Under the Dome: A Short Review
(minor spoliers ahead)
Hey, gang, I know I'm a little late to the party on this one but, dammit, I've got a newborn at home at it makes it a little difficult to find time to read. Especially when what you are reading is an 1100 page, nineteen pound mammoth book. Anyway, I finished Under the Dome last night and couldn't wait to share a few quick thoughts on it. Hopefully you'll be inspired to read it, ifin' you haven't already done so.
Firstly, the book is really long, but don't be daunted by that. I swear, it is a rather fast-paced read - as are all of King's works. It took me around a month to get it finished (and that's with a new baby). If you can get past the length, then you are in for one hell of a ride.
I don't know if I really need to rehash the plot, but here's a quick synopsis: a seemingly impenetrable dome, suddenly and without reason encapsulates a small Maine town - trouble ensues. There you have it. That's the plot in a nutshell. Granted, I just boiled down 1088 pages into one sentence - so it's a bit of an over simplification. There are tons of characters - some good, some bad - that align with each other when the going gets rough so you may get some flashbacks to King's earlier opus The Stand. And there is a great amount of fantastic characterization found within these pages.
Themeatically, King touches on the duality of humanity (something he does well), conservation of natural resources, pollution, human suffering, and - deftly, I think - religion as a tool for control. In a lot of ways, I feel like this must be King's answer to 9/11. The novel starts with a plane crash (and MINOR SPOILER ALERT: there is a second crash quite a bit later in the novel). Once the Dome is revealed, Big Jim Rennie seizes control of the town with religious zeal and fear - creating, for all intents and purposes, an army to carry out his (and God's, of course) bidding. That sure does sound familiar.
There are problems with the novel, to be sure. Some of the dialogue is a tad bit on the phony side. Especially when King writes children. I've never met a single person that talks like the kids in this book do. But, in the context of 1100 pages of awesome I think that we can forgive these minor trespasses. The other problem that I had was with the ending - I'm just not sure that it was enough for me. Not that I didn't expect that with King. He's so wonderful for 95% of his books and then will come screeching to a halt, very abruptly, without a real ending. Let me be fair here, Under the Dome's ending isn't all that unsatisfying - in fact, I actually liked it. I just didn't like it as much as I liked the rest of the novel.
With that said, it really is one of the best books I've read in a while. I still keep up with King, and read all of his work as it comes out, and I must say that this is Steve's best work in years. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being The Stand, I'd give Under the Dome an eight. I recommend it - highly!