Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Under the Dome; Stephen King - a summer readalong

 I was determined to finish this book before last night's premiere of the 13 week Under the Dome series.  I finished the book and liked most of it, but was exhausted and couldn't stay up from 10-11pm to watch it, BUT I was able to DVR it. 

I avoiding reading about the tv version until I get to watch it this weekend......just tell me, those of you who watched it....did you like the kick off of the miniseries?????

Here's and overview of the novel and some of my thoughts:

The 1,000+ page novel focuses on of the rural Maine town of Chester Mill, which is instantly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible "dome".  Trapped inside, the residents (good and evil) work both together and against one another to save their town, which is set off from the rest of the US and for that matter, the world.

What I Liked and What I Disliked:
  •  I thought it was an interesting premise for a novel, and I was hooked early on. I'm not a fan of the SF genre, but this story will make me take a closer look before rejecting something based on the genre alone.
  • The characters were fairly well drawn, especially the evil ones. Big Jim Rennie, a used car salesman and a town council bully, is the biggest of the "bad guys".  His son, Junior, isn't far behind when it comes to evil. There are dozens of characters in this novel.
  • I would have liked to see the "good guys",  Dale Barbara (AKA...Barbie) explored even deeper. He was a man who spent time in Iraq as a former Army Captain, and just can't seem to find his place after the war. He is a short-order cook in town, and he's haunted by memories of something that went terribly wrong for him in the war. When the "dome" descends on the town, the President (Obama) puts "Barbie" in charge of maintaining order. Other "good guys" in the novel are Julia Shumway, the editor of the local newspaper, a physician's assistant, and a computer wiz kid to name a few.
  • Although there are not any real elements of horror in this novel, there is a good amount of gore, as well  a couple of rape scenes, but compared to some of King's work, I would not consider this one over the top. 
  • For all the foul language, there is some humor/satire as well which I loved. King's "good versus evil" takes things a step further, extending into the political arena: democrats versus republicans, which made me chuckle.
  • The story started out fast paced and kept me turning pages and some some cases listening longer than I planned to, but then there were parts that really seemed to drag as well. 
  • Overall, there is plenty of entertainment factor in Under the Dome: people dropping like flies, political corruption, large scale drug operations, ego manics, power struggles and even religious zealots. For me though, reading about what happens when humans are isolated and how differently people react when feeling desperate was what I enjoyed the most about this novel.
  • What caused the "dome" to appear over Chester Mill?  It was somewhat silly, but actually I couldn't have come up with an alternate ending if I tried, so who am I to criticize Stephen King? 
  • Overall rating - 4/5 stars.
Are you participating in the readalong? How is it going for you. A Big Thanks to Natalie for hosting,


  1. I do like a good sf story. I did not even try to read this one, but, like you, DVR'd the first episode.

  2. I saw trailers for the movie in Melbourne and thought it looked really good.

    1. I'm still listening to the audio. I'm about halfway through. I did watch the first episode though and I'm not sure I was all that impressed. I felt it wasn't following some of the book and that always bugs me. I'm anxious to hear what others thought of it.

  3. I finished up just in time to watch part one of the mini-series and then ended up recording it because I was watching the hockey play-offs. So I haven't seen it yet either. I did like the book so I'm looking forward to comparing it to the TV version. I do read a lot of scifi and I should have figured out the reason for the dome a lot sooner than I did, there were clues.

  4. Oh, the tv show premiered last night? I've been seeing the promos and wanting to watch it. But we hardly ever watch anything when it airs anymore - we watch everything On Demand now!

    I definitely would like to read the book first but I don't see that happening this summer since I already have several big books waiting to be read for my Big Book Summer Challenge. So I may need to go ahead and watch it first.

    Glad you enjoyed it - you are inspiring me to finally read it!


    Book By Book

    Big Book Summer Challenge

  5. 1000+ pages!! Holy cow. He has written quite a few chunksters in his career hasn't he!? I just might read this one of these days.

  6. My husband read the book. I had it on audio after I listened to 11/22/63 by him but didn't get too far. He said it was pretty decent, but not as good as some of his older ones. We liked the show. I don't think it will need to go beyond the 14 show series or whatever it is.

  7. I just finished it as well! I agree, I wish we'd gotten to know Barbie and a few of the others a bit better. I did really enjoy the story. I watched the pilot too, but I was a bit disappointed by some of the changes they made. Linda and Rusty are on different sides of the dome!

  8. I agree, it did drag at times and sometimes I thought "seriously???" But overall, it was a fun ride and I love that you really didn't know who would survive.


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