Book Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Cover of "Under the Dome: A Novel"

Ok so I’m not a literary scholar, not by a long shot, but I just finished reading the above titled book and wanted to share!!

Before we start I should mention I’m a BIG Stephen King fan, but I’m also pretty honest and I’m not about to say “FCUK this is amazing” if it isn’t, so please bear that in mind.

Now, I have read books by Stephen in the past (yeah we’re on first name terms… he just doesn’t know it yet) and thought exactly the same as when I finished watching The Green Lantern… “Meh!!”

However!! This is not one of those books. Blaze! That was one of those books, nothing wrong with it, but really didn’t suck me in at all. Oops what am I thinking that was Richard Bachman… anyway… Under the Dome gripped me from the very beginning… The Airplane and the Woodchuck, (poor little bugger).

You’ve probably seen the Simpsons movie yeah? Well this is a similar concept but taken in a different and quite frankly, more plausible direction (and conceptualised years earlier I might add). It’s about human nature and all that is good and bad within it. Love, caring and thoughtfullness mixed with greed, fear, hatred and the need for power. It also has an ecological message to tell regarding how we treat ourselves and our planet and how quickly things can go from bad to worse!!

I really don’t want to give too much away about the plot itself but the way people react in the town has a sense of believability about it. When the town in the book are cut off from the outside world and the necessities of life become short in supply, the order of society changes becoming more sinister and you really get a sense of the panic that would have gripped the people of this small town. Even the pace of the book lends itself to this, building steadily and rapidly throughout, never really letting up.

I think what really grabbed me about this book though is that the characters are real. Even the main hero Dale Barbara (which for some unknown reason I kept hearing in my head as bar-bear-a) is not a clichéd all round American boy, he’s an ex serviceman who served in Iraq and has to deal with all the crap that comes with that. He, and the other characters have flaws, they have problems and you see them for who they really are, as though looking at them under a microscope or magnifying glass.

I think that was Stephen’s main aim here; to make us think about who we are and how we affect the world around us. You can quite easily use his dome as a metaphor for our atmosphere. There are many parallels.

The book itself is fairly long at 800+ pages but they fly by and you won’t want to put it down. Not since IT has a Stephen King book grabbed me quite so firmly by the balls and said “READ ME”. I know some feel The Stand is his best work, personally I thought the ending let it down and that IT was better. The Stand however was my 2nd favourite SK book until I read Under the Dome. Now it’s my 3rd.

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