4.9.15

Under the Dome by Stephen King


Title: UNDER THE DOME
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Source: Owned Audiobook (Purchased at BookOutlet)
PublisherScribner
Publication Date: July 1st 2009

  Summary:
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.

Okay, I loved the television show (up until the beginning of season three and I have slowly stopped watching it) so I thought I would give the book a try. I picked up the audiobook at BookOutlet and started listening to it right away. I think what surprised me the most was how different it is from the TV show.

A lot of the beginning, the depiction of the dome coming down and who dies and how, etc. is pretty much the same. But the characters that are focused on are characterized differently in the show than in the novel. And it was weird. I think part of the problem with the TV show (now that I can look at it from both perspectives) is that it didn't follow the novel. The only change I am okay with in the TV show that didn't happen (right away) in the book was that Barbie and Julia get together so quickly -- I was glad that they did eventually because I like them together. The characters in the book have more personality, more depth, and are just generally more complex. I liked the changing perspectives and how everyone got their own voice. It was immaculately done considering just how many people King included in this.

The plot was so well developed in only a way that Stephen King could do. I thought it was well thought out and then well executed -- there was nothing "filler" or "extra" involved that made me feel like "why am I listening to this" which could have easily happened in a 37 hour audiobook. But everything made sense and I loved how some of it was told as already being concluded and then revisited to get it from that person's perspective. I thought it was very clever and I really enjoyed it. I also loved how people in the town were so concerned with surviving instead of how to ensure that they lived. I thought the fear and tension was something extremely well written on King's part.

At the end, I just was hoping for everyone to survive. And the way that it was resolved was so powerful to me. I loved everyone's stories and it was just breathtaking listening to it come to the resolution it did. Throughout the novel I just kept thinking how I couldn't stand that the antagonists always had things fall into place for them, but the way that it ended was perfect for the resolution. I also really loved that it came down to Julia; Joe's quote about how Spielberg movies always have that one smart kid that saves the day was probably my favourite part of the whole novel.

Overall: 5/5 stars. I'm trying to not be super spoiler-y here so I won't say too much more about it. It is a huge commitment to listen or read this one because it is so long, but I think it is worth it in the end.

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