I just finished reading Under the Dome, a science fiction thriller written by the “master of horror” Stephen King. Now, let me share my thoughts about the book, hopefully without giving any spoilers. Okay, I will not tell any revealing detail about the story at all, just my thoughts. I still advise you to proceed with caution, though. 😉 Also, if you are a die-hard King fan, I apologize this early on and please don’t hate me. And if you ARE Stephen King (what are the odds!), I’m sure you could handle criticism. So, high-five! 😐
Let’s start with an admission. For the first time since Twilight (yep, I read it :/), I found myself skimming just to get through a book. What started out as a good-paced, keep-you-turning-pages-like-crazy story soon became a chore to read. It’s not only that the book was too long, but it was somehow exasperating. I hope I can explain and justify why I felt that way and trust me, I’ll try.
Some background about the book first: it is set in the fictional (?) town of Chester’s Mill where an invisible barrier suddenly appeared trapping its resident (and some out-of-towners) inside. Soon, the characters found themselves struggling both with being cut off from the rest of the world and the monstrosity that human nature could be in a Stephen King novel.
The book was hefty; I liked it, but I did not love it. Let me just say what everybody else who read the book must have thought: it’s too long! I am well aware that this is kind of a thing for the author and that his devoted fans must be okay with that, but I think it could do with a bit of trimming down. A really good book is one that gets you more hooked the more you read, not one that steadily becomes more difficult to read. As I got deeper into the book I found myself wanting to know the big surprise so desperately that I almost wanted to check Wikipedia or something. And it’s not because I was so into the mystery of this giant dome suddenly dropping out from the sky or the suspense of guessing who dies next. It’s because I found myself doubting if the final reveal will do justice to the very lengthy narrative. “Will all this be worth it?” was what I was asking myself.
The characters are another thing that I don’t really get. King is usually really good with characters and he was this time, too – with the evil ones, at least. I thought the good ones were so dull and passive that I had a hard time actually rooting for them. The evil ones, meanwhile, were just so evil that I loathed them so much. This just made me dislike the protagonists even more because they cannot seem to outsmart the villains. One by one, the characters started dying or getting raped, murdered, or jailed; the bad guys always got out without a scratch. It was painful. There was very little character development. You’d think King would care to make characters that could be smart or at least be likable, but in the end, they were just pawns in his game and they served only his purpose. What was exactly his purpose anyway?
The plot was good enough; the development was another thing. King kept wandering off in places in this one that each time I found myself getting interested, he’d saunter off in another direction. It was not grasping; it was frustrating. Also, I was really disappointed when the source of the dome was finally revealed. That was the real letdown for me.
In the spirit of fairness, there were a lot of good things about this novel, too. The environmental and political undertones, its dark humor, some good and memorable lines, the last few pages, the first few pages, and some pages in between all make the book slightly more bearable. It was, at times, a good read; engaging enough but ultimately, far from being compelling.
Stephen King often comes up with a great novel; unfortunately, this is not the case with Under the Dome.
“If you don’t control your temper, your temper will control you.”
― Stephen King, Under the Dome (one of my favorite quotes)
“God turned out to be a bunch of bad little kids playing interstellar Xbox. Isn’t that funny?”
― Stephen King, Under the Dome (my least favorite quote)
Have you read Under the Dome? What did you think about it? Did you love it or were you also a bit let down in the end? Do you agree with anything I said or do you just want to punch me in the eye for being “so wrong” in YOUR eyes?
I realize this may be an unpopular commentary about some really beloved celebrity’s work but I believe that we are all mature people here and no one needs to use the (King-coined) term “beshitted” on me. 😉
So, please do share your thoughts and sound off below. 🙂
Have a good day everyone! 🙂