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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Stephen King of old!
This is a really good read, I have throughly enjoyed the whole thing. Menacing and edgy, makes you wonder what you would do in the same sort of situation. Stephen King can write a story about people, doing things either they didn't know they were capable of, or hoped they weren't capable of. Give it a try. Watching it on TV at the moment, and it bears hardly any...
Published 13 months ago by Bunty

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Familiar Tale Under The Dome
Under The Dome is a book of 900 pages and an effective measure of Stephen King's development since his last doorstopper 31 years ago. Where the writing in The Stand was patchy and baggy, Under The Dome is consistent and lean. The cast of characters, major and minor, is handled much more skilfully. For Stephen King fans, Under The Dome will deliver the usual rewards: we...
Published on 3 Feb 2012 by Horatio Bannister


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Stephen King of old!, 26 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Kindle Edition)
This is a really good read, I have throughly enjoyed the whole thing. Menacing and edgy, makes you wonder what you would do in the same sort of situation. Stephen King can write a story about people, doing things either they didn't know they were capable of, or hoped they weren't capable of. Give it a try. Watching it on TV at the moment, and it bears hardly any resemblance to the book, and is pretty dire. If I had seen the TV show first, I probably wouldn't have bought the book, so don't let it put you off, the book is much much better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Familiar Tale Under The Dome, 3 Feb 2012
This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
Under The Dome is a book of 900 pages and an effective measure of Stephen King's development since his last doorstopper 31 years ago. Where the writing in The Stand was patchy and baggy, Under The Dome is consistent and lean. The cast of characters, major and minor, is handled much more skilfully. For Stephen King fans, Under The Dome will deliver the usual rewards: we are held, compelled, and propelled.

Are the usual rewards enough after 40 odd novels? We've been under Stephen King's dome for 35 years and every blade of grass is familiar to us, perhaps over familiar. The town in this story is a Maine small town filled with characters who are the usual stock and trade of a King novel: the small-town-punk-bully; his easily led friends; the settled-for-too-little-brainy-liberal; the fat-ageing-honest-policeman; the malevolent-town-big-shot; the nice-guy-hero-outsider. The punk-bully and his friends deliver the same after closing time beating to our new hero as they did to Nick Andros 31 years before in The Stand. His story is repeating itself.

The characters are not very complex; they're either good or they're bad and that's about it. So wholesome and dull are the good people of the little town that one would soon be driven to desperate acts were one confined with them. Like many a Stephen King hero, Dale Barbara is colourless, but good. As usual, only the bad guys have any real nuance or character development, principally "Big Jim" Rennie who's "feelin' it" moments are a fine insight into the puffed up village Napoleon. Other black hat characters have nice turns too.

We have the oft-repeated struggle between good and evil within the dome, with an added element: the dome itself. The dome is the most interesting character in the book. Its arrival is sudden and unexplained. It is unyielding, immovable, irresistible. It is as if the town has been chosen to experience a hitherto unknown law of physics.That experience is nicely played: the alarm of the townspeople; the pragmatic acceptance; the emotional disintegration. The dome affects their lives often only slowly but the pressure builds as the the physical environment deteriorates and people unravel.

The Stand and Stephen King's latest tome are separated by three decades but, unhappily, they share a common fault: very lame endings. One can see Under The Dome's resolution coming like a smokestack in Kansas. The explanation of the dome - why need there be an explanation?! - is very silly indeed. It's our old friend deus ex machina. In Under The Dome we see both the gods and the machine. Each is absurd. That's a let down after such an investment of time.

There are parallels in the book with things that are happening in the wider world. We see religion perverted for commercial and political purposes, we see local government corruption and criminality, we see people using high office for selfish and dishonest ends, we see a struggle with the press, and all of this played out before a flock of sheep. It's no secret that Stephen King is a nice WASP liberal, but when these issues are presented in such a cartoon fashion they can seem facile. The most powerful point is simply made by the build up of pollution on the inside of the dome through the activity of the town's people. Whatever your environmental politics, the novel makes the simple point that anything pristine - welcome or not - is quickly tarnished by the muck we put into the air every day of our lives.

