Squid Game is one of the ultimate sensations on Netflix these days. It is widely advertised all over the network, while trailers are shared all over social media. There are no doubts about it – the first episode will hook you in and things will get more and more exciting as you go through the episodes. Chances are most people will finish the series in a full-day marathon. But what do you do when you finish it? Are there any other similar shows? Is there a Squid Game book? Here is everything you need to know.

Netflix Squid Game origins

Squid Game is not new. Sure, the series is quite new, but the script was written more than a decade ago, in 2007. Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote it with inspiration from books like Liar Game or Battle Royale. He has never imagined the story would gain so much notoriety, fearing people would find it a bit weird and hard to understand. He failed to realize that his story would perfectly match today’s society.

The story features characters that everyone knows – people who struggle with money and debt, as well as people with regular jobs who do not have too many financial possibilities. The story is about the extreme battle in life and everyone goes through it. As the script emerged, the show became the ultimate Netflix hit.

There is no such thing as a Squid Game book, but there are a few novels out there that can bring in the same harsh feelings of anxiety, stress and tension. There are some good titles out there that will definitely give you some chills and hook you in immediately. Here is everything you need to read to satisfy your hunger for more.


Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami

This is one of the most popular thriller books out there and by far the most popular one among Battle Royale books – there are a few other ideas out there, but they fail to match the original. The plot is fairly simple to understand. The story revolved around a bunch of teenagers – high school students – who were taken on a trip.

They end up on an empty island run by a totalitarian regime. The goal of this trip is straightforward. Everyone is given weapons and firearms and they will be kept there until a single survivor keeps standing. Simply put, they need to massacre each other in order to survive – kill or get killed. It is a dog-eat-dog world where people only have one choice.

When first released, the book was criticized for the violence. However, it became a bestseller because it underlines society and the necessity to get over everyone in order to be on top. With time, this book became a Japanese pulp classic. There are a few other variants based on it, but this title is on top of other Battle Royale books.


Arena, by Holly Jennings

This is the first book in the series carrying the same name. While other books are not necessarily connected, it pays off getting the idea of the action and becoming familiar with the characters, so make sure you start with the beginning. All in all, the story revolved around the Virtual Gaming League and its elite competition – mostly referred to as RAGE tournaments.

The competition brings in the best gamers in the world. They need to compete against each other – victims obviously get a digital kill. The best part? Every kill is broadcast over the Internet. At the end of the day, every player has a single purpose – surviving while entertaining the crowds watching live streams of the tournament.

Pretty much everything about this competition is digital, but the pain is real. Kali Ling becomes the first female captain in the tournament. Unfortunately, her partner ends up with an overdose, so she needs to struggle to find someone else. Tension is everywhere and the pressure keeps building up. In order to survive, Kali Ling needs to change the game – what is she going to do then?


The Long Walk, by Stephen King

The Long Walk can easily classify as a Squid Game book. The tension that builds up is incredible. While it relates to a relatively slow walk, the action is quite fast-paced and there is always something going on. The action takes place in the USA, in a dystopian society where many things simply fail to make sense – just like this walk. With all these, the walk is a solid source of entertainment for locals.

There are 100 teenage boys gathering together and having to walk. They need to walk continuously without resting. However, there are a few rules there. If the speed goes below 4MPH, they get a warning. They can take three warnings. A fourth mistake leads to the inevitable consequence – death. A group of soldiers rides along to ensure rules are being followed.

The walk ends when almost everyone is eliminated. There can only be one survivor. The survivor will get an incredible amount of money, as well as a prize they choose themselves. The game is unreal, but it replicates today’s society. People need to struggle to reach their goals and overcome all kinds of difficulties – including people in their lives.


The Lottery and Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery is by far one of Shirley Jackson’s most terrifying stories. It can give anyone chills. No matter what kind of horror or gore books you might have read before, this one has so much tension in it that it will certainly trigger some new senses. When it first came out, it was a sensational story with plenty of positive criticism. Things have evolved a little since then and Shirley Jackson has hit again.

Her release brings in The Lottery, as well as a bunch of other stories who are at least as frightening. Any of them will give you unrest and haunting feelings. The collection is the only one that has actually appeared during the author’s lifetime. Apart from The Lottery, you have 24 other stories and each of them can stand out in the crowd with its cruelty.

Some of these stories sweeten you with a bit of humor before the actual action kicks in. Some others will hit you with drama and terrifying action straight away. All in all, this collection shows just how remarkable the author is at making people jump from one feeling to another.


City of Thieves, by David Benioff

The action takes place in World War II. The Nazis are trying to take Leningrad over. Lev Beniov ends up arrested and ends up in a cell with Kolya. However, despite the Nazi cruelty and the issues associated with the war, the two are not executed. Instead, they become part of a sick game of survival that could actually get them to walk away freely.

The plan is to get a dozen eggs into the wedding cake of a Soviet colonel’s daughter. The plan is definitely cruel, but the two will have to choose between getting killed and trying to kill hundreds of other people. Lev and Kolya now need to embark on an adventure that seems impossible at first – run behind enemy lines and survive in a city that has no supplies.

At times, this book gets a bit funny and it has some humorous aspects as well. But then, the action moves on pretty fast and things escalate quickly – definitely a must read.


The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

The Maze Runner could easily classify as a Squid Game book and for some simple reasons. If you fail to get scared, chances are you are not human. Therefore, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime – your heart will jump with every page and tension will simply overwhelm you. Thomas wakes up in a lift one day and the only thing he can remember is his name – nothing else.

Looking around him, he sees a bunch of other boys. He cannot recognize any of them and they all seem to be in the exact same situation – no one can remember anything. The Glade is a local dystopian world surrounded by a never-ending maze. Coming out of it implies going through the maze – no one has ever managed to do it.

Then, a girl is introduced to the game. She is the first girl to ever end up in this sick game. She has a message to deliver and it is likely to frighten everyone involved. There is only one way to survive – run.

Conclusion

Bottom line, while there is no such thing as a Squid Game book (sure, you could read the script, but it is irrelevant once you watch the series), there are a bunch of similar stories out there that could keep you excited and frightened at the same time. The list can definitely go longer with more action-packed thrillers and unusual stories, but the above-mentioned titles are more than enough to keep you busy for a while.​