Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Title: Under the Dome (audio book)

Author: Stephen King

Genre/Pages/CDs:Fiction/1,074/30 CDs

Publication: Scribner Book Company; November, 2009

Audio Book: Simon & Schuster Audio; November 2009

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Source: Library

When an impenetrable dome cuts off Chester’s Mill, Maine from the world around it, the townspeople are pitted against each other in battles orchestrated not only by a local town selectman, but by a far more sinister, unknown force.

As a high school student, I positively devoured Stephen King novels–It, Needful Things, Christine, Gerald’s Game–but left the genre behind when I got to college.  More recently, I’ve taken to borrowing King’s audio books from the library–Lisey’s Story, The Cell, and now, Under the Dome.  King’s book have great characterization and imagery and a narrated audio book adds another dimension for me

The premise of the novel had a sci-fi aspect which typically isn’t my favorite genre, but King’s character’s are so expertly drawn out and engaging that I couldn’t help but to get fully invested in the story–all 30 discs worth!

I’ve noticed a quirk about myself as a reader when it comes to audio books: I tend to enjoy (most) books a bit more when I listen to them.  I was reading this book on my Kindle simultaneously to help speed the process and found the story much more riveting and tense when I was listening to it in my car.  Instead of being able to skim ahead and make sure everyone is okay, audio books force the listener to absorb every word and nuance, building suspense and anxiety.

While this book was a huge time investment, it was well worth it.  The grim picture that King drew was eye-opening.  It was disturbing to witness seemingly law-abiding citizens being so easily manipulated by an evil man during a time of crisis.  The antagonist, Jim Rennie, Sr., incited riots and panic with ease, pitting townspeople against each other.  (For a more complete story synopsis, see link above.)

Ultimately, the novel came down to the basic theme of good versus evil, with a King-eque twist: What if the evil emanates from two sources–one well-known and the other absolutely alien to us?


  1. 30 CDs?! I don’t think I could stand to listen to the same book for that long. I generally tap out at somewhere around 15 hours, haha. 😀 I’m very impressed that you made it all the way through!
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  2. You have some stamina! Even 3 CDs are too many for me.
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  3. i’ll tell you that the narrator, raul esparza, did an incredible job and his voice really lulled me! this is the longest audio book i ever listened to and i actually owe my library $10 in fines because it’s soooo overdue. i don’t know what i was thinking but from now on i’m sticking to 15 cds or less (that’s my typical yardstick).

  4. I’m glad to see your review of this book, Nat. I wrote about Stephen King this week and talked about my love for his older books. I have Under the Dome on my Kindle but you’ve convinced me to at least consider the audio. I haven’t read him in a long, long time, but this one sounds like it has some of the same themes as The Stand. I loved that book. Thanks for sharing!
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  5. I know what you mean about audio books. Sometimes I also feel like peeking at the ending to see how something is resolved. But, being “trapped” also has its good points. I tend to pay closer attention to details. The narrators generally read slower than I do, so I tend to relax more and just let it flow. I have never read and listened to the same book before so I don’t know which I would like better. I am hoping to listen to The Help though, so I guess I will figure it out then.
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  6. I know that if I had to drive more than I do than I would be more into audio books… I keep thinking I should do the audio of Anna Karennina just so I would be ‘trapped’! 🙂
    I loved Lisey’s Story – was that a pre-blog read? I couldn’t find your review.
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  7. I’ve always stayed away from King’s work, because I don’t like horror – do you think this is more sci-fi than horror, or horror with a sci-fi twist?

  8. I’ve heard so many positive reviews of this book, but I don’t think I could do the audio – it would take forever!
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  9. Yay you finished it! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it, it gives me motivation to lug my copy off my bookshelf.

    I agree with you about audiobooks. It’s a different experience. I have to cover the bottom of the last page and any time something big might happen because my eyes always wander ahead, which they can’t do with audio.

  10. I read this one over Christmas break and really enjoyed it. I felt that it was his return to how he used to write. I read all his stuff in high school and thought he was God-like.
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  11. Thanks for the review…I have this on my Kindle…just haven’t started yet.
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  12. 30 CDs. Yikes!

    One of my best audiobook experiences was also a Stephen King book. Well, one of his Bachman books. Thinner. I listened to it while driving on a long trip.
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  13. Glad you enjoyed this one–it’s such a big time investment!
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  14. I have been eyeing this one up at the book shop, but it is still in hard back and costs around £14, so I will wait patiently for it.
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  15. Like you, I kind of left King behind after college but I’ve been tempted to try this one out … when I have a free month to read it! I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
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