Battle royale by Koushun Takami book review

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Note: All my reviews are spoiler free!

“Top of the class” now has a whole new meaning . . .

Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of 42 junior high school students are taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided with weapons and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.

I first discovered there was a book after watching the film. It’s translated from its original language, Japanese. So special mention to the translator, Yuji Oniki, who did an excellent job.

On receiving the book, I wondered, (after cooing and hugging it for several minutes), whether it was going to be good at being over 600 pages long and not just drawn out?

Well, I can answer that question now.

It is brilliant and is worth every page. In fact, I loved it so much I was sad that it ended! From the blurb, you can imagine what type of book this is going to be. It was criticized in Japan for how violent was.

I thought I would grinning evilly during this book, choosing my favourites and being delighted when the ones I didn’t like got killed off.

That is not how it went. Koushun Takami is brilliantly EVIL.

I love how this book is written. From the writing to how the POV switches. There are 42 students. You can imagine it being difficult to work out who is who. Particularly for me, as I’m not used to Japanese names.

After the first 32 pages of this book which are incredibly overwhelming and make you dizzy with names, this book picks up majorly.

So, if you’re going to give this book a try, hold out until after those first 32 pages. You won’t regret it.

Anyway back to POV switches and how cruel the Author is. We have a main, main characters, but the book often switches to a POV of a student even for just one page. I loved those little switches and they were done amazingly well.

Takami manages to make me feel in love or at least feel sorry for, the character within a few sentences. Even the ‘bad’ characters. The point is I felt for all of the characters.

Takami is brilliant at weaving information of the characters in a quick way that doesn’t hold up the action. Along with giving you enough physical description of a character too. One character was description was cold eyes and slicked back hair. This was enough as his actions built up the rest of him.

So yes, this is why Koushun Takami is an evil mastermind because he is brutal on squeezing every ounce of emotion from you. I expected to spend the book cackling manically, frightening the people around me, but, no, I spent the book feeling incredibly sad and moved.

I devoured this book in two days and, while it gave a good conclusion and closure for me, I still didn’t want it to end, (because I enjoyed it so much!)

Since then, Koushun Takami hasn’t written anything, but I’m holding onto hope because I loved this book and would love to read more about him. Maybe a letter from a crazed fan would help?

(P.S. Check out the map. It’s great fun trying to figure out where all the students are.)

To sum up, Brilliant writing, Brilliant characters, Brilliant story

Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? Yes

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Stars: 6/6


The hunger games book review

The hunger games film review

Battle royale film review


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12 thoughts on “Battle royale by Koushun Takami book review

  1. Bieke (Nelly B.) 13/02/2016 / 3:55 pm

    I might just check this one out! I have never heard about it before (most likely because it’s Japanese), but it sounds good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Combustible reviews 13/02/2016 / 4:11 pm

      I think it was published late 1990s as well so it could have passed a lot of us by.

      I only heard of it because of the movie. I love this much more than that though.


  2. emmakwall 15/02/2016 / 3:11 pm

    If I ever read this, I’ll remember your words about the 32 pages! Because I can be lazy if I’m not enjoying the start of a book and er…stop reading it lol. Excellent review, as ever 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Combustible reviews 15/02/2016 / 11:42 pm

      Yes, please get past those first, overwhelming, names of everyone, but you forget them, 32 pages of doom. After that it’s a brilliant read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • emmakwall 16/02/2016 / 10:13 am

        Thanks Jen! I may well tactfully try this, I love the movie and now I’ve read a trusted reviewer too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Combustible reviews 16/02/2016 / 10:17 am

        Awww, *blushes* Hope you like it. Even though it’s a big book, it’s an ‘easy read’ like we were talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • emmakwall 16/02/2016 / 1:58 pm

        Ooh!! That appeals to me 🙂 especially knowing to stick with it until page 33 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • emmakwall 16/02/2016 / 2:41 pm

        Don’t hold your breath but there will come a time 🙂 and thanks very much!!

        Liked by 1 person

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