First off, don’t worry: I do like this better than Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s shorter, after all (haha). The most fun thing about reading it was mentally dusting off my Russian history class memories, to match the creepy speaking farmyard animals to the Communist dictator wannabes.
The allegory is clear, sharp and clever, but it also gives a structure to the book that limits it slightly. This does almost read like a slightly bizarre history book, and lacks the creativity with language, characterisation and plot that feature in pretty much all of my favourite novels.
This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what Orwell has to say about power, class, manipulation, language and countless other things. I just think that novels are about how you say things just as much as which things you want to say. I’m not disputing Orwell’s obvious genius, but his fiction isn’t for me, so far.