Book Review: Under the Dome

UNDER THE DOME | Stephen King
06.11.2013 (originally published 11.10.2009) | Gallery Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


The day is like every other day. The people of Chester’s Mill, Maine are going about their usual routines and enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Suddenly their world comes closing in around them, quite literally. Out of nowhere an invisible, dome-shaped, force field has shut of Chester’s Mill from the towns around them. Planes and birds come crashing in to the wall they cannot see. Human body parts and animals are severed as this dome slams down. Without any warning residents of Chester’s Mill are separated from the world outside the mysterious dome and left with a chilling reality of isolation.

When the dawn was still long hours away, bad thoughts took on flesh and began to walk. In the middle of the night thoughts became zombies.

Big Jim Rennie, the ruthless third selectman of Chester’s Mill, will stop at nothing to claim the Mill as his town and hide the nefarious drug business he has been running right under everyone’s noses. Standing in the way of Rennie’s plans is a group of rag tag residents. Dale Barbara, former Iraq veteran turned diner cook, joins forces with a Julia, the owner of the local newspaper, and Rusty, the town’s remaining medical expert to become the town’s “good guys”. The trio quickly learn who they can trust and who is taking sides with Rennie. The battle for power isn’t the only problem for Chester’s Mill. Resources aren’t going to last forever, the air quality is rapidly decreasing, and the mystery of who dropped the dome are all problems residents need to worry about. Will Barbara and his team find a way to save Chester’s Mill before Rennie destroys the town?

Give a man or woman back his self-respect, and in most cases – not all, but most – you also give back that person’s ability to think with at least some clarity.

UNDER THE DOME is not just a story of intrigue and mystery over the dome encasing Chester’s Mill. This novel is also a complex and in-depth look in to the lengths that mankind will go when forced into a trapped and apocalyptic situation. King masterfully crafts multi-dimensional characters who the reader simultaneously loathes and takes pity upon. In a novel where many may feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of residents, King creates standout characters to support this town’s journey. The backstories and present day turmoil that the Chester’s Mill residents face will play with your heart strings and even occasionally break them. For me, the story of the dome and the reasons behind why it was placed over Chester’s Mill fell second to the portrayal of characters and the supreme writing that builds this novel. At a staggering 1,000+ pages, UNDER THE DOME is no small undertaking, but a journey into the soul of mankind that I greatly urge readers to take.

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