Stephen King, Under the Dome

Life, I think, is too short for me to bother again with Stephen King unless I'm getting a ridiculously positive suggestion from someone I trust. At nearly 900 pages in the UK hardcover I found at Value Village, his Under the Dome is our January book club selection for Da Mook Club. I'm finished it, so it's review time here at Book Addiction. I'm not spilling any plot points because some of the guys are still reading (or are yet to start, in some cases!), as is my usual practice with these, but jeez, what the hell else is there to talk about?

The Canadian paperback version, which I noticed at Bolen Books just yesterday, includes a frontcover blurb by Lee Child claiming it to be "The best yet, by the best ever." There's plenty of overheated commentary online about Under the Dome, with plenty O folks agreeing with Child, but love a duck, I don't know why.

The bare outline: a mysterious dome comes down over the small New England town of Chester's Mill. A small amount of air and water can get through, but nothing else, and the dome (The Dome!) appears impervious to initial testing. Bad men are in positions of power. Good people are powerless. Things get worse before they get better -- but do they get better, really?

Lots of interesting details, but in 900 pages, you'd expect there to be SOME details that worked out. The plot turns over pretty rapidly, and the prose style stays out of the way, but there's so, so, so very little of what I go to fiction for. Creative writing instructors often talk about using the whole toolbox, in a longer work: if Under the Dome is the best yet by the best ever, then I guess that King's the master of using a hammer, and only a hammer. Maybe he gets things out of his hammer that no one else can -- but dude, it's still a hammer. Try a fretsaw next time.


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