Author: Stephen King
It was like Stephen King got tired of poorly-written zombie stories and decided to craft his own. And who would doubt the guy, if he said he could pen the best post-apocalyptic book ever? He’s already done it once with The Stand, I’d have no doubt he could do it again if he put his mind to it, though this time with a little more undead and a little less religion. That’s actually exactly what he’s done here with Cell, created a Stand-lite novel that should put all other zombie stories to shame. And not because he blows the typical bloody violence out of the water or because he thinks of some crafty original way to tell the story, but because King might be the most talented author of the last 50 years, horror, sci-fi, drama or otherwise, and he shows it here.
Clay Riddell is in Boston when the shit hits the fan, miles away from his estranged wife & his beloved son. But getting back to them won’t be easy, since the world has just been turned on its head. Within minutes of an event that becomes known as The Pulse, every human who had a cell phone to their ear has lost their mind. Some run about naked, some attack anyone they find, some smash their own heads in, but they have all gone completely crazy. Clay makes his way through the now dangerous streets of Boston, meeting Tom & Alice along the way. The trio begin a journey of survival, learning more about the Pulse along the way, and noticing that the “phone crazies” don’t seem to be disjointed anymore, but rather have begun gathering together in bird-like flocks, most likely plotting something that won’t be pleasant for those few humans who were left sane.
There really are a ton of Stand connections here, and why not, since that book was such a phenomenal success and probably one of the best fiction novels ever written. And I’m dead serious, Stephen King is a genius, not only because he knows how to scare us but also because he knows how to bury subtext, how to get everyone to enjoy his books, from those looking for pure gory entertainment to those looking for deep societal themes. Cell is no different, a surface thriller above and a fascinating commentary below, laced with emotion & character that you can’t find in your local library by just browsing the shelves. I’ve read that some think this book is too light on the zombies, not horror enough, too personality driven, or that the end wasn’t spectacular. Well, it sounds like they want The Stand, and this isn’t that, but for a much shorter book with fewer topics to touch on, Cell is pretty darn close.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