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Book Review: Under The Dome by Stephen King

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
under-the-dome-stephen-king-book-cover Stephen King is a Writer that I’ve always admired. But to be honest, he’s wrote that many books, I’ve always been unsure where to start.

That was until I watched the TV series Under The Dome, based on King’s two-book story with the same name. The copy of Under The Dome that I’m reviewing is one where the two books have been combined into one and therefore has the full story from start to finish.

My Review
Under The Dome is the masterpiece novel Stephen King. It literally took over my life for a good few weeks. At every available opportunity, I’ve found myself picking it up and reading more.

Under The Dome starts when an invisible dome descends on the sock-shaped town of Chester’s Mill, Maine in the USA. The dome is almost impenetrable, only letting through small amounts of air and water.

When the dome comes down it slices off the hand of a woman gardening. It slices a small aeroplane in half. A few cars crash into the dome, which explode on impact. The gardener, aeroplane pilot and trainee, and car drivers all die.

But for the people of Chester’s Mill this is just the start of their problems and things are going to get a hell of a lot worse.

Under The Dome has a full town cast of characters. Here are some of the characters, in alphabetical order:

  • Andrea Grinnell – local politician (Third Selectman) and addicted to prescription painkillers.
  • Andy Sanders – Local politician (First Selectman) and Pharmacist. Owner of the only drug store, which would have closed years ago, if it wasn’t for the help of Jim Rennie.
  • Colonel James Cox – In charge of the military outside of the dome.
  • Dale Barbara (Barbie) – A Iraq army veteran.
  • Duke Perkins – local Police Chief. That is until he meets his demise and is replaced by Peter Randolph.
  • Jim Rennie (Big Jim) – Local politician (Second Selectman) and a used car salesman. He also has a secret illegal business of making, selling and shipping methamphetamine.
  • Joseph McClatchey (Scarecrow Joe) – a very clever teenager. He is often with his two friends (Norrie Calvert & Benny Drake) throughout the book.
  • Julia Shumway – Owner, writer and editor of Democrat Chester’s Mill local newspaper. Has a Corgi dog named Horace.
  • Junior Rennie – Jim’s son. Revealed to have a brain tumour that nobody knows about that influences his thinking and behaviour.
  • Ollie Dinsmore – The boy who looses everyone and everything, but manages to survive.
  • Piper Libby – A Reverend who doesn’t believe in God and lives with her dog whom she loves dearly.
  • Rommie Burpee – Owner of Burpee’s Department Store.
  • Rusty (Physicians Assistant) & Linda (Police Officer) Everett – Rusty’s character is brilliant. He sees the truth because he questions everything and follows his gut feeling. But with a wife and two children he is constantly torn between doing the right thing and protecting his family.
  • Samantha (Sammy) Bushey – A girl with a difficult life, one that’s going to get more difficult with the dome in place and will lead to tragic consequences.
  • Thurston Marshall & Carolyn Sturges – Out-of-towners.

I know that I have probably missed out someone’s favourite character. If I have and you want to let others know about your favourite character, leave a comment below, giving the character’s name and a brief description.

So what actually happens in the just over a week that the dome is in place? The answer plenty including: manipulation, lies, abuse of power, crimes – looting, rape (this scene was particularly disturbing and traumatic to read, but none the less extremely well written) and murder, false allegations, the attempted cover-up of meth labs and propane use/storage, the threat of diminishing resources – people don’t know how long the dome will be in place for and how people respond to this threat, a major explosion and fire fuelled by the propane and an abundance of death.

The TV series was mediocre. I am pleased to say that the book far exceeds the TV series, being extraordinary. In this letter King explains that in the TV series the concept of the dome is the same, but the Writers have re-imagined the plot and some aspects of the characters. He states that he sees the TV series as playing out in an alternate reality.

The Under The Dome concept is brilliant. The description is superb. The characters are have been well developed and are interesting. The pacing is terrifically fast meaning that the book grips you from the first page to the very last (it’s a total of 877 pages long). Overall Under The Dome is exceptionally well written, with not a single word wasted. Well done King.

I would go as far as saying that in writing Under The Dome King has reached his pinnacle, but I don’t feel I can say this as I haven’t read any other of his works, yet.

The Story Behind The Story
Stephen King had the idea for Under The Dome over twenty-five years ago. But every time he tried to write it, he didn’t feel that he could do the story justice. Then he was involved in a car crash, where he nearly died. For a while after the accident he thought that he might never write again. When King did start writing again, albeit more slowly than before the accident, he decided to start and complete Under The Dome as he didn’t want to die with an unfinished manuscript in his desk draw.

Review soon,

Antony

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Book Review: Light by Michael Grant

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
light-michael-grant-book-cover Light is the sixth book in the Gone Series. The first book was Gone, which I have reviewed here. The second book was Hunger, which I reviewed here. The third book was Lies, which I have reviewed here. The fourth book was Plague, which I have reviewed here. The fifth book was Fear, which I have reviewed here.

