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Friday, August 13, 2010

Heidi Reviews.. Battle Royale by.Koushun Takami

Heidi Cheramie

Battle Royale Review
Koushun Takami-Author
Battle Royale: The Novel


My niece read this book when she was fifteen and recommended it to me. This violent, controversial first novel takes place in the Republic of Greater East Asia. A fictional fascist empire that includes Japan and China. It is a simple story. The government runs a compulsory game yearly that pits a group of teenagers against each other until there is only one survivor. Forty-two fifteen year old junior high students are kidnapped and brought to an island. There are twenty-one boys and twenty-one girls from the same junior high school. They are fitted with collars that will explode if they try to leave the island or don’t play the “game.” (If no one is killed in a twenty four hour period the collars will detonate.) Everyone is also given a different “weapon” that vary from a boomerang to a machine gun.

This book presents us with a simple moral dilemma. What would we do to survive? How would we behave in this situation? Would we kill our friends, best friends, boyfriend or girlfriend to live? This is a great novel to read with a group because it would certainly stimulate many interesting conversations about our moral and ethical beliefs.

My niece stated this book makes a political statement when she asked me to read it. Battle Royale certainly addresses country politics and economic issues however I feel the real strength in this book is the psychological and emotional issues it stirs up. What kind of person are we? Are we born that way or do environmental factors make us who we are?

Battle Royale is a creepy, violent cult novel and I loved it! I felt the translation from Japanese to English was rough at times but I was able to overlook the small mistakes and couldn’t stop turning the pages! (600+ pages) It is addicting and you can ‘t wait to see how the next student survives or dies. It isn’t a comfortable read and I felt tense and discomfited while reading certain pages. The scene where the students wake up in a room and are told they must kill each other and told the rules of the “game” is especially difficult to read.

The book is seen through almost all of the 42 characters point of view at some point and I really cared about them. Or hated them depending on the character. I felt some of the students were a little too stereotypical but I rooted for the three main characters in the novel and I became emotionally invested in them.

There is a newer version of Battle Royale with a newly revised English translation and a twenty-two page afterword by the author. It is currently published under the Haikasoro imprint and the Viz version is currently out of print. Also a Japanese movie was made in 2000 from the novel and it is quite popular as well.

This book reminded me of one of my favorite YA books, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both of these novels stir up many emotions and make you think and feel and isn’t that all we can ask for from a book? I recommend Battle Royale and give it ****4 STARS!!! Happy Reading!

Product Details

Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; Original edition (November 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1421527723
ISBN-13: 978-1421527727
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.7 x 1.7 inches


  1. WOW! I've never heard of this one before but it sounds amazing. I'm surprise they haven't made an American version of the movie, maybe TOO disturbing you think? Anyway, thanks for the review, I've added it to my wishlist.

  2. wow. i dont think i could have said it better

  3. Thank you Vampires and tofu and anonymous! Love getting comments! Thanks for reading Wicked Readings!!


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