the arena are trained and have warning, in this the kids are just thrust in with no warning at all, and it's more friend against friend as they are all from the same class. This is brutal!
This book is very gory, although I had been warned I was still shocked and put off in places by the level of gore. Takami has no problem describing all sorts of horrendous wounds, guts and blood included in detail. I actual found myself trying to look away in some places and skimming other really violent bits. The deaths themselves seem to be in more detail than necessary, nothing is left to the imagination, yet all the images formed in my mind and made me cringe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
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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