On an entirely normal day, Chester’s Mill, Maine is suddenly blocked off from the rest of the world by an invisible dome. Planes crash into it, cars explode on impact, a gardener’s hand is severed because the dome comes down on it, and families are kept apart because they were running errands out of town. No one knows how it got there and no one knows if it will leave.
Our main characters are Dale Barbara (Barbie), an Iraq vet who is now a short order cook in town, Julia Shumway, a journalist, Big Jim Rennie, a used car salesman and the towns second selectman, and his son Junior, who has a brain tumor that he does not know about. Big Jim has a lot of pull in the town of Chester’s Mill and uses the dome as an opportunity to seize control of the town. Big Jim will stop at nothing in order to get what he wants, even murder.
There are a lot of things that work for me in this book. First, the small town. As I have said before Stephen King has a masterful ability to capture the feel of a small town. I have pretty much lived in small towns my entire life, so while I was listening to this book I kept imagining this happening in the towns I have lived. Even Big Jim made me think of a family friend…without the murder stuff.
The second thing is the characters. They all felt so real. After the dome goes up the selectman and the newly appointed police chief (the other police chief, Howard “Duke” Perkins, died after getting too close to the dome and his pacemaker explodes) decide to get Junior and some of his friends to be police officers. This end horribly, but as I was reading it I could imagine some of the guys I went to school with jumping at the opportunity to do this because of the power they would have. Big Jim is another fantastic character. I hated him so much. He is just the biggest prick. He kills two people during the story and his constant need to be in power is infuriating. He’s a great villain though. If you are a Harry Potter fan you will understand how strong of a statement I am about to make, I hated him as much as I hate Dolores Umbridge. I feel that strongly about him.
My biggest complaint about this story is the ending. The ending feels like it was sort of just thrown together and very random. It’s not a terrible ending, but it definitely felt like it wasn’t completely fleshed out compared to the rest of the story.
A fun fact about this book, King had originally started writing this story back in the 70s but decided to table it because he thought it was too big for him at the time. He started writing it again in the 2000s and published it in November of 2009. This is also a very political book, with many of the themes being pulled with some of the things he was angry with during that time period.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. The story is great as well as the characters. I have to take away from the overall score because of the ending though. Also, if you are a fan of audiobooks pick this one up. Raul Esparza does a wonderful job performing this book.
Length: 1074 pages
Favorite Quote: “He who hesitates is usually fucked!”Re
Niles’ rankings of Stephen King books:
- Mr. Mercedes
- ‘Salem’s Lot
- The Drawing of the Three
- The Shining
- Under The Dome
- End of Watch
- Dolores Claiborne
- Gerald’s Game
- Finders Keepers
- The Gunslinger
As always, if you would like to discuss anything Stephen King or horror related feel free to contact me on Twitter or Instagram @NilesHougaboom and be sure to check out The Game of Nerds for any of your other nerdy needs.