My first successful find at the local thrift bookshop, and also my first Stephen King novel (after a disastrous attempt to read «Carrie» many years ago) «Cell» was a great book to familiarize myself with King’s writing. It’s one of his dystopian books that isn’t scary at all, more of an atmospheric read, which was perfect for this time of the year.
According to the blurb by Guardian on the front cover of my copy, I wouldn’t use my mobile for days after reading this book. That didn’t happen.
The event which propels civilization into its second dark age is known as The Pulse. The virus is carried by every cellular phone operating in the world. Within hours, those receiving calls will be infected.
Clayton Riddell, a young artist, knows he has to reach his son before the young boy switches on his phone. And time is running out…
Let me emphasize again how lucky I was to find an almost new copy of this book in the thrift shop! Since then, I went again to peruse the Stephen King shelf, and they do have quite a few of his novels but the rest seems to be in worse condition and mostly the books I haven’t heard about before.
WHAT I LIKED:
1 – The beginning of the book is very strong, and if I’d judge it only by the first half, I undoubtfully would give it 5 stars. The blurb summarizes the plot very well – a deadly virus is being transmitted through the cellphones, and within hours people become aggressive, attacking everyone they see. Only a handful of people, who don’t own a cell phone or were smart enough to recognize where the threat came from, were able to escape this virus and now are forced to run and hide, surviving in this foreign world.
The plot is very simple, but the feeling of dread for the first part of the book was what kept me so engaged. The fact that no one knew what was happening, and the sudden need to survive, made it even more interesting than I expected it to be.
2 – Stephen King doesn’t waste words. This book didn’t have “fillers”, and Stephen King didn’t need them to tell the story.
I’ve read so many different books in the last 3-4 years that made me skim through paragraphs and pages to get to the important bits. But not with this one, I didn’t feel like it was mandatory to read every single word on the page, but I read them anyway because it was so effortless.
3 – I’m a huge fan of zombie apocalypses! Technically, this book is not about zombies, but technicality aside – zombies and “phone-crazies” look very similar to me.
4 – This might be an unpopular opinion, but I actually really loved the ending. Can’t say too much here, as I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s say that it’s a very unusual type of ending. I don’t know if this is something that King uses often or not, but I was a big fan.
Also, if you watched the movie adaptation, and think that the ending is similar to the one in the movie, you’re wrong! *smirk*
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
1 – My only complaint is about the second half of the book, specifically how quickly the mystery about phone-crazies stopped being a mystery. The characters discovered too quickly the answers to all what? when? and how? questions. And the phone-crazies themselves stopped being scary and became somewhat weird. I kept waiting for the explanation of all that weirdness, and the one we got didn’t wasn’t very satisfactory.