- The economy. Throughout the book, it is demonstrated over and over again the importance of money with regards to a given person's completion rate. Those with more money are able to pay for private combat lessons, eat more nutritious food, etc., giving them a clear advantage over their poorer Alts.
- The final battle. The final battle between West and her Alt was so well-written and suspenseful. Action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced awesomeness. It is a shame the rest of the book didn't read the same way, or this could have been an amazing book.
- The pace. The book was very slow-paced in spite of West's exciting, action-packed life and occupation.
- The details. Parts of the story felt over-described, for example many of West's flashbacks. They aren't very relevant to the story and don't provide very much in the way of character development. On the other hand, the most interesting parts of the story are skimmed over with as little detail as possible. The only place where the story felt like it really fleshed out and got it right was the end, when West has her final battle with her Alt. I can only hope this last-minute burst of well-written, exciting writing will bleed over into the second book and save the series.
- The creation of the Alts. According to the book, the reason the Board created the Alts was to weed out the weakest of the population and create the most well-trained citizens possible, in the event of war. This makes no sense to me at all. A much better model would be to emulate something similar to a Spartan society in which students are trained from birth to be ruthless soldiers. Pitting people against one another does nothing but cause strife among your potential army, which in real combat could cause a lot of problems. If soldiers are not loyal to and trust one another, they won't work together as a team.
2.5 - The premise for this was so good, but the slow pace and lack of detail and character development completely ruined the story for me. I unfortunately probably won't read any more of this series.