Under the Dome

I have been absent for the blog for a few weeks because I was working my way through the 1072 pages that make up Stephen King's Under the Dome. I was determined to focus solely on this bulky and get it finished before the CBS mini series started on Monday the 24th of June. Well, I met my goal and I finished Under the Dome on Sunday, the night before the mini series premiered. I carried it around with the intention of starting it for about 2 weeks before I actually dove in. I started reading on June 1st and finished it on June 23rd. Hence the lack of blogging during the month of June! Also, end of the school year is always crazy busy.
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away. 
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out. 

Sounds intriguing, right? This is one of those novels that I was lucky enough to find at a bargain outlet store for ridiculously cheap. I got the brand new hardcover for $10 - including the character cards! The character cards were a neat addition to the novel. I read through all of the cards before starting the book, which helped me form connections and follow the plot line as I read.
For such a large novel, I thought that King really kept the pace up. It just kept moving along and before I knew it I was 300 pages in... 500.. 800.. 900.. 1000.. and then it was over. I was extremely impressed with the pacing and the tone throughout the book - it wasn't so fast that it was overwhelming, but it was really easy to get swept away in the book.
King did a phenomenal job with the storytelling in this one too. It wasn't one long drawn out story, but a bunch of people experiencing the same event to form one big novel. Under the Dome follows some main characters (like Big Jim, Barbie, Julia, Junior, and Rusty), but it also follows all the minor players in Chester's Mill as well. It seemed as though everyone had a story and it was either woven into those of the main characters or given their own short life in the novel. Either way, every character almost had a main character appeal to them. Even the minor rolls were developed and enhanced throughout the novel.
The concept behind the story itself was also thought out very well. The idea of a dome encompassing a township and cutting them off from the rest of the world is creepy. Slightly end of the world apocalypse-ish, it brings the idea of being prepared for any emergency to the forefront. Not to mention the reactions of the people. When shit hits the fan, how crazy will it get?? The added element to The Dome is the idea of manipulation - there is something fishy going on and it has nothing to do with The Dome... or does it? These questions arise pretty quick and little pieces of the puzzle are revealed as the novel moves forward... just enough to keep us interested and craving answers. Deceit, manipulation, politics, religion, relationships, stereotypes, and power are all at play in this King novel. 
Many people have mentioned how "creepy" or "scary" this book was. Personally, I didn't feel that way at all. Maybe it is because I am desensitized to scary things, but in my opinion Under the Dome wasn't scary or creepy at all. It had a 'thriller' vibe, but that is because it is such an intense novel. For me, this hit more into the idea of weird science fiction. Interesting and really mysterious, but not scary. There is some typical King gore and blood, but aside from that I wasn't scared. That disappointed me, but really doesn't weigh in on my overall thoughts on the book.
Now, I've read a lot of Stephen King. Love him, in fact. He is a great author. He does have a "thing" though (in my opinion)... and that thing is endings. Sometimes his books just fizzle out and don't end strong. For me, I felt that way with Under the Dome. I have no better ideas for an ending, but I definitely wasn't blown away. For such an intense and strong book for all of its 1000 pages, the last 72 kind of just went out with a whimper for me.
Overall, regardless of the fizzled out ending, I loved this book. It was easy to read and follow -- which I wasn't so sure would happened with a 1000+ page book that needed character cards. The plot was interesting and held its power throughout the entire novel. Characters were awesome and like I said earlier, it seemed like everyone in Chester's Mill was important. The conspiracy theory aspects (as well as the small-town politics and deceit) were very interesting and quite realistic. This novel may be a bulky, but it is well worth the read. Stephen King did a great job with this one, and I would certainly recommend it to his fans and to fans of science fiction.
Oh, and I watched the first episode (more on that later into the mini series) and might I suggest strongly that you read the book first. Seriously. Read the book.

Bravo! 4 stars!

Since this was such a long book to get through, it went many places with me... here are a few of my Under the Dome reading views:
Just getting into it - 1000 pages to go!
It came along me on an afternoon that Bear was bartending
Rainy day reading on the couch
Chocolate, wine, and a bubble bath while reading
More wine.
Reading with a lakeview
...and finally finished.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

This one was on the TBR for awhile.

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