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Cell: A Novel Hardcover – January 24, 2006
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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. --Daphne Durham
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
The twist comes when the "normies" realize that the "phoners" (aka zombies) are sort of evolving over time. They appear to be developing more sophisticated traits that are, in some cases, superior to those of normal humans. For instance, they communicate via telepathy and move around by means of levitation.
I would have liked to see this evolution idea further developed, perhaps even all the way to the point where the once inferior zombies become the next step up in human evolution, with the "normies" ultimately ending up in the same relationship as the Neanderthals may have been to Homo Sapiens. But, alas, that never happens. In fact, nothing close to that happens because King leaves readers in the lurch by not bringing the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.
I know that King often leaves the ultimate endings up to the readers' imaginations, and I appreciate that technique. But in Cell he really should have taken us a bit farther down the road, at least so we knew whether or not the "old" human programming could be rescued from some area of deep memory so some phoners could be restored to their former condition.Read more ›
Donald Gallinger is the author of The Master Planets
The editorial reviews tell you everything you need to know about the plot, so I won't repeat it here.
When I read this book I saw comparisons to two novels; one of those books is Dean Koontz's "The Taking." Although the plots are superficially the same--a trip through a nightmare world--the books are very different in style, in tone, and in the "whys" underlying them. [Depending on your point of view, by the way, you'll find King's explanation either inspired or exasperating.]
The comparisons to the zombies of George A. Romero's movies are fairly obvious, but the descriptions of human life after the Pulse, for Clay and his band of struggling "normies," and of non-human life, if you will, for the "phoners," reminded me of a more classic novel, Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend." [King has noted his admiration for Matheson in the past, and, in fact, "Cell" is dedicated to Romero and Matheson.] What scared me most about this novel, as with "Legend," was the fact that everything in the book felt like it really *could* happen here.
And that plausibility carries through to the ending. It's difficult to write an ending for a book like this one, but King managed to write one that makes sense without false optimism (as the book's prologue notes, most of America is dead by the time the book ends) *or* unnecessary pathos.
All in all, King fans will be thrilled by this book; as an added bonus, it also includes an excerpt from King's next novel, "Lisey's Story" (due out in October 2006), which I am now eagerly awaiting.
But I'm really digressing here. Back to The Cell . If you think you don't like King's "supernatural" or "horror" style, I'd urge you to give The Cell a chance. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting.
I can't say it is the best book he's written but it was still a fine read and had many of the trademarks of King's superior writing - excellent characterization, an unpredictable plot and just enough plausability to make me think, "WHat if?" What if there WERE some way to use cell phones to affect people's brains, to create insanity in our population, with results leading to the brink of civilization's collapse?
It is to King's credit that he not only raises these questions but kept me wanting to find out what happened next, to see what happened to Clayton, a guy who happens to be away from home when all hell breaks out. By the time it does, I was already intrigued by this guy, someone who was trying to figure out a way to curry his estranged wife's favor, who had the usual worries and imperfections of the average man. He was no hero, just an ordinary guy, just trying to get by, thinking about his career and the next step in his day, the usual stuff..Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Third time I've read it since it came out. First two times I read the hardback that I have when it came out. This time I read it on Kindle. Stephen King RULES!Published 1 hour ago by Carol M. Wilkins
The book was good but the end left you hanging with no second book to finish the story. What happened to his kids and his friends????Published 2 days ago by Eaglehead69
Stephen King's "Cell" is an engaging page-turner from start to finish. I found the story to be intriguing and the characters were drawn so well I could really relate to... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mizhippiegal
This is another exciting novel by King. He is a great story teller and this has all the elements that a thriller needs.Published 3 days ago by Jean E. Lawton
I ordered this book, as they are making a movie from it. I am almost certain that I order an audio book, as my eyes are not that good, and I wanted it when I go to bed. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Paul Thomas
Half way through the book I had to go to the end and see how it came out. I tend to do that when a book scares me into wanting to know who makes it out alive. In this case.... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Jean D.
Good book, not great but starts moving along early and keeps its pace to the end. Predictable throughout most of it if you’re familiar with Kings work. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Steve T.
Another excellent book by King! He did something different at the end this time and I thought that was cool!Published 15 days ago by Me