So many people had said to me OMG! The Kite Runner is *fantastic*! You have to read it! that - I have to say - when I finally came to it, I was a bit non-plussed. Don't get me wrong, this has a *fantastic* description of Afganistan - both before the Taliban and then after. The conditions post-Taliban are shocking (particularly in the orphanage), as is the portrayal of the effect of the regime on children. However, I didn't actually think the story was that well written. The writing is pretty simple, easy to read. However, my main annoyance was with the storyline, with the way in which it was almost *forced* to come full circle, when a few straggling threads would have been fine. There are a lot of coincidences at the end (reappearance of an early enemy, Hassan's son Sohrab following through on a threat his father made, Amir's facial disfigurement) which just irritated me. However, having said that, I *didn't* see the major 'twist' coming until a few lines beforehand so in that respect the storyline did a good job :-)
The characterisation of Amir and Hassan was interesting. Amir, the narrator, is not particularly likeable, although becomes more so during the course of the novel (as I assume he's meant to become). Hassan in a lot of ways remains a bit superficial - we know him as Amir sees him, but not perhaps as he actually was.
Soon after reading the book, I went and saw the movie, which I think did a good job of depicting the novel. All in all, I'd recommend both, although I won't be saying OMG! The Kite Runner is *fantastic*! You have to read it!, I'll just be saying it's ok :-)