Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Under the Dome by Stephen King-Review

Well with the CBS show coming out this week..I knew I had to read this book.  I am a huge King fan and had not made the time to dig into this book.  1074 pages later.. I loved the book.  I actually listened to my first ever audio with this book too.  34 hours of audio.  I went on a summer road trip so that was perfect time to listen!  Also... I discovered a readalong for it as well and jumped in on that... though I haven't seen any updates for it at all, so I have been updating over at The Stephen King Fans group.  

Here is the goodreads book description:

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.

What can I say. This book is epic. There are so many characters it's hard to keep track of. So much happens in this book I don't even know where to begin. I enjoyed this story more then I thought I would.  When I started the book I was a little bored... like we just kept reading about all these characters stuck under a dome and that was it.  But once I really got into the lives of each character and got to know them I was sucked in.  Which is what King tends to do with his huge books.  They are like a study of characters and how they interact.  Honestly to me the Dome was the side story of the book.

I discovered reading this book that listening to audio brings out way more emotions in me then just reading it.  I would cringe at the parts that were gross because I couldn't read fast to get past them.  I would roll my eyes when the bad villain guy Remmey would do something awful.  I even laughed out loud a few times!  Next time I do an audio I probably won't pick one so long... but then again it was a perfect way to get through a long book and make a road trip go by super fast.  In fact.. I was actually looking forward to driving so I could get back to the story.  I will admit though.. I wonder if I would've liked the story the same if I had read it myself without the audio.

 This is neat, Dome Day is Saturday, October 21, 2012. If you'll look at a calender, you'll see that this day doesn't exist. Due to the Leap Year, October 21 skips from Friday in 2011 to Sunday in 2012.  That is interesting and one of those things King always discovers and adds into his books. You just have to look closely to see these easter eggs!  

Spoilers to come... do not read if you don't want to know what happens in the book ending! 

I am OK with the aliens at the end. I didn't think of that as a bad ending but I'll admit I was surprised. I thought it was going to be something completely different. I still don't really get why if people touched it once or touched the dome once they got a zap and then after that no more zaps. I don't ever expect good ending from King... meaning feel good endings. And I like that. For me life is never a good smooth ride. It's bumpy and things never go right. I think I am OK with the aliens because I didn't expect that and was quite surprised.

I can't imagine living in a small town like this even before the dome fell. I think I would've noticed right away that Jim was terrible and an awful guy to be running a town. Jim was a creepy guy because he really did think that the people of the town were stupid and he was their savior. I am surprised that King said in an interview that his favorite character to write in this book was Chef. I didn't think Chef was that much of a main character compared to Jim and Barbie. I loved that though Chef went and buried Sammy. That was a beautiful thing. I was totally bothered by Andrea's death. To think she had so much courage and strength and was ready to turn her life around and then died. :'(

It's funny the comments about comparing this book to the Stand. I did that too and I don't even know why. I guess it is the size of the book and the fact that we get to know all these characters though the two books are nothing alike. I plan on re-watching the Simpsons movie now that I have read this book. I haven't seen that movie in years and can't really remember it. But I really want to see the similarities.  Of course I am also ready to watch the CBS series Under the Dome that started this week.  

End Spoilers

CBS has already released on Amazon what the DVD box set is going to look like for when the show comes out and it's amazing!

The crystal ball says:

Sun is shinning!!!  Great day to go outside and read this book.

Check out my other posts for the readalong:
Under the Dome Update 2
Check out Update 1 on Under the Dome


  1. I, too, really enjoyed this one. I thought it was great satirical fun, and King doing what he does best: town-under-siege, large cast of characters, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, etc.

    And I liked the aliens aspect, too. I get a kick out of the extreme rage against the idea. What else could it have been? I dunno - worked for me.

    The audio was immense, wasn't it! I listened to the first, like, 15 discs of it and then read the rest, but I enjoyed listening to it.

    Happy to hear you enjoyed!

    1. Like you guys, I was a bit mystified to learn that so many people HATE the alien aspects of the book. One of my best friends is in that camp. I asked him why and he ranted at me for about ten minutes about how you can't just spring something like that on people. My response was: well, what else COULD it have been? He said, "Anything; ANYTHING else."

      I dunno; worked like a charm for me.

      But then, people probably get really confused as to why I'm bothered by some of the things that bother me, so maybe I shouldn't be too judgmental.

    2. I agree.. I liked the aliens. I was really surprised by it and thought... well that's clever. I also really loved the ant story. How many of us just step on ants and move on. Ants are very very smart though and we just don't care about them.

      This was a King ending to me. If it had been something like man caused I think that wouldn't have been a King book. Anyone could write a normal happy ending where everything works out great. You put King in the mix and you get a better book. Period.

    3. It's funny you say that. I love Stephen King also, but find the weakest parts of his books tend to be the endings. I wasn't thrilled with the aliens. I should be more specific though. I was ok with aliens, but the whole children treating us like we would ants thing rubbed me the wrong way.

      But, the book was fantastic and hopefully the tv series maintains some of the awesome.

    4. You are certainly not the first to not like the aliens. I guess what I thought was odd was the whole one alien child let the people go but if it was more then one then the alien wouldn't have. I suppose King is talking about peer pressure. I did tend to do crazier things with a group of friends... certainly things I wouldn't have done by myself. I like to think now as an adult I wouldn't do those things even if friends were pressuring me to.

  2. I watched the show on Monday night & I see familiar scenes mentioned here. Well, you'll see how they switched it up for the show.
    I personally enjoyed the showed a lot & the I cant wait to see how they survive under the dome as supplies dwindle and fear kicks in. Plus that small town politician guy is shady! His son is a nut too. I am curious as to where the reporters storyline is going because she thinks her doctor hubby is just out of the dome cuz he cheated. lolz.
    I cant wait to see what you think of the first episode

    1. I watched the first episode today and thought it was good. I think it will really get people watching it... even if they aren't King fans. I hear they changed the end of the book big time so I am curious what the TV show is going to do!

  3. I won't be watching the series but I loooved the book! Well, except by the ending. I bought the book to my mom in Spanish so she could read it and she forbid me to buy her more books that she can't put down.

    1. Oh you aren't going to watch the series? King put out a letter to his fans today to just take the show as it is and love the book too! :)

  4. I finished it Sunday and I really liked it very much. The aliens didn't bother me, and in my blog, I compared the aliens part more to Dreamcatcher than anything having to do with The Stand. I think the only similarity between Dome and The Stand is that there were so many characters and both books are long and epic.

  5. Great post! I didn't mind the ending, either. Maybe tied up just a touch too conveniently, but overall I think it worked. Thanks for checking out my blog, too!

  6. I didn't mind the aliens. What I did mind was that they didn't start begging the aliens to let them out, you know, before the massive catastrophe. Then Rennie could have been tried in public and pelted with tomatoes or something! TOMATO PELTING IS THE ULTIMATE JUSTICE!

  7. Thank you for the spoilers warning! It's on my to read list, I've never read a book over 1000 pages, but it sounds like this one is well worth it.

    I'm currently half way through King's Joyland - it starts off relatively slowly but is picking up nicely. As per usual, he's always very readable!