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

4.5 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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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 (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,656 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

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing! The pacing is perfect, it's fast for the action but slower for the character development. The characters are all easy to differentiate as he has created 42 different personalities fantastically, and they're all great characters. Some of the characters are more developed than others but that's to be expected in a book with so many characters. It's emotional (I think I genuinely experienced every emotion while reading this book), it's gripping, it's clever and it really makes you think. I honestly can't praise this book enough, it's become one of my favourite books and I absolutely love it. Highly recommend it!
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By Evan on 11 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a fan of the movie I was looking forward to giving the book a read. Now I'm not the biggest book reader in the world but man, what a joyride! This is another case of one of those books that is much better than the movie. It's easy to follow, not so easy to put down and will grab your attention from start to finish.
If you enjoyed the movie then give this a go, you won't be disappointed!
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Format: Paperback
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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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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