Review – Under the Dome by Stephen King

under the dome


Title: Under the Dome
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Supernatural Horror/Suspense
Pages: 1088
Reviewer: Debby


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. 

It comes as no surprise that Stephen King’s Under the Dome is a fabulous read.  This is another great work from a master of the craft. I find myself experiencing a severe book hangover after reading anything by King, as though no other offer of literature shines as brightly as the illuminated prose put forth by this genius author.  It sounds like a little too much praise but what can I say – I loved this book.

I was so enthralled with King’s impressive handle on the numerous characters populating the town of Chester’s Mill and his clever use of the different character stories to further the plot.  Like so many pieces of a puzzle slowly coming together, each of these unique and often twisted characters makes a fateful choice that propels the story along it trajectory; and this coming together is just so satisfying to read.

There is no doubt that Stephen King has a way of portraying the ugliest of our human characteristics.  This story reveals so much about human nature and how differently people act under pressure.  Many of the inhabitants of Chester’s Mill puzzle over the effect their situation has had on the townspeople they thought they knew so well.  The supermarket scene is a particularly gripping event which demonstrates how the mind of the crowd can so easily override the mind of the individual.

I was extremely impressed with King’s style of omniscient narration. He uses the technique in such a way that the reader feels both like a town inhabitant and like one peering into the dome through a magnifying glass.  So many of the characters I met in Under the Dome will stay with me for some time to come; I would have to write a book of my own to be able to comment sufficiently on my thoughts surrounding these characters, so I would rather you spend that time discovering them yourself!  This is yet another of King’s strengths that I envy; he can write male and female, young and old, even dog, in such a convincing and flawless manner.

Stephen King demonstrates, time and time again, the potential of the imagination.  It certainly takes a great mind to fabricate such an intricate story around what the conclusion proves to be such a simple idea. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and don’t think you can get by with just watching the TV series (which, of course, I do), because the best of King is not TV friendly and you don’t want to miss out on that.

And just for fun, I have to share my favourite quote from the book, “It was amazing, really, how well disappointment and lack of surprise complemented each other; they were like the Olsen Twins of emotion.” (Pg 416)  What a fantastic simile!!

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