- Anytime something happens between Raleigh, Yancy and their family.
- "The choices you live with", which is their mother's funeral. First, their mother dies from cancer because she didn't want to stop smoking. Then their father cannot endure her death and abandons them. Then Jazmine, who was already at odds with Raleigh, gets even madder at them because they choose to stay at the Academy to become pilots and her new caretaker snidely insults Yancy for his choice, furthering their estrangement. They never hear of Jazmine again.
- Their reaction when they learn their father died. They learn it way after Yamarashi, but it turns out the old man was dead before they were officially launched, which was awhile ago. They look like they got a punch in the gut, and the reader probably feels this way too.
- The demise of Talon "Tango" Tasmania, the very first Jaeger to fall, is a grim moment for everyone. Jaegers aren't invincible, and in a war like this, you're bound to lose both friends and loved ones.
- The worst part is that Tasmania's pilots had married only a few months ago and were well-known in the PPDC as the first "Dancing Jaeger". If you read "Tales from the Front Lines", in which they appear prominently several times, it makes their deaths that much harder.
- Whiskey Gamma's destruction, which costs the lives of several supporting characters including Brandon Pines, Nikki Harris and Antwan Ferrier. And this after a gruesome engagement against the Kaiju Hardship, which heavily damages Diablo Intercept and puts its pilots out of commission.
- Pentecost's discussion with a destabilized Yancy, in which the elder Becket makes the Marshall promise he'll protect his little brother. If you saw the movie, well ... you know how well it went.
- The fact that every ranger we meet, the Gages, the Tunaris, Kennedy and Stephanie, the Hassans, Caleb and Tanisha and even Duc, who's revealed to be dying of cancer like his wife, is Doomed by Canon. Remember that, by the time the movie properly begins, only Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha, Striker Eureka and a restored Gipsy Danger remain ...
- The entire chapter where Sydney is destroyed, but especially "'Are we gonna get Mum now?'"
Tear Jerker / Aurora Borealis