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Publisher's Summary

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence in a dystopian world, it is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television.
A Japanese pulp classic available in English-language audio for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old director Kinji Fukusaku.
©1999 Koushun Takami; Translation copyright 2009, Yuji Oniki (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By TCL on 09-15-12

Not for those with a weak stomach!

Battle Royale is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. It's actually given me nightmares. It's also one of my absolute favorite books ever.

I read the print version of the book several times before getting it in audio format, and I think that that made listening to it much easier than if I had listened to it without reading it. The book was translated from Japanese, and the translation's not perfect, so that takes some getting used to, as does the fact that there are 42 children all with very similar Japanese names. It takes a little more concentration to follow Battle Royale than it probably takes for most other books.

If you can get over those few problems, though, and explicit violence doesn't make you cringe, you'll realize that this story is wonderfully terrifying.

Forty-two 15-year-old classmates are thrown onto an island and told to fight until only of of them survives. (Think The Hunger Games, but for grown ups). And heed this warning very seriously - the violence in this book gets *very* graphic. If you're someone for whom that might be a problem, don't buy it. Try the print version instead.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 10-26-14


Starts out with lots of promise, then drizzles. This is pre-hunger games. It is obvious that Collins got her story from here. Many have claimed this to be gory and it is, maybe. 15 year old kids are shot, stabbed, etc... by 15 year old kids and by soldiers. Kids are killed in gory fashion, but the way it is written or translated, it does not come across that way. I did not cringe at the gore, nor did I feel the intensity. Some have blamed this on the narrator. I thought the narrator was okay. He is no Dick Hill or Ray Porter, but I honestly did not feel it was his fault.

I found it interesting that a Japanese writer made Asia the bad guys and America the good guys. I also never quite understood why the government wanted these games. Collins does a lot better job explaining the reason for the games then Takami. This game is also secret and not televised, which keeps making you wonder why.

We start with 42 students and one by one they are knocked off. After the Introduction, prologue, chapters 0 thru five, we get into long dialogues on students deciding on if they should play the game and who they should trust. We consistently have this debate and then someone is killed and then the debate starts over. For most children we get a background. Their is lots of talk about who has a crush on who, etc... From chapter 11 thru 21 this sounds a lot like a teen book. Around chapter 22 with 10 hours still to go in this 19 hour marathon, Jim The Impatient said no more. I just didn't care no more.

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20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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