My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finally finished Under the Dome's 880 pages. What an epic, so much death and destruction, so many arseholes - King certainly enjoys writing about corrupt fools and the fools that follow them.
The novel starts with an invisible force field suddenly enclosing a small town. It traps the local cafe cook, Barbie, an ex-Iraq veteran, as he tries to flee small-town persecution. Barbie then has to deal with the local council, headed by car dealer Jim Rennie. Rennie also happens to be a major drug manufacturer and religious psycho. In real life he would be an ideal Tea Party Candidate. Unknown to Rennie, his son, Junior, is suffering major delusions and has embarked on a murder spree. Much mayhem results.
When I first started reading Under the Dome, I was struck by the distant third person it was written in, partly because I had recently read a lot of books written in first person. The distance that King stands back is a lot like watching a movie, and it did not allow me to really get to know the characters.
But what a cast of characters, it was huge. The story is told from about twenty different character's point of view, usually corrupt arseholes or the people resisting them. The fools that followed only had brief appearances as they were usually lead over cliffs. I can't help but think that King was commenting on the real world ignorance of the American electorate.
I found the novel sagged a bit in the middle. It was foreshadowed that the main character would end up in jail. I waited and waited for this to happen. Once he was in jail, other more interesting characters took over the telling of the story.
It took an awful long time to find out who made the dome and why, but that just added to the suspense - would Barbie and his mates be stopped by Rennie and his lackeys before they have a chance to get rid of the dome.
The novel posses an underlying question, are the novel's readers guilty of the same motivations as the creators of the Dome?
There is a reasonable resolution, but most of the fun is getting there.
Under the Dome is a very enjoyable science-fiction thriller that could make a great big budget mini-series.