1984, by George Orwell, was published in 1949. It certainly shows. I wouldn't venture to say that it's a bad novel, because it isn't, but it definitely isn't top-notch by today's standards. At the time, I suspect it was quite good.
The protagonist in 1984 is much like the protagonists of other top-rated 1940s novels: flatter than we're used to. Winston isn't a particularly bad character, but he could be far better. The nature of the novel causes distance between the story and the reader, which can be respected, although it really puts a damper on the characterization. By the same rule, the supporting cast is quite basic.
I think the setting of 1984 would be much improved with a slight change in date. Hindsight clouds all judgement thereof, of course. In any case, 1989 or 1994 would have felt more genuine. If this novel had fewer info-dumps and less overdescription the milieu may have went over very well with me.
So far there hasn't been much plot to speak of. Things are building, although I would like the tension to build more. The whole distancing vibes sour the conflict quite a bit. Hopefully things will improve in the latter two parts.
I shall be back soon to report on Part 2 and Part 3. The potential is there, it seems, yet so far the story has been sub-par compared to other novels I've read. I can't jump to too many conclusions, as a lot of speculative fiction starts slow and blasts off toward the midpoint.
(Since this book is by a Brit and I've always wanted to type it...) Cheers!