Thursday, June 27, 2013

Under the Dome by Stephen King.

Ever since Under the Dome by Stephen King came out, I wanted to read it. I hesitated for a few reasons:

1. I associated King with horror. And I don't like horror. Horror movies scare the beejeezus out of me, and I can barely tolerate parts of "The Walking Dead" on AMC (but I love the characters).

2. Length. While I am not afraid of long books, I was afraid that Under the Dome was long and horrific (see #1). How would I power through it?

3. I actually have no experience with King, beyond On Writing. How would I react to King's work?

However, I knew the miniseries was coming out (it debuted on Monday), so I knew that if I wanted to read it, now would be an excellent time. There was also a readalong going on that offered some encouragement. So I joined up, a bit late in the game.

I did not expect to like the book from the first page...or to become so hooked that I raved about it as I was reading to anyone who would listen. My husband has been the biggest victim, and he is just as excited as I am to watch the series. I think I also convinced my mom to read the book. :)

For anyone who hasn't seen the trailer for the series, or who has no idea what the book is about, it focuses on the town of Chester's Mill. One fall day, a mysterious dome covers the town, sealing it off from the rest of the world. There is no explanation for the dome and while the military tries to penetrate it, it stands firm.

What happens inside the town, "under the dome," forms the basis of the novel. What happens when a community is isolated and on their own? Inevitably people begin to take advantage of the situation-some rise to help others, and others rise to push their own agendas.

This novel felt very political to me as I read it. Big Jim Rennie, one of the novel's biggest villains, rises up early on to seize power in the town. And while there are many who disagree with the actions he is trying to take to seize control, no one steps in stop him. And by the time things get really bad, it's too late. Big Jim has so much power that he really can't be stopped.

There were also a lot of environmental issues that were central to the book. As the dome holds in the air, pollution, and fumes from the town, it takes on a yellowish tinge and the temperature rises. You have to wonder if King was doing this on purpose-showing us the error of our ways (because obviously it was noticeable to the townspeople and they did nothing to stop it to prevent it from getting worse). 

The biggest piece of the book that I enjoyed was the actual writing. I found it to be very straightforward in style. And while there were certainly some extremely cheesy lines, the whole book just felt fun. Fast. Action-packed. It was something I miss when I'm reading, say, Dickens. If this title is anything like his others, I can see why King is so successful. It was an easy read-uncomplicated, catchy, and intriguing. I would definitely read another book by him (as long as it wasn't horror).

There is more I could say, but I don't want to spoil. (And to be honest, I'm having a hard time writing about this in general. I've fallen out of the habit of reviewing and talking about this has taken me far too long. :) I hope it gets easier the more often I write).


  1. Stephen King is the MASTER of cheesy lines. Especially when it comes to graphic sexual innuendo type stuff. Lol

  2. I have spent the last couple months being completely surprised by King's storytelling ability. I totally thought he was a horror guy too! I just finished Under the Dome for the readalong too. I would highly recommend The Green Mile as your next King if you're looking for a next!

  3. King is more psychological in his horror (although his early books are more typical of the horror genre) - he has the ability to create screnarios that can scare the bejeezus out of you - but half the work is done in your own mind!
    I can't wait for Under the Dome to start in Australia :-)

  4. Oh, I love King! He scares me more with his short stories than his novels, so you might want to steer clear of those and his earlier work. Otherwise, I say go for it!