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Read All The Things! Reviews

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Battle Royale

Battle Royale - Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki Battle Royale isn't literature. There's not much depth to it. A lot of the characters are underdeveloped. It could use some more world building. The violence is unrealistic. It's slightly predictable. It's the textbook definition of pulp fiction.

And it's awesome. I've wanted to read this book for years, ever since I heard that it was inspired in part by Stephen King's work. It didn't disappoint. This story has a familiar plot: a bunch of fifteen-year-olds are put on an island and told to kill each other, but it's different enough from other books with that plot to be interesting. My favorite element of the book was the POV switches. We get to learn about a lot of the characters and why they chose to participate or not participate in the game.

A lot of people have been comparing this book to The Hunger Games. Battle Royale has more gore and less politics. There are a lot of characters (over 50, I think), and the majority of them die. We get to see the bloody details of almost every death. A lot of gunshots, a few stabbings, a poisoning, some falls from high places, a hatchet in the face, that kind of thing. There is a lot of action, a lot of plot twists, and at least one death every few dozen pages.

If you have a strong stomach, time to read 600 pages, and a love of intense books, I'd recommend this one.

If I had to find things to complain about, the translation would be at the top of my list. I wish I could read Japanese. I have a feeling that this book is much better in its original language. There were a few times, especially at the end, where I had to reread to make sure that I understood what was happening.

Another thing that I would complain about would be the number of characters. There are a lot of them, and some of them have similar names (Yukie, Yuko, Yuka, Yukiko, Yumiko). It can be hard to remember who is doing what.

Finally, Kazuo's bulletproof vest annoyed me. Bulletproof vests aren't that bulletproof. The more you shoot them, the less effective they become. Kazuo got shot a ton of times and never seemed to be too bothered by it. Actually, both Kazuo and Shogo seemed unrealistically prepared for the game.

Even with the complaints, I enjoyed this book. I'm glad I finally got a chance to read it.