Title: Under the Dome
Author: Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
Why?: Needed a book for a 4 hour plane ride
So I think I can safely say that horror is not normally my genre. I appreciate a good battle with dragons and the likes, but normally when gopher guts start spurting I have a tendency to calmly exit the building (i.e. run away screaming as fast as I can). I'm the type of person who can't handle a kid's movie because the ominous music starts playing and I'm done. I read The Passage series by Justin Cronin earlier this year and I was convinced for a week that those nasty creatures were going to jump off of my ceiling and eat me (I have an active imagination, okay?). However, I've read King's 11/22/63 twice now, and I really liked it. So I decided that if I were to pick a book to read on a four hour plane ride, why shouldn't it be a 1,200 page horror novel? (Side note: if you hate reading horror novels (or if horror novels scare you) the BEST place to read them is on a well-lit plane surrounded by a bunch of people.)
So despite the fact that in the first 50 pages or so like 20+ people died just one after the other, and there were some pretty gruesome descriptions of people's deaths (hello gopher, talking to you), I actually really enjoyed this book. The dome itself was super mysterious, and I loved it. King put so much detail into developing this dome, and making it enough of a problem that something had to be done, yet not so much of a problem that it overshadowed the "secondary" conflict. I say "secondary" because while the dome was supposedly the focus of the story, the real star of the show was the underlying theme of corruption present in society, and the fact that many people will take advantage of the situations of others in order to gain more power for themselves. Because why help others when you could be even richer and more powerful? So while the main goal was supposedly to figure out the whole dome situation, a large chunk of the story was actually about corruption and power-hungry individuals.
Honestly the thing that impressed me the most was the development of the dome. There were so many details that went into this thing. It wasn't just like "here's a dome, and *things* happen." There were logical properties to the dome that presented real problems, and a bunch of other stuff that I really can't get into without delving into spoiler territory. So just know that King really did think this whole dome thing out.
Also, slight interruption to talk about the fact that different chapters/parts focused on different characters, which allowed you to gain a fuller understanding of what was going on in the book versus just being confused because you don't remember how so-and-so is important. King acknowledges the fact that this book is super huge and makes it easier to follow along.
So here's the one thing I did hate. I can't go super deep into it without the whole spoiler thing becoming an issue, but I have an extremely large bone to pick with the ending. It was like King spent so much time developing an awesome story, and then just got to the end and didn't know how to end it. No real answers were given, and I was just left feeling super confused and insanely disappointed. I really wanted to know the reasoning/logic, but it was left really open ended and I just hated it. So beware the ending.
Overall this was a super good book, and because of it I decided to check out The Shining, which I will probably regret. If I die from sleep deprivation, you guys will know that it's because the book freaked me out way too much.
Things to watch out for: gore, sexual content, etc. I mean there's people getting chopped in half and some disturbing things happening with dead corpses (and with live people), so just be aware of that if you go to read this.