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Under the Dome

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,422430561 (3.82)427
The small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, is faced with a big dilemma when it is mysteriously sealed off by an invisible and completely impenetrable force field. With cars and airplanes exploding on contact, the force field has completely isolated the townspeople from the outside world. Now, Iraq war vet Dale Barbara and a group of the town's more sensible citizens must overcome the tyrannical rule of Big Jim Rennie, a politician bent on controlling everything within the Dome.… (more)
  1. 342
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (tina1969)
  2. 131
    The Gunslinger by Stephen King (jlparent)
    jlparent: Actually, the whole Dark Tower series - both are epic in scale, each concerns itself with the interaction between the people caught in the crosshairs.
  3. 82
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (sturlington)
    sturlington: Undert the Dome is an adult version of Lord of the Flies.
  4. 30
    Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry (Scottneumann)
  5. 30
    Gone by Michael Grant (virginiahomeschooler)
  6. 31
    Strangers by Dean Koontz (Scottneumann)
    Scottneumann: Another book where people unite to overcome an unseen foe
  7. 20
    The Wall by Marlen Haushofer (Anonymous user)
  8. 10
    Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry (Scottneumann)
  9. 04
    El cuarto Jinete by Victor Blazquez (soyleyenda)
    soyleyenda: El estilo de Víctor Blázquez bebe mucho de Stephen King, y además, El cuarto jinete es una obra tan coral como La Cúpula y la acción transcurre en un pequeño pueblo americano muy similar al de la novela de King.

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» See also 427 mentions

English (411)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (5)  Italian (4)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (430)
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
Something in-between four and five stars; for the moment four stars, but might change to five at a later point in time.

This book is responsible for something which didn't happen to me in a long time: I was so invested in this story I actually wanted to throw this book at the wall sometimes and even tried to cry at Stephen King to finally let this character die. My reactions were mainly due to the definite division of the cast of characters into black and white ones; "Under the Dome" included nearly no grey characters, but did rather make them either rapists, villains, rowdies and murderers or innocents, likeable, 'normal' people.

I love the potential King raises by the initial situation at the very beginning of the novel - the Dome was used to tie different characters to one another, to narrate tragic fates, to weave exciting and thrilling storylines. Neither the beginning nor the ending were especially investing; it was the middle section, the characters' reactions and their behaviors which were so interesting to me as a reader. To be honest, I didn't like the ending very much, but I will delve deeper into this in the part which I marked as a spoiler.

My major complaint is how King decided to draw his characters. While some of them like Barbie, Julia, Joe and Rusty were always likeable and in general characters to root for, others like Big Jim, Carter and Junior represented the evil part of the city, and there was no one in-between them. Nearly every other supporting character was either stupid, alcohol-addicted or meth-addicted, and the ones who weren't murderers were characterized as fools. Yet, King established a very wide-colored cast in this novel, and I enjoyed reading about every single one of them. (Well, to be honest, I always caught myself eyerolling when having to read about Andy Sanders, and I always jubilated inwardly as soon as Linda Everett and Brenda Perkins came into action.)

For a detailed opinion on the characters and the plot, click the spoiler (which you should only open if you've read the book, since it will spoil nearly everything which could be spoiled about the ending):

So, the ending was in my opinion a huge disappointment, just as it probably was for many other readers. The identity of the ones who were responsible was pretty much left open to be interpretated, and the actual event itself felt underwhelming and anticlimatic. But most importantly, I would have liked to read more about the characters' reactions to the disappearance of the Dome; what would they be going to do, would they want to rebuild Chester's Mill, would they fear another Dome, how would they mourn their killed neighbours? I've read a suggestion about aliens having built the Dome in order to protect this city from a forthcoming huge natural disaster, an idea I like a lot and would have loved to see being played out. In contrast to many others, however, I didn't particularly mind the way Big Jim was killed. A fight with Barbie or Rusty in the very end would have been too obvious, but I agree that a little confrontation with Colonel Cox might have added some nice aspects to the story.

It was suspenseful to see which character was going to die and which would belong to the ones who survived in the very end. At some point in the middle of the book, I started to guess who would die during the course of the story, and I'm proud to say I guessed nearly everyone right. I didn't expect the deaths of Carolyn Surges, Benny Drake and Aidan Appleton, however, and on the other hand, I would have thought Rose Twitchell and Rusty Everett were going to die. The fact that Ollie survived after his parents committed suicide and his brother was killed in an accident was enthralling; I really warmed up to his character during the last scenes.

Speaking about the Everetts, it was nice to read about a normal family with two kids and a dog, and I'm glad every one of them (apart from the dog) survived the Dome, mostly because Linda became one of my favorite characters - the scene where she had to deal with Carter was one of my favorite ones. Meanwhile, Junior quickly became a fascinating character, whose fate I was very interested in, but I would have liked a little more complexity in his downfall. His character was very early on reduced to Junior not being himself anymore.

