I actually agree with Stitch. Setting up the expectation that everyone is going to die does just as much to drain the tension as setting up that people are always going to live.
It's hard to get invested when the outcome feels like a forgone conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be.
I wouldn't say it's setup as everyone is going to die. It's just an uncertainty. You don't expect the big moment. It's a big gut punch. And I can't say I expected who made it out to make it out. But there's always two focal characters, so if one does die, the other may not and we keep moving. It's all part of the charm of the novel for me. That uncertainty.
To me, it felt less like charming uncertainty, and more like overuse of a literary trick. The way the perspective shifts, in conjunction with the immediacy of the writing style, felt jarring to me, as I said. Instead of drawing me in with intrigue, it did the opposite and broke my engagement. Instead of Oh my god, what's going to happen next?
, my reaction was more Really? Again?
I can understand that others would enjoy it, but it just didn't work for me, which was disappointing.