Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Under The Dome

(Third time's a charm.)
I gotta admit...I liked it.

Of the few reviews that I have read of this book, I have to say, I don't think they are altogether fair.

First, this is a gargantuan book which was previously started several times. The last time Stephen King got 400+ pages in and lost the manuscript.

I have to say that for his third outing, I think he nailed it.

Second, this book was a bit of a risk for me. I like reading Stephen King's stuff as much as the next guy. But, alas, I have been disappointed in the past.

The last long book of his that I gave a try had been Duma Key, a story of a man coming to grips with the loss of his arm by retiring to Florida  He learns to paint with his remaining arm but supernatural elements have a tendency to stick to his artwork. If there's one thing I learned from that book its that it had to be 1,000 pages because the details really drive the story. Because that book thrilled me, I'm more open now to reader some his longer works. But for now, let's focus on Under The Dome.

It all takes place in a small town called Chester's Mill. A former Iraq vet turned fry cook, Dale "Barbie" Barbara, is making his way out of town because he doesn't want no trouble. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a dome quietly but forcefully encapsulates the town.

Before the dome, it was a very corrupt town. After the dome, it escalates. A selectman named Big Jim Rennie, previously a used car salesman  ran some shady deals and since the dome cut off the town he feels more empowered than before. A well-crafted villain who believes he's doing right by the town every step of the way. Those are the villains that scare me the most.

By trapping these characters in this dome, not only do you feel their struggle, but you can also see how bureaucracy suddenly transforms into neglect and a hidden dictatorship.  The dome also wreaks havoc on the environment on the inside, trapping all manner of gas and heat, making it very difficult on the inhabitants.

This novel perfectly blends Sci-fi with survival and touches of horror. Although the dome itself is otherworldly, there are still some basic rules that come with it.

1. Nothing can break the thick glass-like structure.
2. The dome disrupts some electrical devices.
3. You get a static shock when you touch the dome.
4. Even though the structure is rock solid, air can still permeate through.

There are also political overtones in what happens when the wrong people take over, masking their intentions as being for the good of the people.

But the whole driving force for me reading is the need to find out what would happen next. It kept me guessing until the very end.

One of the many things people say is that this was too long and the characters were thin. I couldn't disagree more. Each character was well-crafted, had a history. This is a common thing with king. It can either help him or harm him. Sometimes the details of just one character can go on ad nauseam. But the back story on each character was well-written to the point as if I had met them before.

Maybe its because I got a bit of a bias when sitting down with this book because I hail from a small town. But the way the town operates is a little too close to home. I wanted to escape just as much as the characters in the book.

The book was also very unpredictable. Every time I thought I got a handle on things, King would surprise me with something else.

Although I'm not ready to tackle big books like It or The Stand, I may in the future now that I know that they are rich in details and very unique.

The book is part Science Fiction/ Dystopian novel.

This book was so intriguing, it made me launch right into his next book...11/22/63.

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