I never thought I was going to read an author of horror books, but one of my blogger friends, who is a great fan of Stephen King, wrote down a list for me with novels that I might like and not be scared of, including Under the dome. Besides, at that time everybody was reading and reviewing this book, so I was beginning to feel interested.
The premise of the book is a transparent dome whose nature is unknown which encloses Chester’s Mill and which nobody can destroy, but even though this dome itself is quite intriguing, the bulk of the story deals with what takes place inside the dome. There are a lot of characters and subplots, but the main point is that the second councilor of Chester’s Mill, Big Jim, a corrupt politician who is making a fortune by preparing and selling amphetamines, sees the dome as a unique opportunity to turn the town into his particular kingdom. But the president of the United States has decided to put Dale Barbara, a former soldier that happened to be working as a chef in a bar by the time the dome appeared, in charge of the village. Big Jim is not going to allow that, and nobody from outside the dome can stop him.
Of course, this is not an accurate summary since every character in Chester’s Mill has a vital role in the development of the novel, so we have a group of young policemen trained in a few hours by Big Jim, a journalist that is going to uncover the truth about him, a third councilor addicted to painkillers, a doctor that discovers that the gas reservoirs of the hospital have been stolen, and so on.
You get hooked on the book from the first page because all the characters are so good – or so bad – that every page is exciting: you are astonished at all the things they are doing and you look for revenge in the next pages. The evil characters are so disgusting that you mentally curse them every time they appear, which makes the read very enjoyable. There are also some bloody passages that I suppose are King’s signature, but fortunately I didn’t have nightmares with them (that’s the main reason why I don’t see terror films, nor do I read terror books) even though everything is so visual in his narrative style.
The only thing I didn’t like is the dome itself: when we finally get to know what it is, the whole thing itself is so unbelievable that you feel disappointed, but anyway, I think the author mainly wanted to address the terrestrial behavior of (disturbed) human beings rather than showing us how his excessive imagination can spoil a novel.
As long as it might look (1,000 pages), Under the dome is a book that you read really fast thanks to the thrill of every page and the appeal of every character. It is not perfect, but I won’t take that terrible ending into account and I will probably try with another book by Stephen King.