Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crimson Labyrinth” as Want to Read:
The Crimson Labyrinth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Crimson Labyrinth

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  457 ratings  ·  59 reviews
From a rising new star of horror comes a killer read that will make you lose track of time and reality. The Crimson Labyrinth is a wicked satire on extremist reality TV in the tradition of The Running Man-if that indeed is what it is. Welcome to THE MARS LABYRINTH where things aren't what they seem. Welcome to the world of Kishi, where the plot is as gnarly as the humor is ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Vertical (first published April 9th 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Crimson Labyrinth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Crimson Labyrinth

Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
120th out of 445 books — 1,885 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiDivergent by Veronica Roth
Let the (deadly) games begin!
21st out of 102 books — 230 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,582)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Wowzer wowzer wowzer, The Mars Labyrinth, indeed. I have read a few messed up books in my day, but THE CRIMSON LABYRINTH might take the cake. A few of you may find it a bit gentle; to you I say find a therapist. For the others that feel the same as I do about this book all I can say is: humanity knows no bounds for violence in a voyeuristic capacity.

Before I start comparing this novel to some other fan-favs, allow me a few words about the plot. A group of nine people (all Japanese, underemploye
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Where do I even start with this? Wait. I know. Let's start with:

*It is a Young Adult book. And by that, I mean it reads as if it was written by a ten year old boy.
*It is set in Australia, and contains huge swathes of "facts" about Australia, presented in encyclopaedia form, many of which are incorrect.
*It is culturally offensive to the Indigenous people of Australia, and not always by accident. At one point the book references the "B

I was so psyched to get my hands on a copy of this book. I mean, the premise is AWESOME. It's The Running Man meets Battle Royale with smatterings of The Hunger Games running all through it. I just can't get enough of these demented dystopias of staged survival competitions destined for public consumption played in extremis to satiate society's blood lust. In his review Gavin writes: "humanity knows no bounds for violence in a voyeuristic capacity" and isn't that the truth? My favorite of all th
Sean O'Hara
You are in a maze of dark and twisting passages, all alike. You don't know how you got here.


You possess a box of granola bars, a bottle of water and a PSP.

>look at psp

The PSP is off.

>turn on psp

A scrolling text informs you that you've been drafted into a LARP based upon an old Steve Jackson Games book. Your goal is to survive.


There is a woman here.

>take woman

She won't fit in your bag.


The woman follows you. You find yourself in an area with seven other people plus
Jeremy Hurd
I cannot believe the number of four and five star reviews this book has, unless they were reading a totally different novel. I want to blame the poor writing on the translation, but honestly, I think it would be bad in any language. Disjointed and forced, Kishi moves the narrative along by withholding necessary pieces of information, having characters make giant leaps of logic, and worst of all, cartoon interludes. Many of the shock elements designed to instill horror come across as just stupid ...more
It's been a while since I've read some solid, survival horror fiction and this little bit satisfied my cravings, but only barely.

Although classified as a "horror" piece, it actually proved to not be as horrific as I would've hoped (considering that I'm a huge Stephen King/Junji Ito fan, my hopes for contemporary horror border the extremes). Rather, the grisly nods towards cannibalism and the rather Lord of the Flies-esque power struggle proved tired and tried rather than a refreshing remix on s
Maria Avelino
The Crimson labyrinth by Yusuke Kishi

The Crimson Labyrinth is one of the best books i read for all time. The story is about the experiences of a man named Fujiki in a twisted dark game called The Mars Labyrinth. The Mars Labyrinth is a game where down-on-their-luck people from Japan are kidnapped and placed in a "crimson world" --a place somewhere in Australia. The players, not knowing where they are, are then informed that they are in a survival game and that there are only two ways out, to pla
This may very well be one of my favorite books. I don't know if I can even put this into words...

This is Survivor but serious. This is Survivor where you're voted off by dying. This is how Survivor should be ;)

The main character wakes up, finding himself somewhere unknown. A video game system (or something similar to it) rests at his side, informing him to meet up with a group of people. And this group of people is informed that there's a prize...for one of them.

