Under the Dome
by Stephen King
Summary: On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.
Release Date: November 2009
Source: I purchased a paperback copy of the book
I really enjoyed Under the Dome. The entire concept appeals to me because I’m always looking for books that deal with humanity, survival, and oppression. Typically, the settings in books like that are dystopian, futuristic, or post apocalyptic, which I love, but I appreciated the fact that this story takes place in a fairly ordinary place. I love the idea that by cutting off the town from the outside world, chaos ensues. I absolutely love the TV show, so when I heard that it was different from the book, I got curious about what sort of details the book had and what sort of direction it took. I was immediately captivated by the differences in the characters and the way their stories differed.
A lot of my feelings about the book are influenced by the show (at least the few episodes of it that I’ve seen so far). I felt like the book was a lot more straightforward and less of a mystery than the show, which is both liked and disliked at the same time. I feel like the characters and the plot in the show are a bit less predictable because I can’t quite figure them out. In the book, however, it’s quite clear that Junior is psychotic, Big Jim is a power hungry dictator, Barbie is a hero, etc. It made their actions more predictable as a result, but not in a bad way. For example, if I guessed that one of the characters would make a bad decision, I might be right, but then I felt like knowing that helped me sit back and really enjoy the effects of that bad decision, if that makes sense. I felt like I could focus a lot on the situation and the human dynamics, which I did enjoy.
Nothing about Under the Dome really surprised me once I got through a hefty chunk of it. Besides the origin of the dome and the final solution, it was relatively easy to figure out how people would behave. Perhaps this was because these types of situations interest me so much that I’m super exposed to them, or perhaps because I’m familiar with the way Stephen King handles these situations himself, like the grocery store in The Mist. The story is familiar in many aspects. I don’t think any of that is particularly negative, though, because it still interests me and Stephen King never disappoints me when it comes to how humans act. I am always curious about how people will act in times of crisis, especially unexplainable crisis.
Under the Dome is a large book. While it took me awhile to finish, I didn’t feel like it was too long. Stephen King books often have a way of feeling like they are just the right length, and Under the Dome was no exception. The plot was interesting, the characters were compelling, and the overall resolution of the conflict wasn’t predictable at all. If you like elements of human dynamics in Lord of Flies kind of scenarios, you won’t be disappointed at all.
I am glad I read the book, and would certainly do so again if given the chance. Because the book is so different from the show, I think it’s fun to explore both stories and neither one is really better or worse. I prefer the way the mystery element seems to be going in the show, but I also really enjoyed the straightforward corruption and chaos of power hungry people in the book.
I don’t think this really needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: there is violence, death, gore, and language in Under the Dome. It’s a Stephen King book. These things aren’t over the top or unnecessary. However, if you’re uncomfortable with language, it might seem excessive.
Labels: Adult, Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic, Review, Science Fiction