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Battle Royale - Koushun Takami - Bogormen
So many books, so little time.
Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
Title: Battle Royale
Author: Koushun Takami
Genre: Dystopian, Horror
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 624
Date read: February, 2010

A class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

Several people mentioned this book in their reviews of The Hunger Games so I was intrigued, and jumped at the chance to read it. The reason for comparison is obvious and both are amazing books in their own right. I think I marginally prefer THG though - mostly because Battle Royale did get a tad repetitative at times. After all, there were twice as many people to kill off, and only so many ways to do it.

That said, it was still almost impossible to put down - both physically and mentally - and a very interesting social commentary. Many of the twists I had not seen coming, and some of the deaths (or the timings of them at least) were very unexpected.

It's a lot more gory than THG, but also - IMHO at least - more unrealistic. Some of the things people survived I would not have thought possible... although admittedly that may be because I know next to nothing about mortal combat. Fortunately!

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