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This book reads really fast and since some chapters are really short (as in a page and a half, short) I found myself at the end of part one fairly quickly.

As such a book suggests, once the killing gets started, it keeps going fairly quick. Noriko Nakagawa and Shuya Nanahara escape together after Nanahara manages to escape the school building without being shot with a crossbow by Yoshi Akamatsu, who shot Mayumi Tendo as she exited the school. Kazuo Kiriyama lured out all the members of his little gang and killed them one by one. Sakura Ogawa and Kazuhiko Yamamoto; “the school’s No. 1 couple” decide there’s no way they can do this and commit suicide together. Megumi Ito tries to call out for help with a phone her parents gave her but reaches Sakamochi instead. Sakamochi calls the phone, exposes Megumi to Mitsuko Souma – the class bully – and Mitsuko tricks Megumi into a hug before slitting her throat with a sickle.

Because why shouldn’t there be a sickle…

Now, I expect these kids to participate in the game or optout like the couple. It’s not how fast these kids turn into monsters that surprises me, its how many of them already were. Kazuo doesn’t feel a damn thing as he shoots all the boys who looked up to him and Mitsuko produces tears on demand to get close enough to kill Megumi. It seems the novel operates on the same concept as Crossed (don’t get me started on that one) and The Purge (which isn’t out yet but it still applies): people are just one law – or virus like in Crossed – away from complete fucking anarchy because deep down inside, we are all monsters. If you aren’t a monster yet, you’re gonna become one to defend yourself.

How… Bleak.

This of course begs the question as to the society that invented this game and forces these children to be monsters no matter what; who are the real monsters? The people who set this up or the people who LET this be set up; i.e: the parents and the populace at large. As V said:  “Truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. ”

Aside for my soapbox, it is really hard to tear myself away from this book; save for the brain saving breaks to look at cute puppies and kittens to get my faith in life back. But there was one part that really gave me pause. Nakagawa and Nanahara stop to rest after fleeing the building and realize something: how well do they really know their classmates? How well to YOU know the people you go to school with or work with every day?

I remember the valedictorian at my high school graduation saying how we were all one great big family. The first time I heard her name was right before she made that speech. Hell, I didn’t even know the person I was sitting next to because we were in alphabetical order. They recognize me on the street now and I couldn’t remember their names if you… Well, if you strapped exploding collars around our necks and told us to fight to the death. It baffles me how they know who I am since we were never friends or spoke once in those 4 years.

Four years in the same school and I have no clue who that person is and they certainly don’t know me.

Nanahara’s naive statement of “We’re all classmates. We could never do this.” is defeated pretty early on. If it continues, I will be disappointed because how many of your classmates bodies do you have to step over to realize you’re wrong? Hell, in the last year of my life, I’ve learned you can be betrayed by ANYONE. Has that made me a monster? No. But it has certainly made me less naive.

However, the screaming guy on the roof with a crossbow? He’s probably out to get you.

31 students remaining.

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