I've read great things about this book so it when it finally arrived in my mailbox, it jumped to the top of my reading pile and I dove right into it. The concept is a totalitarian government rules in the Far East while never really stated I imagine something along Japan winning WW2 and controlling of Japan, Korea and China with a communist style government along the lines of a wealth and more powerful North Korea of our world. Each year several junior high classes are chosen, taken to a remote island, given random weapons and ordered to kill each other under pain of death if they don't. Even though the "Program" as it's called was explained, I never really got the reasons behind it, but that may just have been lost in the translation or perhaps just in my own understanding.
This book follows one such class. It starts off quickly and not too many chapters in the killing has begun. At first it was really quite disturbing to think this was being done to 14-15 year olds. I have children that age, and I could imagine them being put into those positions and I struggled with that. But as I read through it, the brutality, while still there, really became second nature to exploring the psychological aspects of the game and how different students react and try to survive (or don’t). A very interesting yet brutal look into the reactions of youngsters under extreme stress and in a kill or be killed situation.
Well done novel, if you’re initially disturbed by the subject matter, stick with it as it becomes secondary to the true story being told. Well done.