As a thriller, Under The Dome is OK and will involve Stephen King's fans and initiates alike. For those who have been waiting for this talented, popular and unique writer to step up a level and really shock, this will be a familiar disappointment.
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, not perfect, but still great, 24 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
I read this brick of a book in a matter of days which is saying something as I have a full-time job and not an awful lot of time on my hands... all the same I literally couldn't help myself. Stephen King is nothing if not a bloody good read!

The premise is great, well-written and spooky and there are some brilliant characters. Also for the first half of the book a kind of supernatural whodunnit is played out (Who made the dome, was it aliens, the army, something/someone else?) which I found really enjoyable. All in all I really do feel it does stand up to scrutiny when compared to his previous classics; like IT and the Tommyknockers which I feel it owes a lot. Then again (unlike some reviewers) I am not a hater of modern king, I really loved Duma Key for example.

I have but two qualms, one is the children. Now I really really feel that before Mr King next puts pen to paper (or finger to laptop) he should go out and have a talk to a real 12-18 year old of today. I say this because Kings writing of modern day children and teenagers in Under the Dome is sometimes stilted, occasionally cloying and once or twice plain bad. At it's worse King sounds similar to a middle-aged politician using 'catch-phrases' and 'hip anecdotes' and references 'things that young people like' in an embarrassing attempt to be 'down with the kids'. Maybe if King just tried less hard to use 'youth lingo' with his young characters they'd feel more natural. That aside... I did like the three main young characters even if I had to wince at their dialogue a couple of times.

Secondly, the payoff was a little disappointing. I think the idea was pretty good and the final sequence was actually pretty well written but I guess I was hoping for one final injection of fear... As is often the case (in film and in books) the monsters are always scarier when you can't quite see them, and once the evil force in Dome was revealed a lot of the fear and suspense was lost.

These criticisms out of the way I have very rarely been so easily taken hostage by a book. For the past 5 days the town and it's many inhabitants have taken over my mental landscape and I can honestly say that I actually miss them and didn't want the book to end. Setbacks aside if you like King, if you like clever sci-fi, nerve-jangling thrillers or a clever political allegory you'll love this.
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's more to King than meets the eye, 19 Nov 2009
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Mr. Christopher Lancaster "clanca1234" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
As a long term Stephen King fan, I've been of the view for some time that his best work was behind him. However, with Cell and Duma Key, he seemed to be heading back to the King that I knew and loved when he was churning out books like The Stand, The Tommyknockers and It.

It was thus with some trepidation that I started to read Under the Dome. I'd desperately wanted to like the last 'old' novel that King had published, Blaze, but found that a terrible disappointment. And the early signs weren't good with Under the Dome. There's a very daunting list of 'dramatis personae' at the start of the book, and confusion reigned as seemingly hundreds of characters were introduced in the first fifty or so pages. Whereas King has handled large number of characters very successfully before, most notably in The Stand, that relied on reasonably long chapters to introduce each new group of people. In Under the Dome, there are seemingly dozens of new characters on every page at the start, and I can see readers being put off from carrying on unless they concentrate VERY hard on keeping track of who is who.

However, get through this, and the rewards are rich. When the dome comes down on Chester's Mill, Jim Rennie, the evil second selectman of the town, quickly seizes the reins of power, and the battle for power begins. On the one side is Rennie and his henchmen; on the other, a small group of townsfolk lead by Dale Barbara, a veteran of the Iraq war who, when the dome came down, was on the verge of leaving town. What follows demonstrates superbly the fact that the crimes of the few can bring suffering to the poor, as Rennie's tyranny takes root. I got so absorbed in what was effectively the battle for the town, that it was easy to forget the main cause of the problems, and the main point of the book - that the town is under a mysterious dome, and almost completely cut off from the outside world.

King fans will love this - it's sort of a cross between Needful Things and The Tommyknockers, in my opinion. If one ignores the supernatural elements that King almost always brings to his work, the book acts as a great way of highlighting the everyday evil that can befall anybody or anywhere in time of crisis, and explores man's propensity to do wrong. In this regard, it reminded me of a latterday Lord of the Flies, and if there is any justice then it will gain King an army of new fans. Rumours of King's retirement have been written large since his near-fatal accident some years ago but, on this basis, his best work may be ahead of him. Five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it, but..., 2 Feb 2010
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L. Foster (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
....but I can see why some of the reviewers had reservations. I agree that there were far too many characters at first; I agree that the final pay-off was a bit too easy and could have had more tension, and I also agree that Stephen King could do with understanding kids better. However, it is still a great book, and one that, once I got a grip of the characters, I couldn't put down.

