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 first twenty one hours of this book had lots of moments that felt like listeners torture. It would have been deleted unfinished if I hadn't been so awed by 11-22-63. Fortunately, "Under the Dome" got a lot better in the final twelve hours.
Stephen King in his talk after the book finished (a great feature in both books) indicated that the book originally was larger and was shortened with input from a helper. Thank heavens for that --- because a longer version may have done me in.
More pages isn't always better. This book could have been shortened by about fifteen hours and become a very impressive story.
There have been so many really scary stories from King where the fear comes from the external environment. Great scares! This story studies that the real scare comes from within human nature. Under unreasonable, undeniable external stress, humans can act unnaturally scary. This story studies how a core of rotten characters added to a crew of extremely susceptiple folks; can twist a normal community into a terrifying place to be. And, isn't the most real of tangible of fears those that come from inside?
So, I Read This Book Today . . .
I hate to be derivative, but I agree with Pam Gearhart's review. There just is no "there" there. King has rarely disappointed me in the past and I have many of his books. Sadly, I just can't like this one.
King is known for his characters who feel like they are really here, that they are real people. I identify with so many of his characters. Roland Dechain, Pennywise the Clown (shudder!!!!), Delbert Grady in “The Shining”. And I remember all the characters in “The Stand.” However, with “Under the Dome” there just isn't that connection as there is with so many of the other King characters.
The book is terrifically long, over 1,000 pages. Normally, like with the Uncut Edition of The Stand (1472 pages), I am so deeply into the story that I am still disappointed when the book is over. In this case, I got about 200 pages into the book (with difficulty) and just fizzled out. I tried picking up again several times, thinking I was just in the wrong mood for the book, but I never could get through it. I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters. And if I can't care about the characters, I won't waste my time reading the book. Life is too short, there are too many books out there, to waste time on something I can't get into.
I know some people really love the book, which is understandable. But, thankfully, not everyone likes the same thing, and this is just my own opinion. Take it or leave it, I still love many of King's works.
Raul Esparza, however, does a great job as the narrator.
I really enjoyed this audiobook except where I feel the last segment (5 parts) was rushed and the ending was a bit disappointing. Not my typical Stephen King ending. The narrator is very good as he has the voice of many many characters. This is another thing you may need to know.. many many characters here. Overall a very interesting listen. Approximately 54 hours I believe. Well worth your money. It took me about 2 weeks to get the whole book through and with me taking every day to see what happens next. I took this week me to the pool and just sit and relaxed.
Fabulous! Intense! Mind Blowing! I am not a regular Stephen King reader, but I am going to start now. The book was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. I DID NOT WANT IT TO END!
"Under the Dome" is being compared to King's earlier and greater work, "The Stand." "Dome" is entertaining, and I give it 3 points mostly for King-isms such as "Nothing runs like a Deere." (Of course the narrator deserves some credit for the delivery too.)
It's no "Stand," however. The big difference is that King devotes the entire work of the "Dome" to the subject covered in about 1/6 of "The Stand" - that is, the destruction of the world he's writing about. "The Stand" deals with that and then moves swiftly on to the part which I personally found more interesting; would it be possible to reconstruct society after the loss of so many people? That King had to use the hand-wavium of supernatural events to pull the protagonists together into one location shows that Stewart's "Earth Abides" describes the likelier outcome of such a catastrophe, but in "The Stand," King manages to pull off a fairly exciting work on the subject. In "Dome," however, King becomes one of those kids burning ants under a magnifying lens that he talks about in the book; he creates characters - some really evil bad guys and some weak and ineffectual good guys - then he spends the rest of the book watching them jump through hoops while everything goes crashing down around them.
If you thought the best part of "The Stand" was part 1, you'll enjoy "Under the Dome." If you're a hard core SF buff and would like a more character-driven and more scientifically interesting look at this notion of what would happen if you were cut off from the rest of the universe, I highly recommend Robert Charles Wilson's "Spin" instead.
I think this was the best King book since the last Dark Tower. The idea for this book is so interesting! I love the story so much that I've listened to it twice!!
I was mesmerized within the first five minutes. Another great King novel with a complex cast. I didn't think anything could even come close to The Stand, but this one does! I hated to turn it off. I definitely fell in love with the characters, laughed, cried and waited with baited breath to see how it would end.
King puts normal people into extraordinary circumstances and we all get to find out what happens. As usual, he develops his characters well, and you do not come across a character 20 hours into the story wondering who it is. The story immediately draws you in, and I know I never lost the thread through the entire 35 hours. To me, this is probably the most important consideration when evaluating a story. This was a great 35 hours.
This is not a feel-good story. King's stories rarely are. He does not tell the story you want to hear, he tells the story the way it happens. I usually leave a Stephen King story wondering why this character or that one had to die, or why a story line went one way or another, because something bad happens to someone for no perceptible reason. King gets you to love a character, or at least like one, then do something bad to it. This story is no exception, but I have come to understand that this is almost necessary to a good story. Good things have no perspective when there is nothing bad to compare them to.
This is no secret, but Stephen King is a diehard left-winger. His lack of regard for anyone to the right side of the political spectrum comes though loudly in many of this story's villains, but does not detract from the story the way it does in some of John Grisham's books.
In the end, this was an excellent listen. The narration was commendable. I do not think the story was a good as Duma Key, but it was unquestionably worth the credit, and, more importantly, the 35 hours of my life listening to it. The measure of what makes an audio book truly great (to me) is whether I plan on listening to it again, so I cannot call this one great. I will not be listening to this story again, but there are few stories that meet this standard.
One of the most engaging works of contemporary fiction I've read/listened to. I cared deeply about many of the characters and wanted to strangle some of the others.
The narrator was outstanding as well.
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