When a friend can't stop recommending you a book, you don't ask too many questions, you just pick up the book and read it. Battle Royale has been one of those books for me.
Battle Royale is a Japanese book which is occurred in a reality when Japan has a dictator government. To assure its control on the population, it adopts some extreme measures; every year, a class is being raffled to take a part in the Program; a "game" where each classmate has to kill his friends in order to survive. The last member alive is the winner. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Well, I can point a lot of differences between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale, but in the end, I believe the main "advantage" of Battle Royale over The Hunger Games is its cruelty. I don't think The Hunger Games' reality is humane, but comparing it to the game in Battle Royale, it's a way kinder one. I mean it; in The Hunger Games, every competitor needs to kill strangers, here they're killing their friends.
This book is long- maybe too long- and sometimes I couldn't keep reading. The plot and the characters are intense, you're getting every detail of the story- every murder, every word and every life taken.
There are a lot of points of view in the book and you could understand every character's motives. Even though I knew I shouldn't make a connection to anyone because they'd be dead soon, I couldn't not to feel an empathy toward some. Every character represents a different reaction to the situation and it probably will make you think what would you do.
As I mention, the book is really long (576 pages); there are a lot of descriptions, memories and feelings. It's not boring, it's just heavy material for specific times. The writing, which is probably due to the translation, is not great and sometimes it bothered me.
However, it is a book I'd recommend. Reading Battle Royale is taking a break from your world and getting drown into a cruel one. It is experiencing other's fear and trying to understand others' personalities. It is a book which will definitely stay with you after you read it.