This is an incredibly quick read
Asta Olafs
I keep thinking of the Crimson Labyrinth. That is, I keep thinking of the book's setting, the labyrinth. I love the setting, the universe the author builds around it and just about everything that takes place within the labyrinth.
(view spoiler)
Death games, what is it about these stories that gets me so excited? Is it the outlandish competitions, the characters pushed to their limits, or the sordid tales of survival against forced odds? Well, I guess all of these. And, this is one of the few books that delivers on every level.
Imagine waking up in a valley with that slight drugged 'I don't know how I got here' fear pitted deep within you. Stretching out before you is a labyrinth of naturally eroded chasms, you have very little supplies

This was a truly creepy novel. I read about this novel in a magazine for the library when I was working there. The magazine was listing and providing reviews on these books for the library to purchase. This was one that one of the branches actually had so I checked it out. Yikes!

This book has I believe it was 6-8 characters who are kidnapped when they answer an ad in the paper. The character point of view witnessed in the narrative is going on a potential job interview. Let'
El Fear
The Crimson Labyrinth is a very engaging story, but I enjoyed the journey just a bit more than I did the destination. I will say this for the story: I have an awful habit of starting a book in the middle of another book, and leaving that first book for a few days, weeks or months, til I get back to it. It's a vicious cycle; why are there no support groups for this?

I digress. I devoured the pages of this book. I read it at every chance I could get, just to find out what would happen next. There
I read some of the reviews of this book and was surprised at the vehemence of some people's reactions. I picked this book up at random at the bookstore and had no idea what it was going to be like. I had not read Battle Royal nor the Hunger Games, and had relatively little to compare it to. I generally like horror novels, and I like Japanese stories, although the translations can be awkward.

It is a light read, as other reviewers have said, and I read it in an afternoon. However, I don't think t
Robert Beveridge
Yusuke Kishi, The Crimson Labyrinth (Vertical, 1999)

What do you get when you cross “The Most Dangerous Game” and Battle Royale? You get The Crimson Labyrinth, Yusuke Kishi's first novel translated into English. While it's a bit over the top at times, it's well-written and readable.

The plot: a man with amnesia wakes up in a gully. Next to him is food, water, and a handheld game machine. Confused, he starts wandering until he meets up with another person, who is similarly suffering from amnesia an
I'm going to preface this review by saying that there have been three books in my life so far that have genuinely terrified me. This book, Next of Kin, and Stephen King's Misery. So no, I wouldn't recommend Crimson Labyrinth for the faint of heart.

There's a group of people who find themselves in a labyrinth-like canyon made from red sandstone or something similar, which is what gives the book its title. Soon, they discover that they've been placed in some sort of twisted "game." They're given ga
Anna Janelle
I'm going to skimp on this review because it is Monday - and Monday mornings are notoriously craptacular. Perhaps I’ll come back later to add my thoughts; however, at the present time, this is the best I can do.


Take Battle Royale - and then The Hunger Games - and then just a bit of game theory and those delightful old Choose Your Own Adventure books. Set in Australia’s Bungle Bungle terrain, adults are released into the wilderness with no memory of how they got there. They are armed with portabl
Jessica Strider
Pros: creepy premise, interesting characters

Cons: introduced to too many characters at once making them hard to remember

When Yoshihiko Fujiki wakes up in a red stone canyon in the rain, he has no idea where he is or what's happened to him. All he has are a few basic supplies and a handheld game system welcoming him to the Mars Labyrinth. Before he has the chance to follow the directions to the first checkpoint he runs into another player, Ai Otomo. Her game system is broken, so they team up to f
Jack Rabbit
Very interesting. I don't understand why people didn't like this book. The beginning was a tad bit slow, but the story is interesting enough and I enjoyed it. There wasn't quite enough action to suit my tastes, but the ending is well done, if heavily foreshadowed throughout the book. All in all this is worth a read, especially if you like other japanese battle royale style fiction. And it does teach you a heck of a lot of information about Australia.


