06 March 2010

Review: Under The Dome by Stephen King

Under The Dome by Stephen King book cover
I've been procrastinating for several weeks now about writing the review for this book. So much so, that I'm now 4 book reviews behind, argh! So what's the problem then? Well, I just don't know how to capture this book in words. It was so unlike any book I've read in the last few years, I hardly know how to explain the impact it had on me as I was reading, but here goes.

I truly believe Stephen King has invented a new genre with his latest offering of Under The Dome. King started writing this book decades ago, but abandoned it, only to resume writing and finally publish at the end of last year. It's a hefty tome at close to 900 pages, and I can appreciate the undertaking and effort it must have taken to develop.

It's no secret the book is about a small town in USA, and what happens when a dome mysteriously comes down onto the town. What happens to the inhabitants within the dome and how they behave in their newfound environment is the essence of the novel. Although this seems like a simple premise, Stephen King takes it to an entirely different and almost unimaginable level.

I've never had so many 'groan out loud' moments when reading a book. So many times when I was reading in bed I stamped my feet in my doona in frustration at the way King moved the plot away from what I was hoping would happen. Just when you're hoping for a certain outcome, he rips it out from underneath you and replaces it with an undesirable outcome.

Some of the sub plots were enough to sustain an entire novel within themselves, but here they received just a few pages. The book is full of characters and King weaves his tale effortlessly, never allowing the reader to relax. In fact I felt as though my senses were assaulted and I was slapped silly, never being allowed to enjoy the direction the plot was headed. Constant cries of "noooooo" filled the bedroom into the early hours.

I must admit that I didn't really care about the reason for the dome, and didn't really believe the explanation was going to be all that impressive, so I checked my expectations in at the door on that one. However my husband was disappointed at the 'big reveal' regarding the dome, so I can understand his point, but that's not really what I believe was the main focus of the book. The dome is just a ruse to provide the environment for the characters to play out the complex and disturbing events King has spent decades planning.

The behaviours of some of the characters in the novel were quite disturbing because they demonstrated both the 'good and evil' in human beings. This book is so 'big' that I believe it should be categorised in a whole new genre of 'amplified fiction' as it is without a doubt fiction aggrandized.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

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