The fictional environment in the story is an extremely dark one; the regime in control of society is driven by a strict and brutal ideology, and it’s merciless in how it operates its system. The leaders and the many puppets and soldiers serving it are morally corrupt. The heroes resisting it are born into violence themselves. The overall tale is partly a war story.
Violence is inevitable in this kind of an environment and should somewhat define it. You only have to learn about the mass rape of German girls by Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War or the cold-blooded execution of children by the Nazis to familiarise yourself with what kind of violence can occur in this type of environment.
Including this violence, therefore, forces the reader to face an environment like this one and all of its ugliness.
The book is a dystopian action-thriller for adults. It’s a serious story in a very disturbing setting.
Violence of some sort is obviously a key feature of the thriller genre.
Even so, though the violence is fitting, some might still ask: why the choice to give it airtime? Could it not be implied rather than spelt out? Why not leave it to the reader’s imagination?
This is where my third point comes in.
While this is a generalisation (and of course it won’t be true in every case), the more violent scenes are better suited to a male audience. In particular, I’ve got younger men in mind when thinking of this group.
If I want these guys to stick around for and appreciate the other things in the story – the themes, the love story, the characters, the philosophy – I need the book to compete with other forms of entertainment that they like. Things like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Game of Thrones.
Each incidence of violence in the book has its own purpose – often more complex than some might realise – but writing for a male audience is one of the more simpler ones that sits underneath the surface.