Since learning to love how to read, I honestly think this may be one of my greatest achievements. It’s over 1000 pages and to be honest the plot really does warrant this length. Written in 2009 at perhaps a lull in the environmental cause, the major themes hint on both awareness of green causes, and also how shit politics/power is. For context, this was published during perhaps a lull in environmentalism, Obama was just elected president and we were in the midst of a recession. I can’t help thinking but these circumstances hindered the novel slightly, with perhaps the real world contradicting what King was trying to portray in Chester Mills.
The novel begins with a bit of a haphazard introduction to a number of different townspeople, which is written from multiple different perspectives. It does a good job of characterising and contextualising the situation, but to be honest it has book pages to burn so. The first chapters detail how the dome has impacted the towns residents immediately after coming down over the town, so we’re right into the action. Going around and listening how it directly impacts the major characters is a innovative plot device, even if it does unearth some early secrets we perhaps don’t really want to hear.
To do a proper review of this book from end to end would be a really arduous task, and you guys don’t know I’m lazy-ish yet. So to clear this up, I’m not going to spoil too much other than the basic premise… because to say a lot happens is an understatement. It really goes full Stephen King quickly after the initial sci-fi shock, and it compliments the cast of characters well. King gives you people to love, hate and all emotions in between; but there are certainly surprises along the way.
I should also say that this book has perhaps one of my favourite ever quotes from a mystery/thriller novel, “Murder is just potato chips; you can’t just stop with one”. Absolute gold of a quote that is, and you better believe I tell people about it on a daily basis.
Throughout, I honestly kept thinking about how similar the plot was to a couple of other books/films of the time; so thought it might be fair to quickly do a review of them too.
- The Simpsons Movie – A*, shouldn’t even be a question. Obviously it’s a great film.
- Gone, Michael Grant – I read this as a teenager, before naturally migrating to Stephen King. It’s a (at time of writing) 9 book series which encompasses many of the same themes and undertones; which for me detracts a little from this. Unfortunately, I kind of hold this series in higher regard, mostly due to more core themes being explored throughout.
Overall, this last point for me really does bring it down slightly. However complex, intricate and a challenge a book may be, the core plot points are the pillars which holds the “tent” up. The messages are also sometimes a bit too on the nose, and begins to feel like a lecture towards the end. For example, “If you don’t control your temper, your temper will control you”….. okay? Also shock horror, the bad guy is the Sheriff, like we haven’t seen that one before. Every character also has a tendency to remind us who they are every time they appear; oh you’re still guilty for something you did in the Iraq War Barbie? Cool. Mrs McClatchey still carrying the picture of her husband? Okay.
I would also actively discourage anyone from seeking out the TV adaption. The book is good, the adaption is crap; and it didn’t last long enough to realise the full body of the novel, so elements are rushed throughout. Seriously, please don’t give it attention.
But make up your own mind, see you in about 6 months when you’re finished! 😉
PS, I hope you like dogs