Friday, September 2, 2011

Under the Dome by Stephen King (GRADE: B)

I recently finished reading Under the Dome by Stephen King.  I enjoyed reading this book; it was an incredible page turner.  I grade this book a B.

The book opens in Chester's Mill, a small town in Maine.  An invisible, almost impenetrable, glass-like dome sudden appears and encapsulates the town of Chester's Mill.  The origin of the dome is a mystery.  The book is about the people of this town--including a corrupt town selectman, the selectman's son (a homicidal maniac), a physician's assistant and his wife and two kids, a short order-ex-military cook, a small town reporter and etc. (the list of characters in this book is extensive)--and how they deal with being cut off from the rest of the world and the problems the introduction of the dome affords the townspeople.

Like most of Stephen King's books, Under the Dome is a page turner.  Under the Dome may be one of King's most engaging books to read (as you are reading it).  I ended up reading this book in about 10 days, which is pretty fast for me but I just couldn't put the book down once I got to know the characters.

Selectman Big Jim Rennie may the one of King's most heinous villain that King has every imagined.  The thing that makes Big Jim Rennie so scary is that his motives and his methods are familiar to many of us in the real world and we can relate to the feelings of helplessness when we find ourselves in the way of someone like this man.

There was very little 'horror' in this book.  I felt that it read more like a suspense novel.

The writing was very good (well, at least I thought so).  I like King's non-chalant unaffected tone when he writes.  I feel that his writing is very accessible.

The pacing was neck-breakingly fast.  Very good pacing.

I felt like King was trying to communicate that we (in the real world) are all under a dome.  Our dome just happens to be the size of a planet but it is a dome none-the-less.  We cannot leave this planet to live anywhere else in the same way that the characters could not leave chester's mill.

I don't think that it was important to King WHAT CAUSED the dome to appear but rather how people react to a situation like this and how people react to panic in particular.  King made it clear that, with the exception of the liquid propane, the riots occurred when there wasn't even a shortage.

I felt the ending was a bit sudden but I was satisfied with the ending.  It is just something that comes with reading books by King; some endings are fantastic and some endings are not-so-fantastic but that's okay. The meat of the book, the journey itself is what is more important to me as a reader, especially character development.  And I think King always does a fantastic job on character development.

Overall, I felt the book was fun to read.  It was a bit long but I didn't mind; it was about 1100 pages.  The character development was outstanding but the ending was a bit abrupt.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun (but long) book to read.  I grade this book a B.