15 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Under The Dome by Stephen King

Take any small town in America and throw a really big indestructible glass bowl over the top of it and put it under a microscope. Add in corrupt local government, a big meth lab and a whole boatload of very interesting characters… and you, my friends, are Under The Dome.

You simply cannot talk about this book without bring up “The Stand”, so I’ll get that out of the way – The Stand is probably one of the best epic length end-of-the-world type of books ever written. It is, in my humble opinion, the best Stephen King novel ever written. I read this book every 3-5 years because I adore the character development and storyline and execution. Having said that, Under The Dome is not The Stand but it does stand on it’s own two feet.

King’s more recent work has left me a bit “meh” feeling. I honestly only read one here or there, I read this one because a friend said to – and yes, because of the hype. I wasn’t really expecting much, but was hoping for that feeling of epic goodness that King can bring out when he puts his mind to it. I really think King succeeds admirably in that respect. The character development is phenomenal, the descriptions are well placed, and the town feels real. Yes, a few characters are over the top, a few niggles here and there, but on a broad scale – and anyone that’s been involved in any type of small-based politics will tell you – there’s always some level of corruption going on there. There’s always backs being scratched – and yes, there’s some insanity too.

The story is less about how the dome got there and more about what happened in the aftermath of the dome falling on them. It’s a bit of a look at how us crazy humans act (and react) when faced with calamities. It happens much as you would expect. Some ride to the occasion and some, well, don’t. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but I will say this – don’t give up at that 3/4 in spot where it kind of goes all wonky. That last hurrah, the thing that happens in the last 10% or so of the book… that makes it worth it. Some of the best “holy crap, the world is ending” writing I’ve seen in a long time.

Read it. It’s not The Stand, but it’s quite epic in it’s own right.

PS – a nod to the artwork (below). I read this on my kindle, but the artwork is absolutely gorgeous. A nod to their marketing department for getting the art department on board. I bet that sold more than a few hardbacks 🙂 Seriously, though, gorgeous – simply gorgeous.

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.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2010: 22
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