Monday, June 18, 2012

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Think, the Hunger Games, only brutal. In all fairness, this story came before the Hunger Games. It also is only similar in the overall concept of young people being thrown into a situation by their government where they must fight to the death.

In this case, 40 members of a junior high class think they are going on a field trip but wake up in a class room on an island as part of 'the Program.' Everyone in the country of Greater East Asia knows about the annual program since the results are broadcast. Still it is shocking to awake and realize the other students sitting next to you will be killed in the next few hours.

Shuya can't believe that anyone in his class would be willing to kill anyone else. Maybe if they all get together and refuse to participate they can all stop this insane exercise. He teams up with Noriko, the girl his friend had a crush on. He feels compelled to look after her even when she is hurt.

After being released on the island, the students take different paths over the next few days. Some scheme to escape. Some want to destroy the leaders who are making them do it. Some are just hiding hoping it ends soon. Others, in spite of what Shuya may hope, are ready to kill others to win.

The center of the story revolves around Shuya, Noriko and the mysterious loner Shogo as they work together to survive. All the students are mentioned, many in detailed sections describing their own schemes to survive; others are only mentioned at the moment of their deaths.

This is a gripping story for those who don't mind graphic descriptions of violence committed by young people.

For more information about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog. 

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