On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens - town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing - even murder - to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.
©2009 Stephen King; (P)2009 Simon & Schuster
"Under the Dome" has themes and an ensemble of characters which remind me of the TV series "Lost." In a sense, the town of Chester's Mill is lost to the world, and we have mysterious forces at work creating a force field around the town which the military cannot penetrate and nobody can get in or out. This leads to a group, like the Others in Lost, who think they are the rightful leaders of the town and proceed to make selfish decisions to empower themselves at the expense of the town that they claim to be the good guys for. Our hero, Barbi, an Iraqi veteran, is cunning and well trained but unable at first to resist the leaders of the town. He makes alliances with some of the more honorable members of the community, and these members race to save him from being framed, and the town from it's own demise. I would give this book five stars if it did not paint all Christians as cartoon villains with limited views of the world and hypocritical views, and if it did not use so much foul language.
Great narration, thank goodness because there are a lot of characters to distinguish between. Not nearly as good as The Stand or Gunslinger Series, but unlike those complaining about the political aspect of this book, I believe Stephen King has earned the right to express his art with political bias. Art is suppose to reflect our society, and using his genre to comment on the Bush years is not just OK, but commendable. The length is a little much, and the plot somewhat predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable if you are doing something else while listening.
The book gets going right away but it takes a while to figure out what exactly is going on. This book has probably more characters in it than any I've ever seen. Many family-related characters with common first names and identical last names made it difficult to remember who-was-who. Some characters would disappear for large portions of the book such that by the time they appeared again, I could scarcely remember who they were.
The story builds slowly but keeps you interested. My biggest disappointment was the final explanation of how the dome occurred. I'll avoid the spoiler but suffice it to say the same thing happened in an old Star Trek TOS episode. Most geeks will know what I'm talking about. Despite this flaw, the strength of the main characters (both good and bad) carries this story.
Also, a final confrontation between good and evil is nice but certain resolutions between main characters was unfulfilling. Good can triumph over evil or evil can triumph over good but it's less fulfilling for those things that sort themselves out by chance.
The story was good, not Stephen King's best but good nonetheless. However, the narrator was pretty awful. I'm not sure where the deep south and California skater dude accents came from as the book takes place in Maine. His few attempts at genuine Maine accents are pretty lame. He also does a poor job job of maintaining characters' voices in various scenes.
Also, despite several reviews from very confused readers who though the story line was right-wing and were surprised to see sex and profanity in a Stephen King book, the book has a clearly leftist bent and no more sex or profanity than other King books.
Good story, but it is very weighted both politically and religiously. The main villain is a fat, GW bush loving, Obama hating religious fanatic who claims everything he does is "God's will." Not to mention that he uses no curse words but rather refers to all those against him as "cotton pickers." Apparently Mr. King tried to publish this book 2 times prior, but elected to wait for the correct political timing for it's release. In summary, the villains are nothing more than extreme racist, right wing conservative stereotypes. I guess it's no secret that Mr King is a Left winged atheist... Also I don't know if I missed something in the beginning and the villain (Mr. Renney) was supposed to be from down south, but the story takes place in Maine and Mr Renney just so happens to have a thick southern accent just like Bush! Go figure.
Other than that it is entertaining enough, however why do all the characters have to make such stupid, unrealistic decisions?!? Surely a talented writer can think of ways to bring their characters adversity without cheating by making them take EVERY wrong turn!
Excellent narrator, juggling some 50 voices, many of which added a depth to the character development that I would not have otherwise had by actually reading it. The plot is intriguing and unfolds, or rather, descends into an Orwellian nightmare at a rapid pace. I can't understand some of the other reviews saying otherwise. I have read many SK books, and would have to say that this is the best one I've read since I finished the Dark Tower series.
As other critics of Raul Esparza have mentioned, he hasn't much of an ear for Maine (or French) accents. Moving on...
Stephen King's writing seems to reflect the arc of his life. He's a horror writer who's simply not afraid of the same things he was afraid of 25 years ago.
From the social horrors of a young person in Carrie through the absolute terror of losing a child in Cujo and Pet Sematary he's traveled through a cultural panic in The Stand and now has arrived in his 60's facing retirement in Duma Key and now in UTD is just satisfied to have survived.
Those of us who are longtime King fans and have had to wait a year (or so) between novels come fresh to the feast each time and have tasted them one by one. Later readers can hippity hop from one to the other and sort of get too many flavors at once.
Sorry, folks. Stephen King is entitled to change his focus and his voice. Vote with your dollar but keep in mind that if you're in your 50's or 60's like King (and me) you're likely to re-read some of his earlier (scarier?) work with a sense of indulgent amusement and ask yourself "Can this really have scared the crap out of me the first time I read it?"
I love to read but don't have much time so, listening to books has become a necessary passion. If I can't read, I'll listen and it makes mundane things like driving long distances and cleaning house bearable.
I read reviews of this audio book before I actually purchased it and was aware of some opinions that Raul Esparza's narration style was off-putting.
I don't necessarily agree. Some of the female characters portayals are, honestly, annoying because of Esparza's choice to render them in a higher pitch with an "adult mimmicking a child" type of inflection. His general narrating style was a bit like Joe Friday from that old TV show... "just the facts, mam..." But considering the main character is ex military it worked, as far as I'm concerned.
The story itself was strong enough in premise and character relatability that I was able to ignore the negative.
I finished listening to this Dec. 31, 2009 in the midst of fireworks, the too frequent sounds of sirens and general New Year's Eve shenanigans and to say that I related seems insufficient.
I felt like I was right there... When the book ended and I heard the expected, "This has been Audible..." I literally had to shake myself out of the story line. It is one of King's best.
This is definitely the Stephen King of old. I had almost given up on him the last few years but this book is one of his best. It takes real talent to keep you completely engrossed for over 34 hours. The more I read, the less I wanted to put it down. The narrator did a great job as well. He did have problems with a couple of the characters accents, but not enough to distract from the story. I very seldom re-read a book but will do so with this one.
I thought this was a great book until the last hour of the book. I'm not sure what ending the book could have had to keep pace with the quality of the first 33 hours but this one wasn't it.
Report Inappropriate Content