Sometimes, you read a novel that just sticks with you.
Sometimes that novel is one you've wanted to read for ages, but only recently got your hands on a copy because time and forgetfulness are real.
Sometimes said novel is everything you hoped for and more.
Sometimes you can't stop thinking about the characters, even a month later.
...a book changes your life.
Most recently for me, that book was the very violent but absolutely incredible Japanese novel from 1999 called Battle Royale. I kid you not, this was an almost 600 page book with small print that I read in less than 24 hours because I just could not put it down. People call it the original Hunger Games, and also liken it to Lord of the Flies, and I see it. But it's better than the latter, and also hugely better than the former, which I am 99.9% certain is a total ripoff. (There's just too many similarities, guys. Suzanne Collins, at least for the first book, really had to have ripped off Battle Royale. Anyway, I digress.) All that aside, this book was just sooooooooo good. If you don't handle rather graphic descriptions of violence and gore well, I would suggest you stay away, but if you don't have a problem with it, read it. Really. There's so much socio-political stuff, and getting inside the heads of the teenage characters when they are faced with certain death (at the hands of their classmates, no less), is fascinating. Human nature is well explored in this novel, which I find interesting from a Christian standpoint because Japan is so different from most of the Western world in how they view humanity. And yet, the depravity of the human soul is shown so well, as is the fragility. It's so sad and yet so beautiful in its own way, amongst all the killings. I know that sounds so weird, but it's true.
I don't have anything else I feel I can say at this point about Battle Royale. You will just have to read it for yourself to see just how beautiful it really is. Beyond five stars.