‘Civilization slipped into its second dark age on an unsurprising track of blood but with a speed that could not have been foreseen by even the most pessimistic futurist. By Halloween, every major city from New York to Moscow stank to the empty heavens and the world as it had been was a memory.’
The event became known as The Pulse. The virus was carried by every cell phone operating within the entire world. Within hours, those receiving calls would be infected.
A young artist Clayton Riddell realises what is happening. He flees the devastation of explosive, burning Boston, desperate to reach his son before his son switches on his little red mobile phone . . .
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 12/05/2011
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Cell’: 5 out of 5
Cell was one of the few novels by Stephen King that I hadn’t heard of. I hadn’t even heard of the movie made based on the book … that’s no real surprise considering I barely watch TV or film. I just assumed it was something he churned out and had gone under my radar. I am even guilty of reading it purely because it was shorter than Insomnia. Both book are on my book shelf and this one looked less daunting.
If King did just ‘churn it out’ the man needs to stop planning and continue churning as it was quite easily in my top three King novels. Nothing will topple (I imagine anyway) 11.22.63 from my all-time number one King novel, but Cell was getting dangerously close.
Cell has so much going for it that I’m surprised King didn’t try to get another two-hundred pages down. The opening … just wow. Easily one of the greatest openings of any book I have read in quite some time. Just how quickly everything goes from normal to apocalypse is mind-blowing.
As usual, King has a good cast of characters to tread the long, dark path that must be walked at the end of the world but, unlike other novels such as Under the Dome or The Stand, I didn’t feel as though as much world-building or character-building went into it. The Stand is famous for the first quarter or so being incredibly slow due to the amount of world and character work that goes into it. Cell suffers from none of that slowness of pace yet still feels fully-fleshed and not a bit half-arsed.
The one negative I would have to point out is how a small child seems to be a computer whiz. I know they are getting smarter and smarter these days, but for a child of Jordan’s age to be super-clued up on how programming etc. works is a bit coincidental. I know there are kids like that, but for the last kid alive to be one such kid, to be just the ticket they needed, felt like it was shoe-horned in.
The imagery was stunning, as with most King scenes of darkness and suffering. After every major happening I felt nothing could top that feeling I had … then King goes and ups the ante and I find myself not wanting to go with that thought process any more.
I cared for the main core of characters more than anything in that book, and by the main core, I mean the main three. The rest were good, but some of them didn’t seem to have the ‘Stephen King Character Creation’ in them. Jordan did as did The Head, but beyond that, they all felt like bit-part players.
That being said, their lack of development didn’t really detract from my enjoyment. If anything, I finished the book kind of wishing I could experience it again for the first time. A lot of people may disagree, but I much preferred this to The Stand. It felt like more happened in less pages.
The ending, surprisingly for me (as I am rarely keen on how he ends his books) didn’t rub me the wrong way. It left me feeling almost hopeful.
In short: fantastic book, constantly had my adrenaline pumping, would recommend to anyone to give it a go.