In Light the barrier has become transparent and the outside world peer into the strange world of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). A world without adults and where some kids have powers. The darkness has taken a body, the child of Caine & Diana, calling herself Gaia.

Gaia is bent on bringing death and destruction; for no other reason than the fact that she’s evil. It’s the EndGame and what an awesome one it is. Some characters will live and others will die. The characters are prey being hunted by Gaia, an enemy who aims to hunt them to extinction.

Light is anything but predictable and so much happens. The plot is as we’ve come to expect from Grant, fast-paced.

Light is thrilling, captivating and a book that was so good I didn’t want it to end. A brilliant finale in the Gone Series.

The ending includes the aftermath, what happens once the barrier comes down. I’m not ashamed to say that some of the final scenes brought a tear to my eye including: Sam & Quinn getting their friendship back to how it was, the ending for the two gay characters – Edilio & Roger, what happened to Brianna (Breeze) & Dahra and Orc’s redemption.

Overall Light is the best in the Gone Series, closely followed by Lies. The Gone Series is worth reading from start to finish. Here are the books in order: Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear and Light.

Review soon,

Antony

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Book Review: Lies by Michael Grant

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
lies-michael-grant-cover Lies is the third book in the Gone Series. The first book was Gone, which I have reviewed here. The second book was Hunger, which I reviewed here.

Lies is an epic read. Kids are trapped in a Dome and without any adults. In Perdido Beach, Sam and Astrid aren’t getting on. Zil and his human crew continue their campaign against kids with powers, leading them to set a massive fire that threatens to destroy all of Perdido Beach.

Albert continues quietly with his Alberto currency and running the market. Mother Mary struggles with the responsibility of the daycare, her mental health and her upcoming fifteenth birthday.

Brittney comes back to life and digs her way out of her grave. Kids start to report sightings of a Drake, the boy with the whip hand who died in Hunger. Sam is frustrated at the council’s lack of decision and action about the Human Crew’s antics. Sam goes AWOL emotionally traumatised at the thought that Drake, who tortured him, may have returned to the land of the living.

Orsay becomes a self-proclaimed Prophetess, claiming that she can see into parents dreams outside of the barrier. She also claims to be able to predict the future. Orsay gets a protecter called Nerezza, a weird kid that nobody seems to have seen before. The council decide to spread the lie that Orsay is making up her ability to reach kid’s parents on the outside of the dome.

Meanwhile Caine and his followers have become desperate. The last straw for Caine is eating a dead kid. Caine, Dianna and his followers steal a boat to head to an island which holds the promise of food. I particularly enjoyed reading the good side of Dianna, as it added depth to her character.

As Lies continues some of the kids are start to get ill, knocking some of the kids with powers out of play at vital moments. The darkness continues to manipulate kids and events throughout the book.

Lies develops the main characters well – each having their own strengths, weaknesses and motivations. It adds in some new characters as well. Some of my favourite new characters were: Justin & Roger, Peace, Sanjit and Virtue.

As always the plot is fast-paced, mostly showing rather than telling the story. Description is sparse, but enough to give the reader a good visual. Lies gives enough of the back story, so if you haven’t read Gone or Hunger you can still enjoy it without feeling like you’re missing something. But I would still recommend that you read both of them first.

On everyone of the Gone Series books it has a quote from Stephen King ‘I love these books.’ and I completely agree with him. I love these books. Lies is a fantastic read which is available to buy on Amazon.

I can’t wait to start Plague, the next book in the Gone Series.

Review soon,

Antony



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Book Review: Hunger by Michael Grant

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
Hunger by Michael Grant Hunger is the second book in the Gone Series. The first book was Gone, which I have already reviewed here.

In Hunger by Michael Grant the kids are trapped in the dome and they’re hungry. But they’re not the only ones, the darkness is also hungry. While the kids want food, the darkness wants uranium pellets from the Nuclear Power Plant. It plans to use Caine, Diana, Drake & Co. to get the pellets and healer Lana’s abilities to create a body for its self, so that it can leave the Mineshaft.

More kids are developing powers including Duck who can sink into the ground or float into the sky and Hunter who has microwave hands. There’s a growing divide and resentment among those with powers and those without.

Like Gone, there’s some really good ideas. I particularly liked the worms with sharp teeth intentionally designed to bury through skin. The worms are territorial and that their territory happens to be the agricultural fields, full of much needed food for the kids.

In Hunger I kept an eye out for the kid from Coats who came to Perdido Beach in the beginning of Gone. No mention was made, meaning it must have been a rather annoying loose end or plot hole in Gone.

Hunger is not as fast-paced as Gone and no were near as captivating. Despite Hunger being much bigger (more pages) than Gone, the characters and storyline development disappointed me. None of the characters really showed any development in this book and it added very little to the overarching plot.

Hunger by Michael Grant is available to buy on Amazon. Lies is the next book in the Gone Series, which I will be buying because I generally like the idea behind the series, like the characters and hope it will tell more of the overarching storyline.

Review soon,

Antony



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