I bought "Tarzan of the Apes" while I was on an adventure novel kick and, like the other reviewers, I was amazed by how good it was. The storyline is quite clever and very interesting - even though I knew many of the things that were going to happen (Tarzan and Jane meeting, for example), I was still intrigued by every plot twist Burroughs threw at me.
What I found most surprising was how much I liked the character of Tarzan himself. Obviously he has been represented and parodied so many times in so many different ways over the years that he has become almost a stock character - certainly, like Sherlock Holmes and Superman he is one of those fictional characters that everyone recognises, even if people haven't read the source material. Tarzan also has the fact that he is handsome, intelligent, strong, and innately "good" working against him. Who likes perfect characters? Surprisingly, however, I found myself rooting for him throughout the novel.
The first half of the book, where Tarzan has no human company, is more enjoyable, although I may feel that way because one tends to picture Tarzan in the jungle rather than in civilisation. Still, Burroughs writes superb fights and there are simply more of them in the first half - the second half is more concerned with Tarzan mooning over Jane and driving across America. It's far less compelling. However, the ending picks up considerably; while Burroughs clearly wrote it with a sequel in mind, he contrives the events in such a way that the reader's heart breaks for Tarzan.
"Tarzan of the Apes" can be quite easily criticised for its racist and sexist elements, and obviously I'm not about to defend them. However, if you are considering reading it, I'd recommend that you bear in mind that it *was* written in 1913 when such views were (regrettably) endorsed. There's a wonderful adventure story here, and it's well worth giving a go.