In the middle of a BLM protest in Baltimore a white light flash in the sky, forming a dome to trap all inside of them and remove their contact from the rest of the world. Jamal, a wannabe journalist, gets trapped inside and gets taken care of by Marco, another protestor who had his back. Together they decide to chronicle the events that happen after the dome’s formation, including an increase in police brutality and bizzare tech they hold. They soon enlist the help of an AWOL graduate to help them get to the bottom of this operation and take the dome down.
Jamal was a very enjoyable character who throughout the novel had to face many moral struggles. I love it when characters face this with the attempt to be as good hearted as Jamal winds up. He felt very genuine as a teen character too, showing real vulnerability alongside motivation to take action and do something.
The other characters however… they were caricatures at best and things to move the plot along at worst. Take Cathrine, the AWOL graduate. She was introduced fairly late into the story, constantly felt distant to Jamal and Marco yet was tight with them, and had a lot of personality and history relevant to move the plot forward and little else. And then the villains on multiple levels also lack dimensions to feel like more than obstacles.
The plot was an engaging style of a plot, and one of my favourite kinds. The plot takes place over three days in quick succession, and I love deep plots that take the span of a short timeframe like nobody does. This was truly able to highlight the conditions inside the dome, how quickly things developed and how the sooner the dome was down the sooner they’d all be out of the woods. It’s such a great style of plot! And I want to read more like that.
But, this being an opinion I have expressed a lot nowadays with the books I read, I don’t think the characters faced enough hardships to warrant the ending they got. And with a story like this, this is tricky territory to work around. With the BLM movement being tied to this novel’s story and it being a story with the intention to encourage protest, you don’t want a book to put people off protesting. It’s tough, and I majorly respect Jackson for the message he was portraying. But his message did take priority, so that’s just how is goes.
Survive the Dome gets a score of 3.5/5. The message is right, I’ll give it that.