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Battle Royale
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Other Books (Non-King) > February 2015: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

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Becky (beckyofthe19and9) New Group read time! Remember to mark all spoilers and be considerate of new Battle Royale readers.

That said... Enjoy the book.

Annnnnnnd go!


Vale (vimry) | 16 comments I started reading a bit early (about two days ago) because I didn't have any short books to read between the time I finished my last book for January and and now, so I'm a little over 200 pages in already.
I was a bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy it for the first couple of chapters, because of the awkward feel that the translated text has at first, but once I got into the rhythm of it and the action picked up, I really started enjoying it.


Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I'm reading this one now and I definitely see what you mean about the awkward feel of the text. It's very stilted, and all of the... dramatic pause... ellipses are really kind of annoying.

But still, otherwise, it's intriguing and moves along pretty quickly, so we shall see where it goes.


Kandice | 4053 comments I know I had a hard time keeping track of everyone because there were so many students. (view spoiler)


Marjo Loyens (marjo56) | 60 comments I agree with Kandice. I too had a hard time keeping track of everyone. Not only because there were so many students, but also because -to me- their names all sounded the same:). Furthermore, I was a little dissapointed with Suzanne Collins, because her Hunger Games seem very similar to Battle Royale. I don't say they are a ripp-off, there are some essential differences, but still....


Kandice | 4053 comments I didn't think the names all sounded alike, but they were all so different than what I am used to. Often, when there is a huge "cast" of characters I think of someone I have known with a certain name and that makes it easier to keep track. Here, I've never known anyone with any of these names so that wasn't an option.


Vale (vimry) | 16 comments I had a hard time keeping track of everyone at first too, but as the book progresses and the numbers dwindle, it gets a bit easier.
Even though this book is pretty long, I'm getting through it quite quickly. I've read a little over 100 pages a day since I picked it up, which is impressive because I've also been really busy.


Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I'm not really having a hard time keeping the characters straight, but I am having a hard time with the writing. It's grating more and more on my nerves.

All the ellipses, and the Yes-comma-unrelated-statement-that-is-supposed-to-somehow-be-a-foregone-conclusion or No-comma-unrelated-statement-that-is-supposed-to-somehow-be-a-foregone-conclusion bits, and the "quotation marks for emphasis" parts are making me crazy.

I know that it's probably due to the translation, but ugh.


Kandice | 4053 comments Over the last couple of years I have been reading more and more translated books and I do think a lot gets lost in translation as far as flow and style go. I've gotten better at ignoring it, but it has to be a great plot since the writing itself won't carry the novel.

Too bad I can't read every language and avoid translations altogether!


message 10: by Squire (last edited Feb 03, 2015 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Squire (srboone) | 11 comments When I read this, I was living in Japan. I understand what everybody is saying about the stilted language, but that was they way the Japanese spoke English to me. So the translation didn't bother me. The punctuation, on the other hand, did seem too much.

But it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the book.


message 11: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Squire wrote: "When I read this, I was living in Japan. I understand what everybody is saying about the stilted language, but that was they way the Japanese spoke English to me. So the translation didn't bother me."

I was just in China, and it was similar - especially the confirmations (Yes, this is how this is done. Yes, we will use this tool. Etc.). But in the book, the confirmations seem more like they are confirming a conclusion that the character is supposed to have come to already, only the text missed that bit in between. So it feels awkward to me.

Regarding the pauses, it doesn't really feel halting in the same way as someone speaking in a second language would pause to think of a word or something, I guess. It seems more like pauses for dramatic effect. For example, when Sakamochi is giving his introduction:

"Let me explain the situation. The reason why you're all here today then..."

Then he said: "...is to kill each other."

Or his other comment: "Well, like Mr. Hayashida, she was very uncooperative. They both didn't accept your assignment, so in order to silence her, well, I had to...," Sakamochi continued calmly, "...(view spoiler). Oh don't worry. It's not like she's dead."

It just seems awkward. He's being honest and direct, and has no compunctions about killing or making them kill. His whole reason for being is to get them acclimated to the fact that they will be killing each other very soon. So to draw things out, like he's trying to soften the blow to their delicate 15 year old sensibilities just seems strange to me, and it's taking me out of the moment.


message 12: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura (thisislauraw) I've wanted to read this for such a long time, so the group choosing it for this month was the kick up the backside that I needed.

