Grisselda Nihardja

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Battle Royale

Posted in Books • 19 June 2014

Battle Royale - grisscorner

I don’t know where I’ve been, but one day I had this lunch with a couple of friends and one of the topic was book.  No surprise here.  I’ve mentioned to my friends that I really love The Hunger Games trilogy and both of them told me to read Battle Royale.  They said the “game” is very similiar, the idea is basically the same, and those things successfully made me shocked. I just found out about the existence of this book at that time.  Oh God, did I live under a rock?  So when I checked my trusted book store, found the book, I ordered it right away.  The one that I have here is the remastered edition first printing, so I was beyond excited.  I love the cover, I think the cover lives up its title. So cool.

What it is about?

It’s kinda hard to not compare Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, since the idea is quite the same.  There are some  similiarities:  teenagers, isolated arena that can be customized during the “program”, and the fight to death rule.  But sure, there are also some clear distinction that I think deserves another comparison blog post, so I save that for later.  Anyway, Battle Royale follows a class of ninth grade junior high school students and they (unfortunately) are selected as a part of the program, where they have to kill each other, no matter what, no matter how, until only one remains.  Brutal?  You betcha!

My thoughts on Battle Royale:

I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK.  I enjoyed the setting, the story line was kinda predictable from but the ending caught me off guard. OH THAT TWIST.

The story follows 42 students, and first of all, Japanese names can look similiar for us who is not a Japanese, so I literally jotting down each name and a little description for each character as a “guide”.  It’s very helpful. Don’t judge me, people. And even though there are a lot of characters in this book, each one of this students has a story and surprisingly I had so much fun reading all chapters!  Their background actually was a major part that affected their action in the arena.

The main idea of the program itself is totally crazy.  Battle simulation that was necessary to country’s defense, and it is an annual program.  WTF? Why the government do that to a bunch of kids? I couldn’t understand it and figured it out later because at the end of the book you’ll also know the purpose of this program, and it was simply evil.  I know this is a dystopia, and in dystopia novel the government consist of messed up people that think they always right and give their best to the country.  Everyone should obey the government without questioning anything.  If someone showed a little disobedience, that person could dissapear or simply shot dead.  Orde Baru, anyone?  Still, I couldn’t help it and felt sorry for these characters because I can’t even imagine how insane it’d be if I had to kill my own classmates that I’ve known since God knows when. Yet they had limited options, kill, or be killed.

This book is a gripping story and I was super invested with some characters, I could feel their “mental battle”, and it was frustrating.  Urgh, so many emotions.  Battle Royale is not just about battle and fight but this book reveals more aspects in life that are very interesting to discuss.  How fear can drive someone to do some unimaginable things, how hard it is to trust someone (in this case their own friend) in a twisted situation, how to find bravery and courage to survive, and for junior high school students to have a lot on their plate like that was breaking my heart.

The story involves shotgun, sickle, crossbow, different types of knives, pistols, you name it.  So you’ll find some explicit gore scenes in this book.  That being said, I can understand if this book is not everyone’s cup of tea. I personally love the fight scenes. Brutal yet fascinating.

Recommended for:

A dystopia and action-driven story lover. And also to anybody who is not against gory, intense violence and bloody reads.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5! 

Favorite quote: “Relax when you need to, but be tense when you need to. The point is to never mix up the two.”

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  • Dindie

    I guess William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was waaay beyond these two (Battle Royale & Hunger Games) you should check them, if you haven’t. It’s classic!

    • Grisselda

      Thanks for your recommendation! Definitely put that book on my TBR list. *di Books&Beyond ada pula nih, godaan banget*

      • Dindie

        Goodluck. It’s as fun as reading Adolf Huxley and Orwell.