I wanted to read this book because it was recommended for those who read Battle Royale and while it is a very good read, it pales in comparison. I'm not disappointed in having read it, I just wish I had read The Crimson Labyrinth before Battle Royale. I loved the constant suspense, dread, and intrigue of 'What's going to happen next?!,' that Battle Royale had in full supply. There's suspense to be had in CL but it's more limited since the book mainly follows the fate of just the two main charact ...more
Not a fan. I found the translation somewhat sloppy--and if it wasn't, the writer relied on far too many cliches and abstracts to succeed in making this a powerful book. I liked the ending and the main character a bit, and the setting and situation carried some powerful tension and suspense, but overall I wouldn't revisit it again.
I want to give it 4.5 stars.
Very thought provoking book on survival and illusions of reality.
I really enjoyed this twist of the "Survivor" show.
Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed "The Hunger Games", but this is much more morbid and dark.
A small group of Japanese men and women find themselves in an unfamiliar place, a strange and vast reddish land formation that resembles a natural labyrinth. They are each provided with a handheld messaging device and assigned to split up on different routes. Which is the correct one? Who brought them there and why? And can there be only one winner?

This is a page-turning novel of adventure with some good moments of horror and suspense. On the downside, I found the conclusion a bit unsatisfying a
Desiree Deyampert
I thought this was pretty good. Has elements of Survivor, Battle Royale, and D&D, so if you're into any of those, it's a good quick read. I could see a B movie coming out of this one.
Lee Guanda
Starts off rather shakily but quickly develops into a thrilling flight; very difficult to put down once you start reading; prose is nothing to write home about but the story is interesting enough to keep readers glued; enough clues are scattered throughout the book that readers can more or less guess parts of the ending; roughly three quarter into the story a puzzling decision is made by one of the characters that remains unexplained until the end (a loose end); some characters end up underutili ...more
Oct 31, 2007 Jennie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Battle Royale Fans
Shelves: asian, asian-horror
Crimson Labyrinth holds your interest pretty well and it has plenty of interesting (and gruesome) details to share with readers, but ultimately it lacks the fast pacing of Battle Royale.

This is a real shame because the elements used to construct this story have so much horrific potential. By the end, you find yourself wishing that more attention had been payed to pacing, action and to incorporating later revelations into the story earlier...I can't begin to stress how great some of these ideas
I would have liked it more if I didn't book cheat and spoil myself. :( But alas, really good!

Only flaws were:
- Sometimes too much description and unnecessary information
- Characters not fleshed out enough, main character lacked physical information
- Platy and Lucifer talk way too much sometimes
- Ending felt kind of empty; like there needed to be more conclusions

Otherwise, a solid story with very interesting psychological, thriller and survival elements. Definitely recommended! If you decide to
Entertaining but unremarkable - The Crimson Labyrinth is obviously heavily influenced by Battle Royale; Crimson Labyrinth is a breezy read (you'll finish in a day or so) with a pretty intriguing setup, but the latter section is bogged down by the main characters running and hiding and running and hiding and not too much else. The ending is abrupt, vague, and anticlimactic.

The back flap seems to tease a maze filled with traps and ghoulish surprises around every turn, I was a little disappointed
Steve Carroll
I picked this up because my wife and I enjoy the Japanese tv series made out of Kishi's Enomoto series of locked room mysteries. Those aren't available in English so I grabbed this, which is his only available novel in translation. I devoured this book on a lazy Sunday. You will note that it is similar in concept to "Battle Royale" but most people don't realize it actually came out the same year in Japan as that book and predates Hunger Games by many. It's a fun lark. Less social commentary than ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 86 87 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Summer of the Ubume
  • Now You're One of Us
  • Parasite Eve
  • GOTH A Novel of Horror
  • Sayonara, Gangsters
  • Naoko
  • Paprika
  • Strangers
  • Dark Water
  • Shadow Family
  • Audition
  • Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination
  • Secret Rendezvous
  • Autofiction
  • Be With You
  • Disparitions
  • Kamikaze Girls
  • Tattoo Murder Case
He graduated from Kyoto University with a degree in Economics. After working for a life insurance company for several years, Kishi started his writing career as a freelancer. He has twice won the Japan Horror Novel Award, and boasts bestselling status in Japan with multiple works adapted to the screen. The Crimson Labyrinth marks his American debut.

Awards given to his works:
Japan Horror Novel Awar
More about Yusuke Kishi...
新世界より [Shinsekai Yori] From the New World, Volume 1 From the New World, Volume 2 黒い家 新世界より 下( Shinsekai Yori Tankobon, #2)

Share This Book