OK I’ll admit it, I have an addictive personality. I have been lucky that it has (mostly) affected me in fairly innocent ways, like my Sims addiction or my chocolate addiction. Another addiction I have had for a while is my Stephen King addiction. My latest fix was “Under the Dome”. Yesterday with around 100 pages to go I left the monstrosity on my desk at work, and I almost started crying. I stayed awake late nights reading it, I dreamt about it, I loved it.
I know it is fairly chiché to be into Stephen King and I really don’t care. There is just something about Mr King and his writing that just speaks to me. I may have said that before and I will probably say it again. “Under the Dome” reminded me in some ways of my favorite King book (and possibly all time favorite book) “The Stand”. For those not aware or who cannot guess by the title, “Under the Dome” is about a small town in Maine (of course) that becomes cut off from the outside world when a mysterious and invisible barrier pops up. For a lack of a better term it is called a dome, but it fits precisely around the borders of the town so it is not really a dome as many might think of one.
There is a lot of damage caused by this invisible barrier, both to vehicles, birds and people alike. There are lots of road accidents where people try to zoom past other accidents and end up in the same situation. There is lots of carnage throughout the opening act. The subsequent acts follow the town folks through the adjustment phase. There are clearly two sides to things in this town, there is a clear villain, second selectman “Big Jim” Rennie and a clear hero Dale “Barbie” Barbara. Rennie is the classic used car salesman who gets a bit of power, abuses it and takes things too far. Once the dome comes down, things get hairy in a hurry and he ends up using Barbie as a scapegoat for the town to lynch. Barbie is a bit of a drifter, but it comes to light early in the book that he is a former army man and the army quickly asks him to take control of the town, but of course with a large barrier preventing the outside world from getting in, there is not a lot of motivation for Rennie and his crew to relent.
This book covers a large cast of characters, and at times I did have a bit of trouble keeping track of who was who. But I just did my best to keep track and the more major characters did stand out just fine. I also found it difficult to carry the giant thing around. I think that it would have been much better for the publishers to release it as a two volume set so that it would be easier on my back and also easier to hold while reading. Often when I have read longer books I have felt that the author should have had a better editor to pare it down, but in this case I did feel that the length was fairly appropriate.
The ending was dramatic and emotional, although the final resolution was rather quick and then it ended a bit abruptly. An epilogue would have been nice. If you are a King fan, you have probably already read this, but if you have not I would say don’t be scared off by the length (as I was the last time I tried to read it) and just give it a go.