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Customer Review

222 of 279 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real chore of a novel, November 22, 2010
This review is from: Under the Dome: A Novel (Paperback)
I'm quite confused by all of these glowing 5-star reviews for this book, and I wonder if this isn't another case of blind fanboyism.

There is very little I can say is redeeming about this novel. The size alone isn't the problem; if the story within it were better, the size wouldn't even be noticeable.

The story starts out interestingly enough, giving you a hook that makes you want more. The problem is, the more you read, the more of a chore it becomes. The one thing that strikes me is how one-dimensional the protagonists are. There is really very little to them...nothing about them that really makes you CARE about them. The bad guys on the other hand...

The villains of "Dome" are written in excruciating detail. Every murder, every act of vile cruelty, every lewd thought, is described in glorious detail. Thanks to the likes of "Big Jim" and his idiot son, I stopped wanting to read more of this story. They are vile people who just get worse, and there is no satisfying comeuppance for them even by the end. The whole TOWN is run by scumbag bullies, and in the end this just foreshadows the truly awful ending. What's King's message? Bullies always win?

Even King's use of language grated on me from early on. His overly familiar use of common vernacular and hick-talk...always calling generators "gennies" and using words like "beshitted" (is that even a real word?)...it smacks of an author that no longer really has to WORK to sell his novels anymore. New authors would never get away with this overly familiar style of narration...it's just lazy writing.

* SPOILERS *
Through the whole novel I was searching for that hidden thread that would tie things together and make sense of the Dome. Between religious fanatics, drug labs, secret power struggles and the military, surely there was SOMETHING that ties it all together, some shared dark secret! Nope. Aliens did it. There is no reward whatsoever for the reader trying to puzzle out the story (think "Lost"). And just when you think you've had enough of The Redneck Rennie Show and his gang of juvenile thugs, guess what? The deus-ex-aliens are teen-aged bullies too!

The ending was so unsatisfying I think that's it for me...I'm done with King. He's only a shadow of the creative talent that created "The Dead Zone." I'd give this zero stars if I could.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 23, 2010 6:30:24 PM PST
I have to agree. I've read a great deal of King's work and consider myself to be a fan. The early stuff is so much richer than this. The bad guys in this story are laughably evil that they're tiresome. They have no layers, and they constantly make decisions that even a nitwit would would plainly see is against everyone's best interests. The whole rhythm of this effort is off starting with the *endless* descriptions of people experiencing the dome going up. 200 pages into the novel and nothing's happened. It made me quite sad to read this book. King is truly driving on the rims.

Posted on Dec 13, 2010 7:23:58 AM PST
Chaos Bush says:
I agree, Under the Dome was terrible, for the reasons you said. But I hope you don't give up on King. His newest book, "Full Dark, No Stars" is really good. It's a collection of 4 stories, and I think that might be what helps it...I think these days, King is better at writing shorter stories as opposed to long novels.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 6:37:22 PM PST
J. Kirwan says:
I disagree! This was the first Stephen King book I've read, and now I've read many more. That "hick talk" pulls the book together. It wasn't an act of laziness, but a way of making you feel like someone who was there was telling it. It gives you a chance to get inside the thoughts of the town itself.

Posted on Jan 6, 2011 1:02:38 AM PST
First things first, I am a King fanboy and I disagree with the comment; I couldn't put the book down! I wanted it to NOT end, if there's such a thing. I would pretty much say this book clearly compares with The Stand. I was a bit disappointed at how Rennie met his fate, but clearly, if you read more carefully, the ending does have the common thread that pieces together all the "people vs. people" subplots in the book.

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 9:51:38 PM PST
Amy Chasek says:
I know, it just seemed like he took on an entirely new theme to write about. In all, it's classic King: pure...garbage. I've never been a huge fan, anyway. I really feel like I've wasted my time with this book. Unnecessary and just...completely disturbing rape scenes...I...wow....There's just no way to sum up in words how King has once again summed up acts of treachery and horror which could best be compared to the plot and character development found in "My Immortal". The characters are lame and one-dimensional, and nothing at all seems believable. Not the whole dome thing, but just the characters' actions. Plus, I really think King was struggling to come up with a way to make...some kind of theme that would be half-memorable. In all, he concludes the theme of this work with hot middle-aged woman/young-man sex and hurt boobies from youth....It's...disappointing to say the least. Plus, Rommie? What the heck was up with that? Really, this really should have just been a short story. Maybe he should have taken his own advice from the past. This is just way too long, and way too shallow a book to be considered anything other than a waste of time.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2011 1:26:01 PM PDT
M. C. Sample says:
I agree. This was actually the first King novel I read and the ending was super disappointing. I thought he did a good job depicting what might happen to a group of people under the circumstances, but I finished it feeling empty and lacking.

