Under the Dome by Stephen King


Rate: 2/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers): Well my Stephen King kick is finally over. I struggle to think of a book that I’ve read that wasn’t more painful and tortuous than Under the Dome. It has been a full twenty four hours since completing this read and my heart still hurts.  That being said, Under the Dome has so many of the key attributes I look for in great literature. The world building and character development were delightfully detailed as with the majority of books that King writes.  Those two factors alone will usually carry me through a novel whose subject matter isn’t necessarily one I gravitate towards.  In this case though, King initially had me hook, line and sinker with the concept of behind Under the Dome.  How can ones curiosity not be piqued when a mysterious barrier blocks off a small town, let the chaos reign?  Unfortunately, what ultimately ruined this read for me was that there was very, little to no ‘good’ or ‘happy’ that took place anywhere.  With so much death occurring, I struggle to think of a book that was more devastating.  Further compounding matter were the multitude of instances where King built up a story line or character only to have that effort fizzle out without a semblance of a bang, wrecking emotional havoc and tiring down his reader.  Overall, as much as I love and enjoy King’s style of writing, following Under the Dome I foresee much time passing before I pick up another one of his novels.  My literary heart needs time to heal!


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • By the end the concept of kids torturing animals/people becomes a reoccurring theme and key plot point in the story.  I couldn’t help but reflect that King made Under the Dome into his own magnifying glass and his readers the hapless ants.
  • The lack of communication between the people and military seems implausible. Perhaps that’s how it would initially happen but in this case it served to wind up the crowd and plant suspicions.
  • Would a town really go that crazy in only a few days? I suppose they could especially with an instigator like Big Jim pulling strings.
  • I was intrigued by aliens causing the dome, however how did the dome fit on the exact town lines? Did the kids ‘buy’ a snow globe for Chester’s Mill? How did the dome induce the suicides or visions of the future?
  • What was the point of Duke Perkins file? Or for that matter Andrea Grinell getting sober? So many buildups that went nowhere. It was frustrating to no end that these town people held their own council and didn’t share what they knew with other people.
  • What happened after the dome was lifted? What were the repercussions?
  • Poor, poor Ollie. Cue all the tears!

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19 comments

  1. Thanks for this. I haven’t read it or much of the series. And I won’t. Kids torturing animals does it for me. Have you seen Haven? There is a “snow globe” episode in that series and I wonder how it connects to this. Is this the idea for it?

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    • I haven’t seen the Haven. Do you like that show? No actual animal torture happened other than talking about kids burning ants with a magnifying glass and how as adults you ‘grow’ out of it. And then reflecting on how the dome is a magnifying glass for the town. Sorry I wasn’t more clear. I think I was still wound up writing this review. 😀 Still a heartbreaking read. Perhaps on par with Cujo.

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  2. I haven’t read this book, but I tried watching the tv show and it was soooo boring! Not only did I not like most of the characters, but nothing happened for most of the first season. Saying that, I was hoping that the book would be better, so I’m glad I read your review before I tried reading it! Thank you!

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  3. I know long remember many of the details of this book, but I remember feeling like I had read this story before. Maybe even several times before. There are a number of King stories that have the same kind of mix of characters and similar dynamic. It’s a good example, to me at least, of how King lost his way.

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  4. I’ve never read this one by King, and, now, I’m not sure I want to. I love King–I took a class in college, where each student picked one author to concentrate on all semester long, and I picked King–but sometimes he writes some real stinkers. I think he considers his Dark Tower series his Magnum Opus, but, for me, his best, finest, work is The Stand. As you said, King creates amazing characters, so well-developed and complex. To me, that, along with his ability to take a normal situation and say, “What if…?” are his biggest attributes as a writer.

    On a side note: so sad to read about Harlan Ellison’s death today.

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    • I hadn’t seen that Ellison had died! How sad!

      How cool you got to focus on King for your class! One of my favorite college classes was a Tolkien and CS Lewis class. I just finished The Dark Tower series and it was fascinating how all of his works are interwoven but IT and The Shining are my favorites.

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      • How I got to concentrate on King was kind of funny. The first day, our professor (who was VERY well-respected) asked us each whom our favorite author was. In a bid to impress him, my classmates answered with authors like Kafka, Nietzsche, and Thoreau. I mean, every English major reads those authors, but no one reads Nietzsche because he’s their favorite author. So, in a spate of rebelliousness (and truthfulness), I said that my current favorite was King. Then, the professor announced that we would each concentrate on our favorite author, and I not-so-secretly gloated that I got to read actual stories for the entire semester, and my classmates glowered at me in not-so-secret jealousy. My university did offer a class on Tolkien, but it was only offered once every two years, and my schedule didn’t allow for it. Very disappointing.

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  5. I checked out Under the Dome around the time they made the TV show. I decided to read the book before watching the show. I didn’t really enjoy either. Then again, I find King’s novels tend to bore me a little. His short stories are great but I’ve had issues with every one of his novels I’ve read since Carrie.

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  6. This has been on my to be read shelf for over 5 years. It was attempted twice and put back on the shelf. Maybe it’s time to find a new home for it. It was so highly recommended but I could not get into it. Tanks for the honest and clear review.

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