So I picked up The Hunger Ga-, err, Battle Royale as a huge fan of the film. It's one that I've owned on DVD for a good many years, and should I ever get the opportunity, I will happily update to a blu-ray. That's Battle Royale I'm talking about. Not The Hunger Games.
It's an incredible, fast-paced thrill-ride with a heavy social message about the evils of authoritarian government. And just in case you're in any way confused, it is also incredibly gory. So, no, NOT The Hunger Games.
And of course that film comes from this novel by Suzanne Collins ... Ha! I did it again. Of course it didn't. It's from a novel by Koushun Takami, which was written in 1999. Years before Ms Collins published The Hunger Games. Even though she never, ever, cross-my-heart, no way, nope, had not heard about Battle Royale when she wrote an incredible, fast-paced thrill-ride with a heavy social message about the evils of authoritarian government ... only without the gore factor.
Genius. Deny deny deny.
Anyway, back to my now short review. The novel version of Battle Royale suffers from being far too long, and way too detailed in fleshing out the minor characters no-one ever really cared about. It is also overly "teeneagery" with way too many characters focusing on who they like and whether they're liked in return when they should be running, screaming, hiding, shrieking, and murdering as per their innate survival instinct. Simply put, I lost count of the number of times I groaned as they latest bit character who barely been cited in 250 pages lamented about how amazing Shuya was.
But - and this is a massive but - there are still some great sequences, surprising deaths, and the agony over how far any one would go to preserve their life is richly detailed.
So whilst reading Battle Royale was not a patch on my viewing experience, I'm glad I grabbed myself a translated copy and it now graces my bookshelf.
Unlike anything in The Rip-Off Games series.
3 15 Year-Old Empathy-Lacking Psychopaths with a Sub-Machine Gun for Battle Royale.