Guest Post by Emma de Boer
If you can believe it, prior to this battle, I’ve never read or watched either Life of Pi or Battle Royale. I was pretty excited to read both of these book, Life of Pi has been on my TBR pile forever and I loved The Hunger Games and was pretty excited to read something similar. I actually really enjoyed both books, it was extremely hard for me to pick a winner, but I’ll walk you through why I chose the book I did to move on to the next round. Just a note, huge spoilers below. Skip to the end if you don’t want to read spoilers.
On the surface, Life of Pi is about a young man who manages to survive 227 days on a lifeboat with a tiger named, Richard Parker. That story alone is interesting. Martel uses beautiful language to capture the fear, pain, tedium, and strain that Pi felt throughout those 227 days. And then you get to the end, and you find out that Pi is an unreliable narrator (how I love those!). You learn that the other animals on the boat, we’re actually a sailor, his mother and the French chef! In the end, you figure out that Richard Parker is actually a personality of Pi. I loved it! The whole book was an allegory! Beautiful. The mastery in writing this story was impressive. If I had to pick something negative about Life of Pi, it would have to be an extremely slow beginning. Once the story really starts though, it is impossible to put down.
Now on to Battle Royale. In Battle Royale, 42 high school teenagers are forced to battle it out to be the last one standing. As the reader you are put into the heads off all of the teenagers and get to see what makes it okay for them to kill their classmates, or conversely decide not to. This was by far the best part of the novel. The psychology behind what it takes survive with that much fear and distrust was fascinating to read. I did have a few problems with the novel though. I had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight. That is partly my fault for being unfamiliar with Japanese names, but Battle Royale as has a large cast of characters and I felt at times it could have benefited from having less characters from start of the novel. The translation wasn’t as perfect. Sentences didn’t always flow smoothly and I sometimes felt that something was indeed ‘lost in translation’. However, my biggest qualm with the novel was the violence. I will freely admit, I’m a huge baby when it comes to violence at all and this book is quite graphic at times. I skipped over quite a bit of the violent parts throughout the novel. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
After actually formulating my thoughts, I realize that it might not have been as close as I initially thought. The winner between Life of Pi and Battle Royale is…..LIFE OF PI!