Welcome to the fifth entry in this series where I recommend books to you based off of a game. Obviously this week we are going to be finding games with similarities to the hugely popular Fortnite.
If you don’t know, don’t play games or need a reminder, Fortnite is a free to play game from Epic games. It started out as a co-op zombie defence game where you built forts. Epic added a free to play (F2P) multiplayer variant called Battle Royale after seeing the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds also known as PUBG. This multiplayer variant has blown up and is probably the most successful and highest grossing game of all time. Epic have held music concerts inside the game, pro-gamer and celebrity team up tournaments and much more.
I myself used to play computer games and had hundreds of wins over the different modes so I know what makes this game so much fun. It is essentially the not knowing. There are 100 of you and you parachute onto an island. You gather weapons and try to survive until you’re the last person remaining. In the chests are various weapons, always randomized and when you eliminate another player you get to loot their body for weapons, shield, ammo and other bits.
This means that today I’m going to be recommending some books to you that have a Battle Royale in them. A fight to the death. A tournament of life if you will. Let’s get into it:
The first book on this list will come to no surprise to you that have read it. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami is a well known book. With almost 70,000 reviews on Goodreads and an average rating of 4.16 it is widely acclaimed as being the father of all the other Battle Royale books. In fact, there is a Battle Royale movie based off of this book and it’s actually quite good (although a bit brutal so don’t watch with kids!).
Battle Royale is a book that is on my physical shelf. Recommended to me by a Booktuber when I did that kind of thing, it tells the story of a class in Japan who are one of the worst classes in the country and are shipped out to a deserted island by the ruthless government, armed with weapons and told to kill each other until only one is left. Whoever is left can leave the island.
It’s a brutal story about friends betraying each other, classroom enemies joining forces to take down the classroom bully and school lovers having to see how strong their love for one another really is. It really does capture what Fortnite is about which is survival at any cost. Stealing ammo from your friend to survive a battle, hiding while your friend decides that firing an RPG at a group of four and thus revealing your position is a good idea and of course watching your back and trusting nobody.
You can add Battle Royale to your Goodreads TBR here.
You can purchase Battle Royale today from The Broken Binding with a 5% discount on all future orders using BLURB5 (go ahead, use it!) here. Alternatively you can purchase the book from Amazon UK or Amazon US.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a hugely popular story that has since churned out a trilogy, four movies and a prequel book. There is also going to be two more books and a subsequent movie trilogy.
The Hunger Games is set in Panem – a future of America where wars have been fought, resources have been depleted and the remaining people alive have been divided into 12 districts. Each year the 12 districts put forward two tributes, one male and one female, to fight in the Hunger Games. The games are a celebration of the end of the revolt formed by the other districts against the capital. In this book we see the 74th Hunger Games. The idea of the games is simple but winning it is not. Twenty four tributes enter but only one can leave.
Can Katniss survive the 74th Hunger Games or will she die like so many others sent to the capital to play their sick game?
I have read these books, like many others, and absolutely gorged them. Within these pages are strong characters (including a very strong protagonist in the form of Katniss Everdeen), betrayals, love, smooth writing and unique ideas that are as effective within the story as they are at intriguing you as a reader. The Battle Royale element really is the majority of the story and if you liked Fortnite you will love this book.
Red Rising is the first book in the Red Rising Saga (5 books) written by Pierce Brown. It was first recommended to me by a friend and once I started reading this I couldn’t put it down. In my booktube review I called this the ultimate dystopian book because it captures the best elements of many of my loved dystopian books and weaves them into one brilliant story that packs a serious brain punch.
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
Where the similarities lie for Red Rising and Fortnite is in the second half of the story. The first half is just as incredibly crafted as the first half but the second half is where you find your Battle Royale. It’s a game of castles, of outliving your enemies, trusting no-one and being as ruthless as possible. Red Rising is a firm favourite in many book reader’s minds and for good reason. I am yet to read the 2-5 books in this series but am desperate to do so as I have only ever heard amazing things about them. As for Red Rising, it’s everything you could want in a book and more. Seat of your pants action and storytelling told at a heart-thumping pace.
Add this to your Goodreads TBR here so you don’t forget to read it.
The Emperor’s Blades
Now full disclaimer, I haven’t read this book but I have been told that there is a Battle Royale element or section to it. Add onto that the fact it’s written by Brian Stavely and features what appears to be a giant bird or dragon on the front and I think you’ll forgive me.
So the blurb goes like this:
The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?
My guess is that the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation is the battle royale part I was told about. On top of that the whole story actually sounds really cool and I’m shocked I’ve never heard of this. This book is the first in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series and currently sits on Goodreads with an average rating of 4.05 after 40,000 ratings. If you would like to add this to your Goodreads TBR then click here.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Red Sister is another book that is sitting in front of me as I write this feature. I’m aware that this book is a part of a trilogy (Book of the Ancestor) and that this book might possibly be a part of Mark’s other books or set in the same world – I could be wrong here!
Simply put I really don’t know enough about this book to write a lot so I won’t bullshit you. This apparently has more ‘Battle Royale’ elements than The Emporer’s Blades and it’s by Mark Lawrence so you know the benchmark is high so if you want to add this to your Goodreads TBR you can do so here.
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner follows a group of children who wake up in a lift and exit into a glade. There are no adults, no answers and no escape. Well, there is a way out but it involves making it through the giant maze and no-one has made it out alive. Then the first girl arrives out of the lift and everything changes.
The Maze Runner is a book that has been turned into a highly successful movie. I haven’t read the book but the movie provides a very interesting ending so I would like to read it and the following books to see what happens and where it goes.
This book has similar vibes to books like Divergent and Hunger Games. It’s dystopian, futuristic but not heavy on technology and has a cast of young adults dealing with problems (presumably) created by their peers previously. Not everyone is going to live and it will inevitably become a case of survival of the fittest. This sounds a lot like Fortnite and was a reason this book is on the list this week. It has a current Goodreads rating of 4.03 after a staggering 1.19 million ratings! It is the first book in a series of five books too so plenty of story to keep you going for a while.
As I researched this post I really thought there would be more books with Battle Royale elements. Unfortunately there is not but I am happy with the six books I’ve chosen. Three have been made into multiple movies, five of them are very well known authors and the ratings for all of them are decent on Goodreads so not only do they have elements of BR but they’re actually good SFF books/series to get your teeth into.
If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry into So You’ve Played. Check back next week for a new game and a new selection of SFF stories!