Nothing that happens seems like it could happen. One should not overlook the fact that this people are nuts. Why would they knock a friend unconscious just because some stranger told them to? And why is that considered brave? That’s not a question of accepting that I’m in YA and not in a novel that would treat the question of grooming girls into soldiers with some semblance of verisimilitude.
All this blood and guts is not understandable without a threat: a war, an evil government, a fearsome political police... But until the second stage of the initiation, Tris doesn’t even believe that she could die.
Generally speaking the reader should accept the rules of the game, dumb as they may be, and I’m not taking offense with the abundant faults in the concepts; only I wish they would have been better supported by a more interesting cast than Eric, Peter, Janine and the like, all of them stock villains, with knowledge that would allow me to see the gore and not imagine a pair of children pulling each other’s hair, and without moral hindrances like them being on the opposite spectrum of my belief system. The why of anything is a question that never seems to bother Tris that much, perhaps because thinking is a lot less encouraged that punching kids in the head.
I wanted to like it. Cute idea. Unfortunately, glorification of mindless authority, brute force, police and the army can crush my fun. Because there IS a political police and they are it. A political police composed of teens... that’s the stuff of nightmares! It’s the coming of the Antibrain. They cry constantly, in true teenager’s fashion, and every time somebody cries I want to stick a handkerchief down their throats. It can read, again, as high school: leaving your family, finding your group and your first love (he’ll ignore you the day after. That is an unavoidable rule) and finding out that your parents were cool after all.
And the style. This sentence:“His shirt is just tight enough that I can see his collarbone and the faint depression between his shoulder muscle and his bicep.”
"Deltoid" instead of "shoulder muscle" or “arm muscle” instead of bicep, please. And why do they inject the serum in the neck? Is an embolism one of the risks the Dauntless are trained not to fear?