Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I wanted to read Stephen King's Cell because I saw it reviewed on some zombie fiction review site I stumbled across a few days ago(I would link, but I can't seem to find it again). Of course, having seen it in every Wal-Mart and Target over the past year, I thought it would be easy to come across, but now that I wanted it, it was nowhere. My beautiful Wife hit upon the idea of trying the Library. What a revolutionary thought! As luck would have it, it was in, so I brought it home.

Cell is the story of Clayton Riddell, and his merry band of New England Survivors after what is called the 'Pulse', a mind altering event which turns everyone who talks on cell phones into homicidal maniacs. It starts out like a Romero-esque "hide-from-the-zombies" affair, which is really quite good. Then it begins to transform as the phone-crazies start to turn into something far more ominous.

Things I liked:
  • Well thought out mechanism for creating the crisis. In one stroke, King makes me terrified to use my cell phone.
  • While graphic, King conveys the terror and insanity of the situation without bogging himself in detail, something many Zombie raconteurs seem to fall to.
  • King finally seems to have straightened out how guns work, at least a little bit. In previous tales, I was always astonished how someone who had guns in so many of his stories could know so little about how they functioned. Far fewer continuity errors in this regard than, say, the Dark Tower series.
Things I did not like:
  • While you want to mentaly file this under "Zombie" it just does not fit the mold. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but frustrating to me for some reason. The best, most interesting part of the book is at the beginning, before the phone-crazies really get going on their transformation.
  • Shorter than most King books. I estimate this only took me 9 hours to read.
  • No resolution. The end of the book is not the end of the story. Much of the threat is neutralized, but the characters are in a sort of 'out-of-plot' Limbo.
Looking at this, I have put more that I did not like than I did like. That's unfair, as it is a really good book. But, being as it does not have a genre, you would have to be in a weird mood to get the best read out of this title. I do recommend this, as Stephen King is usually a pretty safe bet for fans of survival-horror, and also, because it is shorter than most of his books, you do not have to make too big of a time investment.


Mario! said...

Finally, you're reviewing something I've read! I rather enjoyed it, although I had no idea what it was about before I read it, so the fact that it wasn't classic zombie didn't bother me.

CounterFett said...

Yeah, I tried not to have that be too much of a hangup, and the only thing that bothered me in that regard was that the beginning, where it was very "Romero" was the best part of the book.