I read this book with such high expectations I found it a bit disappointing. It was a good book, but lacking. After knowing that it was written in three weeks, now I get why.
So, the things I didn't like:
1- I get the Christianity morals played a part in asking the question about free will, but it was too much Christianity for me to take this book seriously. It should have stopped after Alex's release. I felt that it just didn't go with the rest of the world-building nor Alex's character.
2- The second part was a bit boring until the experiment began, and I felt the prison life looked too "soft-core" for the world shown in the first part. It just didn't seem coherent.
3- The final chapter. WTF? I can make two different interpretations:
A. Alex just got over violence by himself and became less bad and *insert Christian reflexion here*.
B. Alex became brainwashed by society in a subtler way.
If Burgess tried to say A (most popular opinion from what I've read), the end just sucks. It's silly and out-of-character for Alex.
If Burgess tried to say B, it's not a bad end per se, just a good idea but poorly-executed.
I finished reading it last night, and I went to bed asking myself if I had liked the book or not. I guess I did like the book, but it didn't impress me. And I was expecting to be impressed. I was expecting a great dystopian classic, and I got an average dystopian novel. On the other hand, I think the main character worked perfect, because the real reflexion about free will or imposed good comes from the experiment done to a despicable person you can't possibly feel empathy for. Undoubtedly, the world would be better without Alex. He doesn't have any redeeming qualities. Yet free will is something too precious to be paid as a price.
And that's what this novel gets 3 stars despite all the flaws I found. Had it been better executed, it would have been an amazing book.