Compared to other Jules Verne works, this one falls short. Marginally successful as the sequel to From the Earth to the Moon, in that it tells what happens with the intrepid travelers on their grand expedition to reach the moon, it still disappoints. While the characters remain witty, smart, and fun, and Verne successfully conveys the sense of wonder in the exploration of the unknown, the story itself is mostly underwhelming. Indeed, the journey to the moon doesn't turn out nearly as exciting as the characters (or I) had hoped. Also, where FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON delved into social and political issues, casting America as the unreasonable but determined explorer, for example, ROUND THE MOON focused exclusively on telling the story, describing the events and not dealing with the implications, making it less involved and less enjoyable.
Add to that the failure of Verne to make any of this book seem realistic, or even possible, and you get a sadly mediocre novel. This is something that is particularly surprising coming from Verne, who was a real master of making his science fiction seem authentic, with healthy doses of real science and engineering. It may just be that nobody could really guess what space travel might be like 140 years ago, as even a scientifically-oriented and imaginative mind like Verne's couldn't get anywhere near the truth. Indeed, I can imagine how reading this book at the time of its publication could have been a real treat! Before we knew so much about space and the moon, this novel may have seemed like a scientifically-feasible and exciting adventure. Unfortunately, it hasn't been able to stand the test of time, in stark contrast to most of Verne's other work, making it really not worth the effort to modern readers.
Only recommended for serious Verne fans.