jess's Reviews > Battle Royale

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
670054
's review
Jan 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, fiction
Read from March 27 to 29, 2012

State-sanctioned Program consists of sending 42 fifteen-year-old classmates to an island with random weapons (ranging from machine guns to forks) and telling them that only one of them can survive.

I picked this up, of course, because of the Hunger Games hang-over I've been suffering from for the last sixteen months. BR scratched the itch in such a seriously soul-crushing, gore-filled, 600-page style that I'm certain I'm over my need for dystopian government-endorsed teenage bloodbaths for now. So, there's that. To be clear, this is an adult book, not YAF, and it has a lot of gratuitous, graphic violence, murder, rape, brutal fight scenes, etc.

The plot is fine. I was neither enthralled nor enraged by it. I never really connected with the characters because there are 42 of them, not including family members, friends, old girlfriends, and government officials, and it's difficult to keep everyone straight. I didn't think the plot was that compelling, and the themes of resistance (which I would normally love) just seemed kind of futile, naive and pathetic. And in reality, exhausted, wounded teenagers planning to overthrow a government would probably be futile, naive and pathetic, but dammit, this is fiction. I wanted believable resistance.

A lot of people suggest that The Hunger Games is a rip-off of this book, but I couldn't help noticing how very different the stories are beyond the basic plot, which I think we can all agree, is not that original anyway. For example, HG has some a strong female protagonist. BR is pretty seriously lacking in empowered females. HG focuses a lot on the 'reality tv' aspects, the spectacle, the showmanship, the pressure to perform, and how the upper class treats the games as entertainment. BR's Program happens behind closed doors with only minimal information released to the public after it's finished.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Battle Royale.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Cory (new)

Cory Dow You're on the state sponsored,
juvenile violence bender! :)


jess Cory wrote: "You're on the state sponsored,
juvenile violence bender! :)"


i am pretty sure battle royale has cured me of this obsession. it is so brutal!


message 3: by Raina (new)

Raina I want to like this review again. :)

I also found it really helpful that you mentioned (in person) that the story is told by many perspectives - making it even harder to keep the myriad characters straight. Thank you for reading this for me. ;)


jess Raina wrote: "I want to like this review again. :)

I also found it really helpful that you mentioned (in person) that the story is told by many perspectives - making it even harder to keep the myriad characte..."


oh goodness, thanks. i'm happy to take one for the team. BR is quality pulpy entertainment. it's just not literature.


back to top