It is unfortunate that the "top-rated" reviews for Chapmans Homer here on Amazon seem somewhat unfair and possibly written by people that make you ask why anyone takes their word for it since it doesn't seem to be their genre in the first place?.. But, this could also be due to the fact that some reviews for other translations have found their way onto the same page, somehow. To clarify if unnoticed in the title of this review, this review is for George Chapman's translation of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, called 'Chapmans Homer'..
If you don't like Shakespeare, or Spenser, or the Romantics at least -- obviously this isn't your book.
But for those of us who ARE into said style of romantic/classical/renaissance verse (whatever niche you'd like to fit it into) and are also interested into understanding better such poets as mentioned above themselves -- Chapman's Homer was the first to be done into English verse, first to be done into English at all, and was an immense inspiration and indispensable book to very many of the poets we admire and love for hundreds of years.
Chapman has a great command of style, and his largest accusation has been that he lets the meaning of his translation slip up every once and a while -- which is an annoying accusation, honestly, because most translations into verse from a very different language should be fairly given some elbow room, especially if you're not looking for a dry and worthless translation that is hardly more than a summary-turned-naptime.
These are legends. Legends are inherently organic. They grow. They take a little pinch of innovation here and there. Big deal. Get over it and enjoy this marvelous piece of poetry.
Now.. for the verse quality itself..
As said, Chapman has great command of his style, and is very formal, that one gets the impression of Milton's epic voice. He also at times lets himself play with metrical variation, that lightens up the iambic diction. Also might be worth noting that alot of these variations are spondaic - which captures a like vibe of the classical-style of metrical variations. I would also say, if you liked Milton's high-style, but were not a huge fan of the Judaic runs he worked -- Chapman might all the more be agreeable to you.
The Iliad is in couplets of 'iambic heptametre', which is an ingenious way to rework the heroic-hexametre in my opinion. You really get a feel for the long-lined vigour of the Greek original as an English version; and was likely a boon to the translator also, where working dactylic hexametre into a pentametre line (as has been a popular fashion) can probably be more difficult in many places. Not to mention the iambic-heptametre carries the battle-scenes exceptionally well and sweeps the reader along at an intense pace.
The Odyssey is written in "heroic-couplets" -- which is, couplets in iambic-pentametre, iambic-pentametre being more-or-less the leading voice of English versecraft, and is perfect for a romantic adventure, which the Odyssey more or less is. On that same note, I also think it unfair for people to claim that the Iliad has been reckoned greater than the Odyssey, when the two stories are exceptionally different in many ways -- the former is a straight up warpoem, the latter is an adventure tale. Both have their highlights and literary genius, in my opinion.
If you are into all the poets and ideals I've covered, this book is at least an important experience to come closer to the old masters of verse, if not as an enjoyment of verse-poetry and famous tales. To many English poets Chapman's Homer was/has been nearly as important as the original itself.
I am not saying this is the best translation. Or that it is the most precise. But it is GOOD, and practically a historical monument of English verse and translation. I say once more before I wrap this up: if you get into Shakespeare/Spenser/Milton/Keats or even Chaucer - Chapman's Homer is worth a look, at least for his Iliad by the metre he used with it, if not for that and the Odyssey both.