It's telling that it's impossible to discuss Atlas Shrugged without clarifying your stance on Rand's worldview.
To that end, it's impossible to deny that she was a powerful writer. Articulate? Classically skilled? Not so much. I read one article which claimed she wrote the whole thing using Meth to get through it. I believe it.
But... it grabs you, somehow, if you can muddle through it. The world she paints is so damn attractive to quite a lot of people, and I can see why. It's a world where your productivity is a measure of your true value, where karma is absolute, and where the height of enlightenment comes from realizing that one does NOT have to submit to tyranny. That living free of unrealistic expectations, societal or otherwise, is the only way to achieve true happiness.
Rand is at her noblest when she speaks to empowering oneself. She is it at her stupidest when she turns around and condemns charity and kindness. One does not prevent the other. Some find empowerment by helping others, and are as necessary and vital as those who do not need to do so.
In that, she reveals her own flaws so intensely that it hurts. This author had emotional problems, was wrestling with demons so hard that she built up an enormous strength, and turned it to purposes both foul and fair.
In the end, I enjoy it for its fervor, but scorn the notion of translating its ideas to the real world. Many who call themselves Objectivists would actually hate living in a Randian world. Nor could they survive for long, if forced to do so.
Every couple of years I go and reread it. Checking it out of the library, because I find irony in that. I'll never own a copy, but I'll read it as I please. It seems fitting.
And every year, I come to the same conclusion: It is fiction; let it remain so.