The most important failing is, to me, the emphasis on mankind. The whole mess was caused by humans, and it's human goodness that gives hope. That's basically the message of this book. And you know what? I don't buy it. I don't dispute the first part (that mankind is on a self-destructive path), but if you ask me, hope comes from God. Yet in this book, religious people are seen as misguided, even Jesus doesn't believe in himself, and well, after the second statement, I pretty much got the anti-Christianity message.
Apart from this, there are so many failings.
Not least is the writing style. The narrative jumps back and forth between "Then" and "Now". I understand it's supposed to raise the tension so that you wonder why things became the way they were, but it was just confusing. It felt choppy, and I couldn't follow the plot for the first few chapters. In addition, the descriptions of violence and murders were gruesome.
Second, there's Zoe. She's the shining light of humanities goodness, so she becomes kind on a superficial level. She'll give strangers food, does things just because she is kind and so on, but she'll also kill. The internal dilemna she felt didn't feel real, it felt like it was added on to prove what a nice person she was.
Thirdly, there was the misogynism. There's the main antagonist - the Swiss, who's a chauvanistic pig that abuses women. But (spoiler alert!) it turns out that she's actually a female, who was turned into a male by the White Horse. So are you telling me this is how women treat each other naturally? Please don't disrespect my gender like this.
I think there's a lot of things wrong with book. From how unbelievable the science is, to plotholes, it's doesn't have much going for it. But if you ask me, the anti-Christianity message and promotion of man's "innate goodness" is the biggest reason why you should stay away from this book.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.