Under the Dome – Missing Frank

If I remember correctly, when Under the Dome first came out I was working in a bookstore that no longer exists. I’ve never been a big enough King fan to pay for a hard copy of his books (even with employee discount), and as I waited for the soft cover of Under the Dome I got busy with grad school, and it just dropped off my radar. Recently, all the hype about the television show reminded me of the book.  I had an audible credit available, so I decided to listen to the book before watching the tv show. From what I have heard, I don’t think I will be wasting my time with the tv show.

There is a new series of Law & Order: UK on BBC America right now. That, plus Hell on Wheels, have all my television time wrapped up.  Any extra will be devoted to watching The Fall on Netflix. In short, since I no longer have to worry about a dissertation I now have brain space for good television, which limits my tolerance for bad television.  Really, I haven’t watched a single episode of Rizzoli & Isles this season. Posts about each of those shows will probably follow, but this one is about a book.

My feelings about Under the Dome could be summed up like this … eh.

The book certainly isn’t King’s worst, but I wouldn’t rank it among his best either. Even if you limit your best of list to King’s epic door-stopper genre, Under the Dome is just there, not fantastic, but not bad enough to really complain about either. Once you meet all the characters, which takes a good portion of time, the rest of the story is fairly predictable.

In all fairness, however, I have to admit Under the Dome had a hard row to hoe.  Because I didn’t really read it, I listened to it and, while the narrator was passable, he was no Frank Muller. Muller was the first audiobook narrator that made me pay attention to his name, and then go find other things he read. I can’t tell you any more which came first, my decision to listen to/read Stephen King & Peter Straub’s Black House, or my love of Mr. Muller’s voice. Muller’s voice and characterization are the standard by which I judge all other narrators, and while many get close, few make me want to listen and re-listen to books the way Muller does.  At one time I actually owned Black House on cassette, and when I lost one, I used an Audible credit to download it.  Even having paid for it twice, I have gotten more than my money’s worth from Muller’s recording. Seriously, go check out Muller’s narration list. I guarantee you will find something you like on there.

Black House is not such a great story that I want to listen to it over and over, it is that Muller makes me love the characters, makes me ignore the faults in the story.  Under the Dome’s narrator is fine.  He does an okay job, but he is never quite able to make me love the character’s enough to forgive the plot twists I could see coming/the canned story arcs/or King’s obligatory unnecessary sex scene. All of this is just my long way of repeating my initial review — Under the Dome, eh.

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