Customer Reviews


562 Reviews
5 star:
 (294)
4 star:
 (113)
3 star:
 (83)
2 star:
 (42)
1 star:
 (30)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 12 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 11 months ago by Bunty

versus
4 of 4 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


‹ Previous | 1 257 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Stephen King of old!, 26 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


93 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, not perfect, but still great, 24 Nov 2009
By 
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's more to King than meets the eye, 19 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. Christopher Lancaster "clanca1234" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping!, 4 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Under the Dome (Kindle Edition)
Was on the edge of my seat/bed/feet pretty much the whole book. If ever there was a book that stole your ability to put it down, this is it. As to be expected with Stephen King, there is a rich array of the best and worst of humanity on display (quite a lot of the worst) yet you cannot help but root for the survival of the town, and the central characters, even when they make mistakes... I don't know how he does it, but Stephen King keeps ratcheting up the tension, the horrors and the casual cruelty (of fate, of humanity, of the universe...) until it hurts to keep going but you can't stop. I think this is one of his best books for keeping you awake at night! Perhaps sometimes not as rich as some of his other books in terms of character development (almost a side effect of the situation they find themselves in... not much time passes from start to finish) but satisfying nonetheless
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, 18 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 2 Aug 2010
By 
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


69 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best of king and the worst of king (in one book), 2 Dec 2009
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
Every aspect of Stephen King fleshed out into almost 900 pages.

A typical Maine town is inexplicably sealed off by a dome, trapping the residents inside. No-body understands how it arrived and what it means, the Government are unable to penetrate from outside while inside things take a very dark turn.

King uses a very large cast of characters (which are sometimes hard to keep track of) and cranks up the tension (and the body count) as within the dome, the residents need to start taking sides as previously hidden evil comes to the surface. King also uses the dome as a microcosm of society and demonstrates how quickly things change if there is an event of significance. This was more of a disaster story then horror or sci-fi in my opinion, although it has the traditional dark elements of King's writing. Oh, and strangely a couple of name checks to Lee Child's character Jack Reacher as an off-stage character in this story!

**Minor spoilers** I know he writes long books, but this felt too long, but at times surprisingly rushed. Within the Dome, things fall apart within about 24 hours and I feel that a little more common sense would have prevailed, likewise bad guy Big Jim would have waited a bit to see if the dome lifted and he would have to answer for his actions before taking power in the way he does. The whole "it's an alien experiment" thing reminded me too much of numerous Star Trek episodes where mankind was 'tested' to really engage me as an interesting concept from within King could do his stuff. But he does flesh out his characters and the advantage of the length of the book is that you do engage with them and care what happens even if the story could have been told in half the page count!

So it is over long and over indulgent, but it also works and the author's legion of fans will probably love it, and vote my review unhelpful. Personally I thought the town went bad far too quickly and it was not convincing enough. So an okay book but not a stand-out one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


53 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember when you first started reading Stephen King?, 19 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
I Loved it.

Yeah you could compare it to The Stand, and yes I kept looking for ol' "RF" to turn up somewhere, I did wonder just once if Fran or Stu were under the dome someplace but you don't have to ever think that this particular author would turn out something the same. Of course not!

I don't profess to be a book reviewer but I am quite happy to be just called a constant reader. I am not going to write a long review but a quick comment for those that might be sitting on the fence over buying the book or not.

I have had a break from Stephen King for a good few years, I just could not get into the the last six or so books and the Gunslinger series just didn't do it for me (I made it as far as the third book, I did try - I promise) So it was with great hope I pressed the buy button at Amazon for a book that had a description that reminded me of the King books I used to love to read. And I was joyously happy to find that it was exactly that.

So if you loved The Stand, or the Dead Zone or Fire Starter or if Salem's Lot still scares you a little after the lights are out then buy it, I think you wont put it down until its done just like I couldn't do!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still beats the devil, 26 Oct 2011
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
Under the Dome

The New England township of Chester Mills wakes one morning to discover that it's locked inside an impervious and mysterious barrier. Tensions begin to rise amongst the townspeople as local officials take control, and a series of grisly murders is unlikely to help matters.

This is not one of King's best, but I'll have to qualify that statement carefully. Under the Dome is typical King, an enormous, absorbing page-turner with a host of likeable (or likeably dislikeable), engaging and very American characters. I haven't sat up till the wee hours reading for a few years now but this and The Stand broke that drought comprehensively. If that were it, I'd be happy to give this a four star rating (I'm trying to ration my five star awards) without a moment's thought. But...

But, there's a couple of things something about UtD that grate a little. First off, I have always enjoyed and connected with the characters with which King peoples his novels and, as I've mentioned, UtD is peopled with the usual cast of personable characters. They are stock King-clones (farmers, librarians, university lecturers, small town police chiefs and so-on) to be sure and they are beginning to wear a little thin, but they are comforting and familiar for all that. The issue I have is with the main baddie: Big Jim Rennie, a larger than life villain, head of the town council, a used car salesman of ill repute, happy to trample friend and foe alike in day to day politicking and business and also content to take rather more murderous measures when the dome comes down. My problem is that he's just too bad. So bad in fact that he becomes a parody bad-guy who would be better off running Gotham City (or Springfield, for that matter). How he managed to end up running some fly-speck burg in Maine is beyond me and it taints the novel as a whole - well, how could it not? Rennie is pretty much the main character and the credibility of the novel suffers by association.

This objection extends beyond the man himself. As tensions in the town mount, Rennie sets up a dictatorship/police state that would have Randall Flagg shaking his head in mute appreciation. That the people of Chester Mills should, not only accept the situation but actively participate in it seems unreasonable, but that Rennie should be able to find so many thugs and bullies to man his burgeoning police force says something about King's view of his countrymen.

But, then, King avowedly wrote UtD as a political novel and, even to a reader with limited understanding of the American political landscape, it's quite clear where he was going with this. Brutally clear, in fact, because the political satire he is trying (I think) to write is not in the least subtle. Indeed UtD is pretty much a parody of the Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, Religious/Atheist, reactionary right/tolerant left division and it's obvious on which side King stands. It's good vs evil on a small town scale and there are no hanging chads in this story. I guess that works well enough for those of us who don't live within the US political system (although it feels far too black and white to me) but it seems likely that many American readers will see this as a horrendously oversimplified depiction and I would guess that perhaps half will be deeply offended by such crude parody of their sincerely held political beliefs.

Despite my objections, I'll admit to a somewhat vicarious thrill at the almost ridiculous excesses perpetrated by Rennie and his henchmen and that, of course makes the fightback by the plucky band of dope-smoking blue collar intellectuals all the more engaging. King is frequently accused of writing pulp fiction - "read it then chuck it" - to which my response is that "you say that like it's a BAD thing?". Pulp fiction, brain-candy if you will, has its place and King's strength is that he can rise head and shoulders above the threshhold below which reside the less capable but more prolific authors (who shall remain nameless). I'll admit that the explanation for the dome, revealed in the last few pages, turns out to be rather silly (to say the least) but, then, try reading some of his other stories. Are they really that much less silly than this? Really? In the final analysis, I reckon that his sense of humour (and, like all of his work, UtD includes some gloriously naughty, LoL moments of extremely black humour) and sheer story-telling ability set him well above the common herd and so, despite it's (many) faults, UtD remains classic King.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 257 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Under the Dome
Under the Dome by Stephen King (Paperback - 8 July 2010)
£6.99
In stock on September 22, 2014
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews