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
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.
After being left disappointed by the last few Stephen King books this one was AWESOME! I have renewed hope in Stephen King's writing! This is classic King... no loose ends, no over-the-top nonsense, a touch of the macabre... Quick moving story.. just wonderful!
I have read every Stephen King book in publication and listened to many on audiobook. Under The Dome is wholly heartbreaking, often frustrating, totally engaging and one of King's best. The many characters make the small-town living realistic and the vivid descriptions make you feel the isolation surrounding you. Raul E., the narrator, is a master at breaking your heart with the stark desperation of the situation and lightening the load with his spot-on delivery of King's sharp wit. I thought Duma Key had exemplified King's growing sense of humanity in the face of the horror he used to deliver, where the reader could easily deliniate fact from written fiction. Under The Dome shows that with age, King has mastered an ability to shake you to the core as you begin to realize, "There but for the grace of God, go I."
This could have been a very good book. However after listening to less than half of the book I could not in good conscience finish it because of the vulgar language. Hey I'm a big boy and can usually take listening to it here and there but come on. The gratuitous explicative's were more than I could take. I mean who really G*Ds, and F's every other sentence. It went beyond setting the mood or character of the actors to a personal anti religion spew by the author. I'm very disappointed because this could have been a really good listen.
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