I'd recommend it to male teens.. I'd have probably liked this story more when I was younger.
The concept - the struggle for self-determination and love, within the context of a deadly blood-sport orchestrated by a facist dictatorship.
It was okay. His pronunciation of the Japanese names was on the money, but his voice didn't really embody the different characters. They mostly sounded the same.
I found some of the characters annoying and naive.. of course the characters were all 15 years old. Go figure.
Pretty interesting listen, maybe a little gory and shouldn't be given to children. The only real nick picking I can make is that I found it hard to remember the Japanese names as they were very unfamiliar, but thats to be expected in a book translated from another country.
The reader was fine, he sounded Japanese himself which I found added to the stories feel.
This book stand solely on it's excellent plot.
The writing is passable, but the depth of thought that went into planning the events that make up this book is what kept me going. Sometimes books ask questions that we often ask ourselves, and who among us hasn't wondered how they would do if forced to fight their peers to the death... Okay, that sounds a little crazy, but really, this book takes a "What if..." situation and carries it to a very satisfying conclusion.Entertaining book, great for demonstrating how a fun idea can be as important as how well you write.
I picked up this book after watching the movie and was pleased to recognize the story and characters. The author gives a convincing portrayal of mid-teens caught in a horrible situation, all reacting in different ways. The characterization helps us to understand the individuals reactions even with the large cast. I did feel that I knew most of the characters at least a little by the time they died.
The author also does an excellent job of set the stage for his tale. There is enough background to understand the society in which the events take place and he delivers it at appropriate times during the story. There is a bit of repetition in a few places, usually as we move from one chapter to another which could have used some editorial trimming, but the narrative moves along so quickly that it's soon forgotten.
The map and list of characters to print out was helpful. Like the students I was keeping track of the forbidden zones and the casualties. The Japanese names weren't an issue for me, but there were so many to keep track of!
There were a few technical issues with the recording with small skips but they were only minor annoyances. Likewise, the translation had a few odd moments and the reader, who did very well with the Japanese names, flubs coop (i.e., co-op) consistently. Again, minor issues with an otherwise excellent reading.
After watching the film and listening to the book, I doubt I'll bother with The Hunger Games.
Life is too short to waste on bad authors.
I've read this book twice, hard copy and always wanted an audible version so I could listen at work. The fact that Mark Dacascos was able to pronounce the Japanese names extremely well, his voice was slightly monotone. However, for me, it was fine because I'd read the book before and hearing the action sequences rather than reading them made what was happening more clear.
Kiriyama's ruthlessness as he took out two girls at close range. Yikes! That scene in the book and the movie always makes me cringe.
His pronunciation of Japanese names.
Shinji Mimura ;)
Kids are being murdered in some pretty brutal ways, and yet they spend an awful lot of time discussing their crushes. I find this distracting and ridiculous.
Also distracting is the bad writing. I cannot tell if it's the fault of the author or the translator, but this book contains grammatical errors, at least one confusion between meters and centimeters, and this horrible line: "For a moment, Yutaka fell silent, but then he answered immediately." You cannot have that "moment" and then an immediate answer. There are dozens more lines like this that made me laugh out loud and took me out of the story.
I feel bad for the narrator. I cannot evaluate his performance fairly because the writing is stilted and unnatural. I suspect he did what he could.
All of this is unfortunate because there is something interesting in this book. I was fascinated by ways the relationships between these kids unraveled because of distrust. And given what is revealed at the end about why the program exists, it makes perfect sense. Making people suspicious of one another has always been a key tactic of totalitarian states. But there is too much bad writing, and I could not enjoy the story.
Note to those about to listen: You might want to find a list of characters online and print it out for reference. I am one of those people who has trouble with foreign names, and there are so many characters in this book and the names are sometimes so similar that I lost track a few times. I mean, there's one scene with Yukie, Yuka AND Yuko. I nearly lost my mind.
Great idea, poorly executed. Takami's overarching idea and plot device -- children pitted against one another in a fight to the death -- is compelling. Compelling enough that the Hunger Games trilogy and film franchise seem to be based on the same essential idea. But the Hunger Games did it much, much better.
But both the writing and translation are truly awful. Takami is ridiculously repetitive (frequently revealing information through narration, only to have that information immediately repeated in character dialogue), displays no sense of drama or suspense (referring to "a dark figure" appearing, for example, when it is beyond evident who the "dark figure" is, then revealing the name of the character as though it was a startling revelation, or describing how a character had just been shot, after which a "red substance" appeared, which shockingly turned out to be blood), and employs a dizzying array of both trite and absurdly inapt similes and metaphors (so many that I can't single out just one for special attention). Nearly every character is a "star" in some sport or other -- this group of kids apparently is from the Japanese version of Lake Woebegone, where all the students are above average. With few exceptions, every time two or more characters are together in a quiet moment between gory scenes and murder attempts, they manage to squeeze in a conversation about who their student "crush" is. Resorting to these devices on occasion may be forgivable in teen fiction. Repeating them over and over is just bad writing.
The translation is equally terrible, with poor word choice, odd phrasing, and awkward or even ungrammatical constructions. Frankly, Mark Dacascos's stilted narration suits the material quite well. He comes across as an imperfect and somewhat hesitant speaker of the English language, which in a sense seems to justify the awful writing and translation.
The story was just barely compelling enough to keep me listening. But I found myself guffawing at the writing and translation at times, and just wishing the end would come. It eventually does, but only after a long, grueling slog.
I really was not impressed by the writing in this book, It did not flow well and jumping to all the different points of view was at times hard to follow. I had to force myself to finish it only because I don’t like leaving things unfinished. I did like the fact it was a bit more auctioned packed and mature that HG just wished it flowed better and the character’s speech felt more realistic
Recommended For: Mature audience only, 18+
Review: Wow, this was awesome! I read quite a bit of horror so imagine my surprise when the gore in this book made me queasy. Can't say that's ever happened before. While technically the entire book is pretty gruesome, after a while its not so shocking. I do agree with the others that the beginning is terribly confusing with all of the similar names, but of course as the story goes on it gets easier. The suspense is incredible and unlike other books that shift to someone else's point of view just to build suspense, Battle Royale only switched when it enhanced the story. For those interested in reading because of the similarities to The Hunger Games, be advised Battle Royale makes The Hunger Games seem preschool appropriate.
As for the audio edition, I thought the narrator did a wonderful job. It was refreshing just hearing the book read without awful accents etc. distracting me from the story. However I did have trouble with it skipping often so I had to do quite a bit of rewinding to catch what I had missed. I would have returned it but I hoped it would get better and then I was too engrossed with the story to stop. It skipped on both my kindle and my phone.