Ok. Under The Dome is a motherfucking page turner. It's got that classic King vibe where you want to know more about these characters and see what's going to happen to them.
Even though, the characters seem very, very familiar. What you have in Under the Dome is, at it's core, the section of The Stand that is set in Denver, if random people, instead of good people hand selected by Mother Abigale, had been stuck there.
So, since these aren't god's chosen people some of them are good, some are pure evil and most are just sheep who blow whatever way the wind blows at any given moment in time.
At the heart of the story are two primary characters - "Barbie" who is essentially a combination of Larry Underwood and Stewart Redman and "Big Jim", a used car dealer who is Randal Flag without superpowers.
They all live in a town in northern Maine. One day an invisible barrier appears that seals the town off from the rest of the world.
Lord of the Flies then ensues with Big Jim doing everything he can to turn the local townsfolk feral so that he can consolidate power and run his own personal police state. (Never mind the fact that he's so crazy he doesn't realize his own personal police state would die of starvation fairly quickly if his plan succeeded.)
Barbie is an Iraq War veteran who has been working as a short order cook in town. When the town gets sealed off President Obama orders Barbie to take over and figure out what is causing the force field and shut it down. This makes him Big Jim's sworn enemy.
(Interesting aside, Barbie gets picked by Obama because Jack Reacher, a character from the Lee Child novels, recommends him.)
As time goes on, and the town quickly starts becoming a police state, people start to take sides. Most side with Big Jim, but a chosen few side with Barbie.
All of this is rip roaring fun until we find out what has created the dome and why. Honestly, I thought "The Finger Of God" at the end of The Stand was the worst idea Stephen King could possibly come up with to end a book.
But, I had not even considered this one: It's alien children in some far off galaxy who have used their version of an XBox to torture us for fun because they think we are video game characters.
That's only topped by the way they get them to turn off the dome - they appeal to the alien kids' sense of pity. Because, you know, kids playing an intergalactic version of The Sims would really give a fuck if the non playable characters started whining at them. Hell, it would probably make the average kid try to come up with more ways to fuck with them. Have you ever heard the way kids talk on XBox Live?
But, whatever. That only takes up about 30 pages of an otherwise awesome 900 page book, so I can't complain too much about it.
All in all three to three and a half stars.