Under the Dome: A Story of Human Horror
I have been a fan of Stephen King for years. I haven't had time to read as many of his books as I would like, although most of the collection is on my bookshelf. However, I have read a fair number and there's no doubt that he is truly the King of horror.
What struck me most about one of his most recent novels, Under the Dome, is the type of horror portrayed. King is always excellent at showing how humans are sometimes the maker of our own evil. In most of his novels, though, this is brought out through some sort of supernatural element. In IT, the townspeople of Derry commit horrible acts, but the evil living in the sewers of the town is responsible for bringing out the worst in people. In Under the Dome, the only supernatural element is the Dome itself. It descends on the town, then all on their own people begin to show their true nature.
This human element makes the entire horror more disturbing. King shows the lengths people will go to in order to survive and to get what they want. Jim Rennie is, in my opinion, one of the creepiest villains. He portrays himself as such a fantastic guy and is really conniving and cruel. Over just a short period of time, desperation transforms the town into an unrecognizable wasteland.
Of course, Under the Dome has now been turned into a television show. If you've watched the show and are considering reading the book, be prepared for quite a different experience. The show begins very similarly to the book, but it quickly deviates to become its own story. It took me a while to accept that, but eventually I began to embrace the new story. The only thing I find disappointing is the elimination of a few of the main characters. Don't let watching the show stop you from reaidng the book as they are incredibly different. After the first 100 pages or so, you will be engrossed in an entirely new story.
Under the Dome probably isn't a good pick as a first Stephen King novel. It's size alone is a bit overwhelming for a newbie. However, it is definitely a must-read King book and one I very much plan to read again. It left me thinking about it for weeks afterwards and is sure to do the same for you.
King's latest book is a sequel to one of his most famous novels, The Shining. The fact that he would write a sequel so many years after the original speaks to the popularity of The Shining and the impact of the characters. If you're looking for a great horror story, Doctor Sleep should be at the top of your list.
One of King's best books, IT is probably the reason some people are terrified of clowns. It's incredibly creepy, but completely fantastic.