Just finished Part One and I'm really enjoying it.
I'm a big fan of the film, so it's great to finally read the book. The translation/style isn't bothersome, but I've read a lot of Japanese books in the past so maybe I'm just not noticing it.


message 13: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) *sigh* I'm really struggling with this one. I know I've gotten pickier over the last few years, but I'm really finding almost every single aspect of this book annoying, and I've now reached the point where it would take something truly amazing to happen to turn this around for me. I'm midway through, and picking this book up feels like a chore. Do I really want to read more repetitive disbelief that yes, your classmates REALLY ARE killing each other? Not really. But I keep going anyway, in the hopes that we'll move on and something will happen.


message 14: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) OK, I'm a tiny bit past halfway now, and it actually seems to be moving along somewhat, and isn't quite so repetitive and annoying to read. Hopefully this trend will continue!


Kandice | 4053 comments I think the story picks up a LOT when the cast of characters is whittled down some.


Costas Ioannou (greek_tornado) | 77 comments Glad you guys are picking this, I read it a few months ago and I thought it was great for a 'Survival Game' type story, pretty gory and action-packed.

About the writing, as someone who has read his fair share of translated Japanese novels, and actually knows some Japanese, I can confirm what Squire said; that's pretty much how they talk. Trust me, it can get way worse if the translator tries to bring the book to English/European standards...

I don't remember the punctuation though, I've read so many mistyped ebooks that I don't really notice it anymore.

PS.: There is also a manga adaptation of this book, that the writer highly approves.


message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma | 0 comments I'm going to start reading this this weekend. I haven't read this in years, so really looking forward to the re-read.


message 18: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) A friend of mine mentioned that there are two translations of this, and that the newer one is much better. I think I'm reading the other one. That could explain a lot, but not everything. I can't pin all of the writing and character stupidity on translation.


Kandice | 4053 comments I had no idea there were two translations. I got it from the library (long ago) so am unsure which I read. That's a little frustrating.


message 20: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 469 comments I did not choose to read this book b/c I "thought" that the subject matter might be a bit much for me. I did read the HUNGER GAMES trilogy and did not find that to be so in those books.
Is the killing THE thing? Is it very graphic? Or is it simply alluded to and left to one's imagination? I would appreciate your thoughts - thanks!


message 21: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Betsy wrote: "I did not choose to read this book b/c I "thought" that the subject matter might be a bit much for me. I did read the HUNGER GAMES trilogy and did not find that to be so in those books.
Is the ..."


It's graphic in that it's described, but not gratuitous, if that makes sense. We're told exactly what's happening, and sometimes it's a bit gory, but the descriptions aren't excessive.


Summer (paradisecity) | 360 comments I have the newer translation, but I agree with others who've said the flow feels choppy.

I'm also surprised by the melodrama regarding romantic relationships. I'm wondering if there's a cultural/media piece that I'm missing, because it somehow feels very different from the way romantic relationships are written in American novels.


message 23: by Tek (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tek | 95 comments I read this novel years ago and it is one of my favorites. The hardest thing to get past, as an American, were the names. I would get some of them mixed up. But once I got familiar with that I breezed through it. I've read it three times and bought the movie and manga. Love this book.


message 24: by Costas (last edited Feb 09, 2015 12:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Costas Ioannou (greek_tornado) | 77 comments Esse wrote: "I'm also surprised by the melodrama regarding romantic relationships. I'm wondering if there's a cultural/media piece that I'm missing, because it somehow feels very different from the way romantic relationships are written in American novels. "

The romance is definitely not one of this book's strong points in my opinion. It felt forced and a little awkward.
It's not a "japanese thing" either, I've read some great romantic plots/subplots in other Japanese books.


message 25: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne | 8 comments I read this several years ago, before anyone had heard of Hunger Games. Really loved it and recommended it to everyone. When I heard about Hunger Games I told everyone who talked about it that they had to read Battle Royale. Much better, much more adult, and much more intense. I hope everyone enjoys it!


message 26: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 469 comments Is THIS month's BOTM (March) GERALD'S GAME ? Will the thread go up today? I just finished it last evening, loved it, and am anxious to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks!


message 27: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob Damon | 24 comments One of the best books I've read in recent years. I read the more recent translation by Nathan Collins and found the story flowed very well.


message 28: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob Damon | 24 comments Becky wrote: "A friend of mine mentioned that there are two translations of this, and that the newer one is much better. I think I'm reading the other one. That could explain a lot, but not everything. I can't p..."
I read the translation by Nathan Collins and found it to be fine.


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