Under the Dome by Stephen King

Rating: 5

Under The Dome: A Novel

Author: Stephen King
Reader: Raul Esparza
Available on Audible.com

Special feature: Author’s Afterword read by Stephen King

Short Review: A beautiful autumn day in the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine is interrupted by a clear impenetrable dome which cuts it off from the outside world. Our story carries us along to meet a broad cast of local characters. Great reader and a captivating (but long) story.

Long Review: This massive, intricate and suspenseful novel drew me in and kept my attention from start to finish. I will admit that I am a sucker for character driven stories. I love getting to know people – learning their stories and watching their paths cross. About half-way through the story (so about fifteen hours in) I remembered this was a Stephen King novel. You have to know that he is going to take you on a wild ride. I like that there are some clear good guys and some clear bad guys, but most everyone we meet is somewhere in between (just like in the real world).

Thirty-five hours is a long time to listen to one person talk – so it was crucial they found a great reader. I feel that they did a great job. I cannot speak to the accuracy of Esparza’s accents – but I can say that I enjoyed his reading. His voices were creative enough to make character identification easy. His narration had a nice rhythm to it. Looking for a good story to listen to as you make a long distance drive? I suspect that Under the Dome could get you nearly across the country and keep you very entertained along the way. I also particularly enjoyed the afterword read by the author that shares some of the story behind the story.

There are only two things I would change. First – the MP3 CDs I listened to broke the book up by the large named sections – some as long as forty-five minutes. I usually listen to books in my car, but sometimes (especially when I am as engrossed in a book as I was in this one) I want to bring my CDs into my house to keep listening. Because of the very long sections this was basically impossible unless I was lucky enough to end my drive at the start of a new section.

The second change I would make would be to include the map of Chester’s Mill apparently included in the front of the print edition. A lot of the story depends on your mental mapping of this small town. Chester’s Mill is not just the setting – it feels like another character in the story. It would have been fabulous to be able to open up the CD case and look at the map while listening.

Overall, a big thumbs up for King’s latest effort. Not sure if this will be too scary for you? Well, I don’t love horror movies and I don’t seek out scary stories as a rule but there are a lot of not nice things in store for our merry band of small town residents. It did not give me nightmares but your mileage may vary.

Audio sample available online.


  1. Vince wrote:

    This audiobook is long read indeed (a whopping 30 discs in all, whew) but I was captivated from start to finish. Great story by King and wonderful reading by Esparza, and I enjoyed it very much thanks to your review. This site lives up to its name.

  2. John wrote:

    I really enjoyed this one too. Glad I got it from audible though so I didn’t have to deal with 30 discs!

  3. Welby wrote:

    The only complaint I’ve heard about this recording is political. King takes a number of pot-shots at George W. Bush and the right-wing. If you lean left, politically, you might feel at home. If you lean right, you may find it tedious.

  4. Alex wrote:

    This was my first Audible book and one of many King books. Loved every minute of it. And I was surprised by how fast it builds up since SK usually takes a while to set up the stage.

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