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  • Battle Royale

  • By: Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki (translator)
  • Narrated by: Mark Dacascos
  • Length: 19 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 596
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 545
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546

As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English-language audio for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not for those with a weak stomach!

  • By TCL on 09-15-12

Not for the faint of heart...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-15

What a great book!

I picked it up because a friend heard me raving about The Hunger Games trilogy and vehemently expressed his disdain for it, stating the author had "bitten" this story. I loved all three of The Hunger Games books so I decided to check it out. I had to get the audiobook to accompany it because a book as long as this one will take me forever to get through if I am not able to listen to it while I drive.

Surely this isn't the first ever book that has been written about a fight to the death but it seems to me pretty unique in that junior high students are put into the mix as the contestants.

There are definitely a lot of parallels and similarities and while no one can say for sure if The Hunger Games blatantly "bit" Battle Royale, it is clear that the author read this book prior to writing hers and definitely tailored it to be extremely similar.

But hey, whatever... Nothing is new under the sun.

Normally, I have to question the editing of a book that is more than 400 pages. Maybe it's my journalistic training but I just don't understand what you have to say in 600+ pages that you couldn't say in 400. If your book is that long, it better be brimming with absolutely necessary prose or I'm going to be pissed. Every page of Battle Royale was absolutely necessary.

Although there were clear main characters, I love how nearly all of the 42 student perspectives were shown. It made it that much more heart-wrenching when one of the students I liked died. My dialogue with the book while reading surely made my husband think I was nuts. I was constantly yelling "Noooo," "Are you serious!" and "Don't trust him/her! Kill him/her!" It was an emotional roller coaster and I very much enjoyed the ride.

Short chapters are essential to me. I need frequent breaks in a story. This book did not disappoint in that regard. I also enjoyed the official count of how many students were still alive at the end of each chapter. It added to the anticipation. I found myself skipping ahead and looking at the count thinking "Oh no! 3 students are going to die! Please don't let it be ______!" The descriptions of the violence, blood, and gore were so thorough that I found myself turning my face away from the book in horror as the images came to life in my mind. Yikes!

Not sure why people said the names were confusing. I had no problem distinguishing the 42 Japanese names. I also thought the narrator did a great job distinguishing voices. Some people didn't like the narrator but I really did.

19hours and I finished it in 4 days because I could not turn it off.

While I loved the Hunger Games, I will say this; if I had read this first, I would not have liked The Hunger Games nearly as much...

Who knows what the future will bring, but as of this very moment, Battle Royale is my favorite read of the year...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Forty Acres

  • By: Dwayne Alexander Smith
  • Narrated by: Andre Blake
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 350
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 349

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He's dazzled by what they've accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all - no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Dreadful

  • By ilike2smize on 04-02-16

Meh...

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-15

It was ok. Initially, I was extremely excited to read this because the plot was creative and sounded super interesting. The narrator did fine but there's only so much he can do with a book that is lacking and doesn't live up to the full potential of what it could be. I started out reading the book and about an 1/8 of the way in, it became so boring, I bought the audiobook to see if I could get through it that way.

The characters were underdeveloped, their reactions seemed unlikely and for such a long book, I feel like there wasn't enough meat to the story to make it believable. Honestly, it just seemed like a thinly veiled ode to the beauty of white women. The initiation ceremony was wack. His wife and her BS was wack. Most of the book, to me, was completely absurd. I didn't get the connection between Martin and his law partner. That should've been touched on more.

At no point during this read was I ever scared, nervous or anxious. What kind of thriller is that?! A disappointment for sure. I think the part I liked the least was that his last name is Grey and his wife's name is Anna. Fifty shades much?

The story was completely implausible, not enough people died (I like when people die in thrillers) and the end, just as I predicted, left much to be desired. This could have turned out to be an amazing thriller but it just ended up being predictable and underwhelming.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Long Road Home

  • By: Danielle Steel
  • Narrated by: Anthony Fusco
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164

Gabriella's world is a confusing blend of abuse, terror, and pain with no safe place to hide from her parents' violent rage. She gains reprieve when she is abandoned to a convent, a safe, peaceful place where her battered body and soul begin to mend and grow into womanhood. Then a young priest comes into her life. Confession leads to friendship. And friendship grows dangerously into love...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What a sad story

  • By Jan K on 02-08-08

Sad but entertaining

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-15

It was a really good book. It was interesting and it never dragged. However, the brutality of the abuse was horrifying. Gabby seemed to just have one terrible thing after another happen to her and it wasn't until the very end that it seemed like things might finally be looking up. But knowing her history, if the book would've continued, that probably would've went horribly wrong as well.

When it first started I thought it was weird that a man was reading it but he did a fantastic job. I read the first chapter on my own but knew it would take me way too long to finish it so I got the audiobook and read along whenever possible. In my experience with audiobooks, the person reading it can either make or break the listening experience. Anthony Fusco made it. Great job.

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • By: Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,498
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,567
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,590

Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition similar to autism. He doesn't like to be touched or meet new people, he cannot make small talk, and he hates the colors brown and yellow. He is a math whiz with a very logical brain who loves solving puzzles that have definite answers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Unexpected Gift.

  • By Amanda on 12-07-11

Great Narrator Made Good Story Even Better

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-11

This was my very first audible book and I think it was a great starter. The narrator did an excellent job of being able to give each character a different voice. I can tell that if I had read it, I still would have very much enjoyed the story but I'm glad I listened to it. It just added that extra something to the story. Kudos!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful