Tatiana's Reviews > Battle Royale

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
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's review
Apr 20, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009, dystopias-post-apocalyptic, only-i-will-like
Read in May, 2009

I came across this book after reading “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins which was claimed to be a “Battle Royale” rip-off. Needless to say, I was curious…

I have to admit, similarities between these two books are undeniable. They both are based on the same idea of teenagers forced to participate in a deadly game where only one person wins and lives. However at the same time these books are completely different. I believe you can enjoy and appreciate them both equally. If “Hunger Games” is more of a personal story of survival from the POV of just one "player," “Battle Royale” is a complex story which follows all participants of the game. It is much more brutal, violent, and bloody than “Hunger Games.” The book explores what makes regular kids turn on each other, what in their pasts allows them to commit the ultimate crime or what stops them from participating in the killing game altogether.

I have to warn however about a couple of things. First, the book has a lot of Japanese names that sound (and look) very similar. So in the beginning it can be hard to follow all characters, but you get used to them eventually.

Another concern of mine is the quality of translation. It could have definitely been better. At times I felt something was lost in translation. But I immensely enjoyed this book in spite of the flaws. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is not against gory and bloody reads.
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Reading Progress

04/29 page 150
24.31% "It's a blood bath, but I love it!"
05/01 page 250
40.52% "Still love it!"
02/01 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Sharon Loved this book! I think I have finally found my long lost book twin. :D

Krystle Haha. I didn't find a problem with the names (maybe it's because I'm Japanese?) but the translation was iffy in parts.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Which did you like better? The Hunger Games or Battle Royale? I've heard nothing but good things about this one, I think I'll check it out soon.

Tatiana Sam wrote: "Which did you like better? The Hunger Games or Battle Royale? I've heard nothing but good things about this one, I think I'll check it out soon."

It's a difficult question. In the end, probably HG - it was a more accessible read.

Melissa Battle Royale was what got me into dystopian novels. One of my favorites. Speaking from a filmmaker's perspective, thought the movie was pretty well done. Especially because of the sound design and soundtrack. And also helped that the director lived through war before. I felt the movie captured the intensity of the book pretty good. 2nd movie was pretty good too. :]

message 6: by Cassie (new) - added it

Cassie Hoping to read this one soon, especially after seeing the ratings.

LaShaun I saw the movie first and had the same problem you did following who was who. What helped me combat that was reading the manga (which was even MORE gory) because it actually does look into the competitors' past and makes them easier to remember.

Sierra Bamiro Yeah I believe a lot of stuff got lost in translation but seeing as I've only begun to study Japanese, I don't think I'm ready to tackle the whole book in its native language. And you're so right, HG and BR are like two sides of the same coin and I love HG for its personal note and I love BR cause it's so gritty and ruthless. His interview is also very aspirational for me, as well

message 9: by Brian (new)

Brian Spiekerman And with Hunger Games, the teen death match is just the tip of the iceberg. The series deals with corrupted governments, poverty in gross contrast with materialism, trauma's effects on a young person, and war.
It's a bit like with Harry Potter - Rowling's whole concept of a magical school may or may not have been lifted from a Jane Yolen book, but Hogwarts is just one rather insignificant part of the series's relative scope.

Graham Bradley Agree with Brian--for THG, the games were maybe 30% of the whole story, which had a LOT of layers. BR focused more on the ensemble cast, all of whom were going through the same event for different reasons.

message 11: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Laker I completely agree, right down to the concerns over the translation.

Graham Bradley There's a new translation from 2009, I believe. It's supposed to flow better in English.

Thomas Murphy The copy I had had the students listed so I just added notes to their names to refer back to to know whom they were and also which of the 'cliques' that they were affiliated with. I'd recommend this going in.

message 14: by Adam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Adam Flaskamp The thing is only the first hunger games book is a rip off of battle royal after that the rest of the series is just like every teen fiction getting published now a days.

Jason Alexander Agreed (to what you might ask - to the whole of your review). I think we came at it from a similar point of view, having read The Hunger Games first and actually coming to this book partially due to that.

Looking back at the two I think a strength of this book is in it's chaotic mood and lack of explanation. Letting the reader be thrown right into the moment to moment nature of the story and not dwell on backstory too much.

message 16: by Kyria (new)

Kyria Collins Thanks for this review! I get so annoyed at so many people yakking on and on in falsely accusing THG of being a "rip off" of Battle Royale, especially if they never even read THG or if they go into it "expecting" it to be like Battle Royale with this warped sense of purist's entitlement and then go off on a tangent in attacking THG unfairly, and even going so far as to accuse Suzanne Collins of plagiarism! Suzanne herself said that she had no idea that BR existed until she got wind of all the hate going towards her andshortly before releasing/publishing the first THG novel, she called her assistant and talked about it with her and when she voiced considering checking out BR, her assistant wisely told her "Don't read it." (Thank God for that wise assistant!

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