Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I ever get the chance to meet Stephen King, I would walk up to him, bow my head and seek his blessings. 🙂

If there’s one author who truly knows how to weave varied characters into the most gripping nail-biting plots, it’s him. No questions about it.

If you haven’t had the chance to read this book, then I would suggest you drop everything and get yourself a copy, for you are truly missing out on an amazing piece of work.

The book takes you into the world of Chester’s Mill, where ordinary people are living their normal lives (most of them at least). Then, one day something unexpected happens — the little town finds itself trapped under an invisible shield, which would soon come to be known as ‘The Dome’. There is no way out and no way in. The next few days are filled with growing confusion, chaos and anarchy and we will see how one man instigates it all to feed his personal mission to complete domination. As ‘Scarecrow’ Joe mentions, it sure is ‘Lord of the Flies’ all over again — there a group of children, when faced with adversity, turned on each other with gruesome ruthlessness. Survival of the fittest was the rule of the day. Here,  in Chester’s Mill, the same elements are at play, but things are more stark and emotions more on edge. One after another events take place bringing out the worst in people and even those who’ve known each other all their lives, are ready to stomp and kill the other without much thought. Where does one go from here? There is no escape.

S. King creates a larger than life situation with such conviction that once you start reading you realize it is all possible. In a matter of a few hours, the calm town is transformed into a raging, terrifying hell hole. Smallest of incidents are blown out of proportion. Innate feelings–anger, want, hunger, passion, fear–all come to the surface, only to be magnified ten-folds. Unsuspecting people are thrown into situations where either they retaliate or cower and surrender to the strong. Select few take advantage of the gullibility of others and thrive on their fear and vulnerability.

James “Big Jim” Rennie — cunning, shrewd, ruthless — is probably the most well-defined character in the book. You will want to choke him with your own hands. He is intelligent, an opportunist who knows how to read people, recognize their weaknesses or strengths and predict their reactions even if they can’t. He uses this foresight to manipulate people and situations for his own advantage and succeeds in getting away with it every single time. Striking when the iron is hot and staying one step ahead of everyone, is his true motto.

There are several other characters in the book like Dale Barbara aka Barbie who will win your hearts; there would be some whom you’ll pity and some you’ll curse and I guess that’s the beauty of it all. King so involves his readers into his stories and his characters are so real, the situations so plausible that the reader is glued to his books.

Under the Dome, is definitely a huge book – all 800 (and some more) pages of it, but once you start you would not want to stop. It will carry you through the streets of Chester’s Mill, into the houses of its residents and you will experience their every emotion and live their darkest moments. For some it’s their last on the planet. Nevertheless, you will emerge out of it all oddly gratified and rejoicing for the survivors. Of course, there would also be that voice at the back of your head, wishing it had not end.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet SemataryPet Sematary by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Stephen King stated that Pet Sematary was possibly his scariest work till date, he wasn’t kidding. Believe me, it is.

Pet Sematary is the kind of story that settles in your subconscious, coming back to you night after night; haunting your dreams and making you cry out even in your sleep. Out of the few of King’s works that I have read, I found him more intensely involved in this one. There is too much depth of thought. King is at his best explaining fear and evil, examining the human psyche and how there is a thin line between sanity and insanity, between being aware of the power and seeking it out to embrace it.

There this overbearing presence of evil throughout and with every line you start expecting something to just jump out. There may be those who might not agree with me here, but Pet Sematary is definitely a day book — you read it during the day and keep it aside at night. Just don’t touch it.

The story moves ever so slowly into the unknown. Louise Creed is over his head here. He knows it and yet he can’t stop himself. The presence of the cat as sentry of the underworld is evidence of the doom that is ready to walk out through the Pet Sematary into the human world. One wrong decision and everything is destroyed. There is no turning back. Some are lucky to escape.

Off course, there are sections that you may not like. At times the characters are reminiscing too much and it stretches beyond a point of holding your interest. I did often get distracted and honestly skipped couple of paragraphs here and there. But the book is definitely worth reading and I would recommend it to others too.

Death is real and so is the desire to being your loved ones back from the other world. Pet Sematary is not so much about the cemetery itself but of the world beyond that it stands guard before, serving as a sign that reads – ‘don’t venture beyond this point.’

You enter at your own risk.

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After reading ‘salem’s Lot’ I have to say that I don’t enough words to describe my feelings regarding this book. For someone like me, who read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and loved it so much, ‘salem’s lot’ brings forth an entirely different world of vampires.

We walk through ‘salem through the eyes of the novelist Ben Mears. His past haunts him and we see him return to a town that he left as a child, to seek some relief. Yet, as we go on to read, we will see that he will find none and only end up loosing everything.

Here the sophisticated and suave Count Dracula is succeeded by someone far more cunning and ruthless – Barlow. Through almost half of the book, Barlow exists in the periphery- slinking away in the darkness. And yet he overshadows everything happening in the book. The evil that comes and resides here in ‘salem and that feeds and grows on the corruption of the human soul, is far more terrifying and alive than anything one has ever come across before.

Its a battle of good vs. evil, where the good fights a loosing battle and there are no winners in the end. While good tries to wipe out evil, it never succeeds. Evil only retreats and hides, and attacking again when good is at its most vulnerable.

There are very real characters here, living very real lives and when evil comes knocking on their doors, their doom is so inevitable that the reader is not surprised and rather takes it in their stride. And eagerly anticipates the fall of the next resident of ‘salem.

The story is a fast paced, nail-biting thriller and just plain terrifying. The way the incidents proceed the anxiety increases manifolds, till the reader is so absorbed with the story that it gets devoured in a flash.

I do confess, I have only recently started showing interest in King’s work. This must be my third book but I am glad to say that I am hooked. I am resolved to read as many of his books this year as possible and hopefully in order of their publication.

For all supernatural or vampire fiction fans, I would highly recommend ‘salem’s lot. It is a very interesting take on Bram stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and you would love every page of it. It is interesting and engaging.