Posted on Jun 2, 2011 7:58:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2011 8:06:53 PM PDT
Red Baron says:
Warning SPOILERS THROUGHOUT
I think that it is unfair to group any one who enjoyed the book as a "blind fanboy" you set up any one who disagrees with you to be a nutter. I disagree with lot of what you wrote, but you would probably think it unkind of me to label you in some way thus making your argument automatically obsolete. I thought that the characters all of them were well designed and well executed, considering the large cast in this book that is saying something, you might think the sheer number caused him to spread him self thin, and your view is your own. The end of the book in terms of comeuppance for the bad guys was brilliantly figured by King, I am kinda scratching my head at how you missed the genius of what happens. Big Jim is in charge of his little corner of the world, at the start he has the entire town to boss and bully, as the novel goes on this number starts dwindling, in a number of different ways. He loses supporters, he kills people and his group of followers grows smaller and smaller, until his actions make him the king of his little fallout shelter with only one other person, his actions led to the situation that he finds him self in, the choices that he made led to his own demise, and the subtle and careful way in which it is orchestrated is very well done. He talks about how he vetoed something that ends up affecting his own survival, in the same way that all of his actions affected the town, and even then in his mind it is the janitors fault for not taking it upon him self to change the battery. Any way, he finds himself in a coffin of his own making with only one other person to leed, and he can not even do that, he can not co exist with one person, arguing and causing a confrontation that leads to the death of the person stranded with him. And the irony and satire in the situation is well done. The fact that Big Jim is so clever and wise that he survives that final confrontation is a testament to his true nature, but he does not understand that his nature and his actions lead directly to his own death. By killing the only person who could have helped him survive he kills him self, that is the genius in the end of this book. I am guessing here for what you might have wanted so I am admitting that I may be wrong with what I am about to say, it is what I though so understand that. But I imagined him surviving the Dome situation and then being put on trial for all the murderous and horrible actions that he took, but I am guessing that would have been even less good, it would have been like any disposed dictator on trial. Could you imagine Hitler on the stand for all his monstrous acts, he would never be able to see that what he did was wrong, same with Big Jim, or look at Saddam's trial how anti climatic was that he acted like an idiot for most of it, and then he was hung. I think that the situation that Big Jim found him self in was a fitting end for a tin pot dictator. I am not sure what you think should have happened to Big Jim, but I think that books are a lot like life, you the reader and liver do not get to dictate what happens, you can not change things in life and you can not change things in books, it was written and it's done, that is why I enjoy peoples creative visions, because I wish for better things, hope that bad things will not happen and feel emotionally for the fictional characters that live in this world. It is the writers choice to make these choices, other wise you would be the one every one complained to when they did not like your choices. I think everything in life is what you put into it, I thought this novel was very well executed and I enjoyed it. I would appreciate it if you did not just call me a blind fan boy, as deflating my cogent argument with this statement would I make you right and me wrong, but I can never argue with some one else opinion of me, especially when they do not know me. Look forwards to what you think of my comment.

Posted on Jun 9, 2011 10:01:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2011 11:43:27 AM PDT
Taylor Rand says:
The review's a bit harsh. A one-star rating should be for a disaster of a book and this is not a disastrous book.

I agree that the length is not necessarily the problem. King's notorious for taking his time - it's part of his appeal. He introduces the settings and creates characters very well.

However, here he spends too much time working familiar King ground: exaggerated folksy, patronizing descriptions of rubes' speech, hypocritical Christians, murderous businessmen, violent townies, useless police, ignorant authorities, excessive focus on "the bad guys," etc.

Under the Dome becomes very tiresome. The *evil* characters are one-dimensional, they do everything but wear black hats, laugh maniacally and twirl the ends of handle-bar mustaches. The boring *good* guys are just powerless ciphers; dying at the scene, walking into a beatdown (good work, Piper!) or being absent.

The book's a real disappointment - and several hundred pages too long. Heresy, I know, but I'm thinking now that maybe if he hadn't taken so long (300+pages and little had happened) I'd have enjoyed the story. I felt like I was trapped Under the Dome too. I was relieved to finish the book. Why had I kept on? Foolish optimism, but it's readable enough.

I'd say more of a 2.5 to 3 stars from me.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2011 12:36:15 PM PDT
I really liked this part of your review
"There is very little I can say is redeeming about this novel. The size alone isn't the problem; if the story within it were better, the size wouldn't even be noticeable."

But I think a 1 star rating is a bit harsh. Sounds more like a 2. Personally, I gave it 3. But I was very disappointed with the ending, hated it, would have hurled the book at the wall, only I was afraid it would dent the wall the book is so big! Ha ha. But, seriously, enjoyed a lot of it, but the ending was horrible. You deserve more than 5 pages about alien kids trapping humans under a dome after 1,000 pages!

Posted on Oct 12, 2011 9:14:26 AM PDT
Ken Lau says:
Some Stephen King books are strangely long and drawn out, for example, the Tommyknockers. I couldn't get past the first chapter, which involved some girl digging out a UFO or what not she found in the woods. Then there are big volume works like "IT" that are not drawn out at all, but kept going on a steady relentless pace. As for Under the Dome, I haven't read it yet because The Simpsons movie had already done this premise and even though King claimed he had being working on this story idea for years, I couldn't help but think he was inspired to finish the story idea.
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