Thursday, September 23, 2010

Under The Dome

I finished Under The Dome! It’s a hefty book. A friend of mine, who also just finished it, called it an investment. It is an investment, in more ways than one. Stephen King's book is over one thousand pages long. So there is an investment of time. You also become invested in the characters and the outcome of their time under the dome. It’s not just the good characters you care about either, you care about the bad ones; you want to make sure the bad guys get what they deserve in the end.

The end was fantastic. I couldn’t put it down for the last 80 pages. I just kept reading, even though I knew I should get up, until the book was done. Stephen King created some amazing, compelling characters. Their history before the dome greatly influenced their behaviour once they were under it. If you paid attention, you could see the paths the characters would follow.

I warn future readers now, no character is safe. It doesn’t matter how much back story is given. It doesn’t matter if you think the outcome hinges on them. If their time comes, they die. The first section of the book is an onslaught of death. What happens when an invisible force field is put in place and you don’t know it’s there? That is the beginning of the book. When you think the dying has stopped, someone else goes.

The only part of the end I wasn’t happy with is what happened to Big Jim Rennie. I really wanted someone to shoot him in the head. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean. He doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. At least his son, Junior, has a moment with the Appleton kids where he shows kindness, though five minutes before he punched a random guy in the stomach. Though Junior is a bully, some of his behaviour might have been attributed to an actual illness. Big Jim doesn’t have that excuse. He never shows kindness unless he is getting something out if it. He knows he has a bad heart, but treats it as though it’s another person out to get him, instead of something that is a part of him. Though he attributes his behaviour to “God’s will”, all he ever does is try and take more power and control. He treated the people in the town like they were his subjects and he was the divinely chosen king.

Dale Barbara (Barbie) and Julia Shumway are great heroes. They are regular people, dealing with their own problems and lives. Barbie was trying to leave when the dome came down. He was only minutes from missing the chaos. Barbie and Julia are the people who put aside personal concern and even safety and do what is necessary to save lives. Rusty Everett does the same thing. Though only thirteen, so does Joe McClatchey. It is people like them that should have been in charge from the beginning and I kept reading the book hoping somehow Barbie would take over and make everything better.

Stephen King is often touted as the Master of Horror. I found the events in Under the Dome not as much “horror” as horrifying. There are murders, rapists, riots and suicides. There is so much hatred, contempt and corruption. There are people who don’t understand the difference between right and wrong. There are too many people abusing their power. The evil already existed in the town, the dome just amplified it.

Under The Dome is worth the investment. It’s not just a story about a supernatural event, it’s a story about the people of the town.


  1. Like THE MIST, it sounds like UNDER THE DOME is a commentary on human nature marketed as a horror story.

  2. Hopped by today & wanted to connect with someone who's recently finished Under the Dome as well. I agree that it was certainly an investment of time :oD Also loved the variety of characters and how human nature is tested.