by Stephen King
Overview (from Goodreads): Witness Stephen King’s triumphant, blood-spattered return to the genre that made him famous. Cell, the king of horror’s homage to zombie films (the book is dedicated in part to George A. Romero) is his goriest, most horrific novel in years, not to mention the most intensely paced. Casting aside his love of elaborate character and town histories and penchant for delayed gratification, King yanks readers off their feet within the first few pages; dragging them into the fray and offering no chance catch their breath until the very last page.
In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton’s estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.
Fans that have followed King from the beginning will recognize and appreciate Cell as a departure–King’s writing has not been so pure of heart and free of hang-ups in years (wrapping up his phenomenal Dark Tower series and receiving a medal from the National Book Foundation doesn’t hurt either). “Retirement” clearly suits King, and lucky for us, having nothing left to prove frees him up to write frenzied, juiced-up horror-thrillers like Cell. Stay tuned for more from the hardest-working retiree in the business with Lisey’s Story, coming in October 2006. –Daphne Durham
My Thoughts: My first foray into a King novel was decidedly a failure. I really didn’t like the book (Firestarter). I was a bit apprehensive about giving him another shot, but BookJunkieKrystal (from Books Are My Thing) was adamant that I needed to give him at least one more chance. So, she recommend King’s version of a zombie book to me (as some you know, I’m a HUGE fan of zombie fiction). Needless to say, I didn’t start Cell with an open mind.
Cell didn’t start out slow, at all. It was action right from the start, but it still took me a few chapters to get into it (I think I was about 30 or so pages in). There was so much going on in such a short period of time, but it wasn’t hard to follow King’s story. I found the quick-pace without a lot of introductory explanations helped move the book along. It was like you (the reader) figures out what the heck is going on along with the characters. I have to admit that I haven’t read many books with this type of narrative, but I liked it.
The characters were likable, but weird. The main character, Clay, talks to himself (fine, every once in a while I do too). I really loved Tom. I thought he was such an amazing character and I wish there had been more of him at the end of the book (that’s not a spoiler). I did not particularly care for Alice or Clay’s son. Alice was just a little too weird for me (carrying around a creepy baby shoe and putting her emotions in there instead of cracking). I did not understand this at all and obviously had a hard time relating to it. And Clay’s son kind of came across as stupid. Maybe I’m not correctly remembering how smart kids are at certain ages, but I thought he seemed dumber than the average bear.
Cell was scary on so many different levels. The idea that our cell phones are the root of the problem is a terrifying thought, based solely on the realization that almost everyone has a cell phone today and most of us carry it around on a regular basis (can’t leave home without it). Using a mass pulse through cell phones, as a terrorist attack, is brilliant (hopefully no one ever figures that one out or we’re all screwed). I won’t lie, while reading Cell I may have avoided my phone more than usual (to be fair, I usually don’t like to carry it around anyway).
I know what you’re wondering, have I converted to a Stephen King fan? I don’t know. If you look at mathematically, I’m straddling the fence. I need to read a few more King novels before making that particular distinction, but I am a huge fan of Cell. If you already like Stephen King or zombie books, I would highly recommend Cell. If you’re looking for a great Halloweeny read, I would recommend Cell. If you hate horror, zombie, apocalyptic type books, then I would recommend Cell (just kidding on that last group – I’d skip this one if I were you).
5 out of 5 Bookmarks = I absolutely loved this book!