I have to disagree with significance x's appraisal that 1984 is more terrifying than Brave New World. While Orwell's universe may be "darker" simply by virtue of describing more torture scenes, there are several other failings in the book. He provides no reasonable way for EngSoc to have come to power -- they offer nothing to the people. In addition, Orwell's people are incredibly gullible -- not even the USSR attempted to convince its "citizens" that its enemies never changed. Similarly, while the Ministry of Truth's constant revisions of previous estimates parallels similar practices in various totalitarian regimes, the subjects of those regimes rarely if ever believed the revisions. Almost any book written by someone inside the Soviet Union will convey the wide extent to which the population saw through the CPSU's lies. In contrast, Huxley's vision does not require deception or mass coercion on the part of the government. Instead, it relies on satisfying the wants of most of the population, and relying on their not noticing that there's more out there. A critical scene in this regard is the one in which the Savage attempts to preach to a group of deltas about the evils of Soma, and they don't understand him -- not because his vocabulary or concepts are particularly above theirs, but because the concept of living less happily doesn't make sense to them.
The characterization of John is one of the weaker points of Brave New World, but I think the rest of the novel compensates for it. It's certainly not as bad as the political treatise Orwell introduces in the middle of 1984, while contending that it's part of a novel.