I recently read Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. This book is very similar to The Hunger Games (Battle Royale came first) in that this book is about a middle school class that is forced to fight and kill one another until there is only one survivor. The book and the movie start out in a fairly similar way.
There is a bus full of students on their way to a field trip and while they are all talking and what not, they all suddenly fall asleep. The main character, Shuya, wakes up in a desk, slighly disoriented, and stares at his sleeping classmates around him. Eventually they all wake up and there is slight pandemonium because they have no idea where they are or how they got there. Their new “teacher”, Sakamochi, tells them that they have been chosen by the Republic of Greater East Asia (the dictatorship that rules Japan) to be the new class to compete in the Battle Royale. He tells them all of the rules of this game which are: one student must be killed every 24 hours or else every one dies (collars explode), there are certain zones which become forbidden every 6 hours and if they are caught in these zones their collars explode, and there can only be one winner.
During this explanation of the rules, Sakamochi ends up killing two students and injuring one (Noriko the other main character). Each student is given a bag which has food, water, a map of the island they are on, and a weapon of some sort. Most of the students end up with guns, a few with knives, and a few with other special items like one studdent has a bullet proof vest another has poison, another has a pan etc.
Shuya and Noriko end up leaving the school together and try to unite the students, in vain, to not fight and to find a way off the island. Throughout the book, Shuya tries to find his best friend Shinji and he runs into other students. A few he kills in self defense and others he ends up getting them killed by distracting them from another student. They end up with Shogo, a random student who had just transferred into their class, and he tells them that if they stay with him throughout the game that at the end he has a way off the island. Eventually he reveals that he had been in the games before and that he was the survivor of the games a year or so before.
Most of the students end up killing each other out of madness, fear, or just because they can. Eventually the only students left are Shuya, Noriko, Shogo, and Kazuo. While Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo were camping most of the game out, Kazuo was the notorious, ruthless killer who had killed most of the students on the island. There is a huge gun fight between them and eventually Kazuo is killed. Shogo fakes Shuya and Noriko’s deaths (the collars had a device in it that could hear what the students were saying even though the students other than Shogo didn’t know that.) and goes aboard the winners ship where Sakamochi grills Shogo about the time it took for Shuya and Noriko to “die”. Shuya and Noriko end up taking out most of the boats sailors to save Shogo. Shogo kills Sakamochi and teaches Shuya how to steer the boat before dying of his injuries from the gun fight. Shuya and Noriko escape to the mainland where they become fugitives.
The movie is pretty different from the book. The only scene that was pretty much the same was the lighthouse scene. The book, of course, goes into greater detail about how most of the students were killed but even some of the main points weren’t in the movie. I’m not saying the movie was bad it was just a bit different from the book.
Overall, I think that both the book and the movie were fantastic. Each one was slightly different from the other, but the overall outcome was the same. I think I liked the book slightly better if I had to compare the two against each other. However I give both the book and the movie 10/10