King creates a very dark and volatile atmosphere in a small town, one which is sealed of by the Dome. Although the speed at which the town reached anarchy was rather quick, it is possible that the same situation could occur if a town was cut off by storms or fire or earthquake. The Dome itself becomes almost ancillary to the plot - its just a way of segregating the people from the rest of the world, but King builds on the claustrophobia, grudges, petty hatreds and small town politics to create an excellent and engrossing story line. I am not trying to be all pseudo-intellectual here, not suggesting that King is using the Dome as a metaphor for societal isolation, but its what happens in the town which makes this a great read.

Still, I would have preferred the villain to have had a longer and more painful death........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King at his best, 9 Jan 2010
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Elias Luna Barrios "Elias Luna" (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
I must confess that I am a fan of Stephen King. Have read all his books and novels written to date (but those of the Dark Tower series - I am not much of a fan of that genre). Duma Key brought Mr. King back to his good old style, but Under the Dome is for me one of his best. In weight similar to the Stand, narrative to be compared to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.
Compelling contemporary literature; of fascinating narration, well written, with the speed necessary to keep one interested throughout the complete book.
Very well developed characters and scenery makes it easy to follow the different narrative plains. For my taste, a little lengthy at the end and therefore, a little weak. The habitual alien/monster characters have been replaced by a higher entity which also is study of the human nature and not just the typical monster; this twist was surprising for me and outmost enjoyable.
All in all a very interesting piece.
For what it is worse, I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars like with most books over 900 pages, 28 Sep 2014
This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
This is my first Stephen King novel, and it wont be my last. But, I just couldn't finish this book.
I got around 200 pages in, and it just felt slow, and, like with most books over 900 pages, it felt like it couldn't go anywhere.
I was really generous by giving it 200 pages to get my attention, but it just didn't. The plot was good, and I really liked the concept of it. The characters are one dimensional, and they felt really boring to read about.
The version of the book that I have is 1074 pages long, and I doubt I could get that far without giving up. I really wish that it was more fast paced.
Other reviews have said that the beginning is great, which it is, but then it slows right down at page 300, and then gets going again at page 900. I`m going to spare myself the time and the effort.
I will be reading other Stephen King books in the near future, but this one is just too long, and too slow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under The Dome, 20 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
A big fat doorstep of a book when it arrives, like many of Stephen King's previous books, he draws you in to what appears to be a familiar world on the surface, with some very strange stuff going on underneath and suddenly you are at the end, wishing the story could carry on! Fab stuff, a classic that is being hailed as his finest epic on a par with The Stand. I'm not sure I agree with the comparison; the characters in both are perfectly ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances. I think the difference is that some of the characters in Under The Dome don't behave as though the circumstances are anything other than everyday. It's a really interesting premise. I read it in a weekend (although managed to do few of the chores which needed doing around this!). Be warned, don't start this one if you have an important deadline to meet on something else or you will regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Kindle Edition)
This is a really excellent book. I was gripped from the beginning to the end - I ate through the last 5 chapters in one night, and it caused lots of late reading sessions as I could not put it down.

It is highly descriptive, engaging, and thought-provoking throughout. Highly recommended for science fiction lovers or those interested in a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 2 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
The story starts with a lot of promise but somewhere in the 800+ pages (paperback) it gets lost. King is a master of character development - he can do more to flesh out a character in 1 page than many authors can do in a whole novel. But unfortunately, that gift seems to have abandoned him on this outing. There were too many characters to really care about most of them, the hero doesn't do much of anything for a good 300 pages and the demise of the main villains was pretty anti-climactic.

The most annoying aspect of the book was the jarring use of slang. What 20-something in the year 2010 would say "mind your own beeswax"? There are also 30-something men calling each other "brother" or "pal". It felt very 1970's and clashed with the overly hip teen skaters.

There have been comparisons to The Stand but this book is really more akin to Tommyknockers. Both of those books were excellent! I recommend this for a die-hard King fan but if you haven't read his classics - The Talisman, The Stand, Dead Zone, It, Tommyknockers, etc, skip this and read those instead.
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Under the Dome
Under the Dome by Stephen King (Hardcover - 10 Nov 2009)
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