Review of 'Cell'

Cell by Stephen King

Clayton Riddell is just minding his own business walking down the street one day and wouldn't you know it, armageddon breaks out around him. In this case a “pulse” is transmitted over cellular phones with anyone using one becoming infected instantly becoming mindless killing machines. Obviously, things get out of hand very quickly as Clay (thankfully, cell-less) tries to make it back to see his wife and child quite some distance away. Civilization has collapsed as he travels out of the city with roving bands of survivors and “phoner refugees”. Are the “phoners” completely mindless or is there some sort of method to their supposed madness?

A disturbing yet not entirely convincing read. I thought it was a lot longer than it needed to be and I also found the supposedly “normal” characters a bit hard to relate to – Particularly when they resort to mass murder (not just once either) – No matter HOW motivated I just did not buy it. Also unconvincing is Clay's behavior towards his family (particularly his wife who is dealt with, in my opinion, quite simplistically for some reason). The ending was marginally interesting but much in keeping with the rest of the book (you knew it was building up to a climax, of course…and you can probably guess the outcome as well…). I guess I was also a bit dismayed by the predictability of the thing – I could pretty much guess what was going to happen every step of the way – Well-used cliches of this type of “end of the world” story with particular King touches (lots of horror elements like, let's see, BLOOD and GUTS).

It is, to no one's surprise, well written and fairly enjoyable but not one of King's best.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2008-06-03

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Publication Date: 2006

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