October 8, 2008

Cell by Stephen King

In high school, I was a Stephen King junkie. But, that was a shocking number of years ago, and I haven't read much by him in a while. For some reason, though, when I saw this book at a used book sale for a dollar, I couldn't pass it up.

Cell is a horror story about a "virus" that is spread via cell phones. At the beginning of the novel, everyone who uses a cell phone suddenly becomes essentially a zombie...fighting, killing, biting...you know, the whole "I'm a zombie, I have no higher brain functions" thing.

Since most people use cell phones these days, well, you can imagine that things weren't looking too good in this novel. Clay, an artist, was in Boston when the Pulse happened, while his family was home in Maine. He doesn't own a cell phone, so was one of the few unaffected people in the Boston area. He meets up with Tom, a man whose cell phone had been broken prior to the Pulse, and Alice, a teenager who managed to escape from her cell-phone-talking mother. The three decide to walk to Maine to try to track down Clay's family.

Of course, being Stephen King, more wackiness ensues: telepathy, hive minds, people floating on air, zombies who like elevator music, you get the idea.

I found this book to be a quick and easy read. It was difficult though not impossible to put down at night. I was especially pleased with the ending. While I won't give any spoilers, the majority of the book is driven by Clay's search against hope to find his son. I was a little worried about the ending: would Johnnie be okay in the end or not? I wasn't sure if I would be happy with a pat happy ending, but would a depressing ending be any better? I really loved how he chose to end the novel.

Would I recommend this book? I'm not sure who I'd recommend it to. If you're not an avid Stephen King reader, I'd much more highly recommend The Stand, which posits a similar end-of-the-world scenario, but was a far better book in my opinion. And if you are an avid horror or Stephen King reader, well, I probably don't have to tell you about a book that came out in 2006. But yes, if you do enjoy horror novels but somehow managed to miss Cell up to now, it is worth picking up. I'd probably give it 3.5 stars if that was an option, though I'll round up to 4 since I so enjoyed the ending.

1 comment:

  1. I am a big horror and suspense reader. I have read many Stephen King books but not this one. It is currently sitting on my bookcase collecting dust. After reading your take on it, I may have to get it out and put it on my nightstand.


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