For being nearly 100 years old, this book holds up well, as long as you disregard the science in it. The point is that someone has discovered/invented a new technology that is a huge leap forward, allowing things like interstellar travel at incredible speeds.
The writing wasn't particularly captivating but it never caused me to lose interest. The characters are all relatively flat and the dialog is....um....dated. It's hard to even tell if it's bad; DuQuesne's dialog is actually pretty ok, but most other characters sound like they're from Leave it to Beaver. That was probably my biggest dissatisfaction with the book. That and the sickeningly sweet happy ending (though that may be in part due to how cynical everything is nowadays).
I can see people hating this for a number of reasons and I can't really see anyone loving it, unless you're my dad when he was a kid. But I was personally able to get some enjoyment out of it and I'll probably be reading the rest of the series too....depending on how Book #2 goes.