King did not only write some really repelling parts (a rape scene should be mentioned here; it unfortunately didn't add anything to the story and did not even see the victim dealing with the consequences), but he also angered me as a reader with the population of Chester's Mill being absolutely stupid and uninspired. The way everyone followed Big Jim reminded me a lot of Animal Farm, a comparison Lennongirl has already mentioned in her review.

A secondary observation: Stephen King used an interesting device to build up the atmosphere; every chapter was longer than the previous one in the course of the book [Ch. 1: 4 pages; Ch. 5: 20 pages; Ch. 10: 45 pages; Ch. 15: 59 pages; Ch. 20: 84 pages] before they became shorter again as the ending became closer (Ch. 25: 59 pages). I hope nobody else has already mentioned it because I was really enthusiastic to have figured it out on my own. *grin*


"Under the Dome" is a pageturner which I can recommend to every fan of King's books or thriller/dystopia/horror literature in general. It's long-winded, but it also includes many facets of emotional plotlines and characters. It's an epic story I will definitely be thinking a lot about in the near future. ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |
Not my favorite of King's. I wouldn't say it's bad, but it's just kind of annoying. I just wanted to find out what happened and didn't care about the characters, which is not the norm with Uncle Stevie. ( )
  jdiggity83 | Jun 23, 2022 |
One of the better King novels I have read. I am mildly impressed. ( )
  cmcall | Jun 21, 2022 |
When reading Stephen King, it can be challenging not to compare his "lesser" works with his outstanding ones. If another author had written Under the Dome, I would have been blown away and started searching out other books by that author. Having come from King, I found myself a bit disappointed at times. Overall, it was still an entertaining read.

While Under the Dome was terrifying, the fear came from the intense downward spiral of the residents of the town and not necessarily the dome or its origins. For me, I didn't find the same complexity of the characters that one may expect from King. I felt more like I was watching from outside than participating.

Under the Dome is dark, exploring the extent of the evil of human nature when placed in an enclosed environment and given power over those around them.

There was a lot going on here but even though Under the Dome was a monster, I never found myself bored. I love long books but for those that are looking for a succinct read - you may want to look elsewhere. ( )
  NicholeReadsWithCats | Jun 17, 2022 |
Halfway through and it's the best King book I have read in a long time. Really enjoying it!

Yes, the source of the dome is a bit hokey, but it's still the best Stephen Kind book I have read lately. I really liked it! I heard there might be a mini-series made from it. I could see that. I hope it's done well. ( )
  Carmentalie | Jun 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
Though his scenarios aren’t always plausible in strictest terms, King’s imagination, as always, yields a most satisfying yarn.
added by Christa_Josh | editKirkus Reviews (Oct 15, 2011)
It’s a fun and clear-headed fury, though. This is King humming at the height of his powers, cackling at human folly, taking childish glee in the gross-out and all the while spinning a modern fable that asks some serious questions without sounding preachy. If the fury left a few excessive typos and a dog’s name that mistakenly changes on occasion, well, these are (mostly) forgivable sins. After all, few of us can resist such nightmares and dreamscapes.
King says he started "Under the Dome" in 1976 but then "crept away from it with my tail between my legs. . . . I was terrified of screwing it up." Fortunately, he found the confidence to return to this daunting story because the result is one of his most powerful novels ever.
The King book that is most readily brought to mind by “Under the Dome” isn’t an earlier large-scale apocalyptic fantasy like “It” or “The Stand”; it’s “On Writing,” the instructive autobiographical gem that cast light on how Mr. King’s creative mind works. In the spirit of “On Writing,” “Under the Dome” takes a lucid, commonsense approach that keeps it tight and energetic from start to finish. Hard as this thing is to hoist, it’s even harder to put down.
1,100 pages of localized apocalypse from an author whose continued and slightly frenzied commerce with his muse has been one of the more enthralling spectacles in American literature.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Desmond, William OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Esparza, RaúlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Who you lookin for
What was his name
you can prob'ly find him
at the football game
it's a small town
you know what I mean
it's a small town, son
and we all support the team.
—James McMurtry
In memory of Surendra Dahyabhai Patel. We miss you, my friend.
First words
From two thousand feet, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester's Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

The small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, is faced with a big dilemma when it is mysteriously sealed off by an invisible and completely impenetrable force field. With cars and airplanes exploding on contact, the force field has completely isolated the townspeople from the outside world. Now, Iraq war vet Dale Barbara and a group of the town's more sensible citizens must overcome the tyrannical rule of Big Jim Rennie, a politician bent on controlling everything within the Dome.

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