Customer Review

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
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.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Dec 2009 17:29:40 GMT
J. Lesley says:
My Goodness, I was expecting to find all sorts of [....]'s to account for the holdup in posting, but no such luck. Maybe they were simply deluged with reviews and you were one of the ones who caused a system overload. Doesn't it seem as if the publishing world is in a "longer must be better" mode now? Everything I look at is 700 pages or more. This one is WAAAY over 700. By the way, it's a very good review.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jan 2010 12:43:13 GMT
I think the length of the book is artificially inflated. The pages are thick, it's hardback, and the print is pretty huge. I reckon there's a good chance it'd be about 600 pages if it was printed for grown-ups ;) I'm halfway through Don Quixote, and if it had been printed like King's book it'd probably be 3000 pages long.

Also, your review is spot on.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2010 23:10:47 GMT
Nick Brett says:
Thanks for stopping by and your comments. I suspect less time wasting in Don Q as well!

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 05:08:30 BDT
RM says:
Hi Nick, I also thought Big Jim was a little premature in taking over the town but King did have the pace in mind and (despite its length) I found his writing less meandering than usual. There were only a few times he drew me out of the story and that was when he self-indulgently reminded me that he was the writer and I was merely reading a story.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2010 21:06:09 BDT
Nick Brett says:
Thanks for your very valid comments, I'm glad you liked it. I thought it was 'okay' but it didn't wow me like I was hoping!!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2010 13:19:51 BDT
T. says:
I have to agree with yr comments KM, I kept thinking 'surley Cox would just ring the chief and Big Jim and order them to have Barbie take ove, rather than send an email frm the President' for me it was a hole that niggled at me through the story...

Posted on 4 Sep 2010 09:52:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Sep 2010 09:53:05 BDT
A. W. Wilson says:
For the first time I agree with practically every word this reviewer writes. A splendid crit. (It took me nearly 3 weeks to read, and I suppose it says something that I didn't skip a page, but soooo long)(That's the book, not the crit.)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2010 12:11:09 BDT
Nick Brett says:
Thanks (I think!), I'm having the same trouble with Rutherford's New York - it seems to be going on forever and I am reading other books inbetween chapters!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 19:51:56 GMT
bobby morrow says:
I did enjoy 'Under The Dome', even though I thought, like many here, that the town descended into chaos far too quickly. Also, 'Big Jim' was too much of a cartoon villain while 'Barbie' was a very cliched hero. Quite liked 'Junior', but for the book's vast length, few characters were really fleshed out, which does make it hard to care about them...

Also thought, again considering the size of the novel, the ending seemed surprisingly rushed. It was literally the last couple of pages!

Although SK claims to have begun the story in the 70's, I still think he pinched the basic idea from 'The Simpson's Movie'!

Despite my somewhat negative remarks, King is still one of the best, and his flair for unflinching horror and spiteful humour remain intact. Apart from 'Cell', that is. What a stinker that book was!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 23:50:57 GMT
Nick Brett says:
Thanks for stopping by. This could have been quit a tight and tense book at half the size. And I agree about "Cell" it was lazy, lazy writing....!
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Review Details



Nick Brett

Location: Wiltshire, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 499