Cell - Stephen King

I am lucky enough to have a mother who loves to read as much as I do (it's where I got it from!) and I am also lucky enough to be able to raid her bookshelves when I am lacking something to read. Last time I visited I borrowed a pile of books. My latest read was Cell by Stephen King.

Horror, Apocalyptic Fiction
Year Published: 2006
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Rating: 3/5

Artist Clayton Riddell had been in Boston negotiating a successful deal to sell his comic book project.  His joy at finally hitting it big is shattered by an event called The Pulse which causes all those who were using their cell phones at the time of The Pulse to become zombies attacking and killing anyone in their way.  Fortunately for Clay, he does not own a cell phone.  In the panic to get out of Boston and find his way home to his wife and son in Maine, he is joined by Tom McCourt, a man he meets in the meleé immediately following The Pulse and a young girl, Alice, who they rescue from being killed by one of the “crazies.”  The story follows their terrifying journey, avoiding capture—and worse—by the “crazies” who are beginning to “flock” and are led by one they call Raggedy Man as they attempt to reach Maine and a place called Kashwak which they hope will be their salvation. 

Dear Mr King,

I have just finished reading your novel, Cell and I must say, I am very upset!

Did you really think it was appropriate to end this novel is such a way? Did you really think that your readers would appreciate such an ending? Surely not.

I must admit, it took me a while to get into this novel. I had just finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and try as I might, I couldn't focus on your story. Since you have read The Shadow of the Wind (and written a recommendation which was placed on the front cover) I am sure you understand.

But I persevered with Cell until I was really enjoying it. I found the last quarter to be full of action, suspense and twists I did not expect. I am glad to see that you aren't afraid to kill off what seem, at first, to be main characters! I really didn't see that one coming. 

I also really enjoyed the whole idea of the pulse. The idea that human brains, like computer hard drives, can be erased and then have a new "program" installed is not a new idea, but one that I find interesting nonetheless. In this case, this "reprogramming" was achieved by the use of cell phones which, when answered, emitted a "pulse". Of course those who did not have cell phones were not affected by the pulse, and therefore the division of "phone crazies" and "normies" began.

This book reminded me of The Stand in the way in which it told the story of how the survivors had to try and make their way in a world so changed. I am a fan of apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and dystopian type novels so this was right up my alley. It also had a bit of an I am Legend, feel to it. Although, in this case there were many survivors (can you believe some people still don't own cell phones? turns out they are the smart ones after all) and not only did they need to try and stay alive., but they  had to battle the "phone crazies" and they had to be weary of each other. That sad fact is only all too real.

You really did paint a sorry, yet realistic portrait of modern society and our reliance on technology.

This novel was also a refreshing take on the zombie genre, which like the vampire genre, seems to be "overdone" at the moment. Everywhere you turn there is a new vampire or zombie book, trying to break into an already flooded market. Cell, however, was different enough to keep me interested.

My only problem with this novel (besides the ending) was that you left too much unexplained. Like, where did the pulse come from? Who programmed it? Why? These are questions that you really should have answered.

As you can see, Mr King, there were things I did like about your novel. I could even live with things not being explained. Until the end. I am still in shock that you would stop the story where you did. It was almost painful. I am not sure I can forgive you for that. I think we need some time apart. I need space. I may come back to you one day, but for now I just can't bring myself to do it. We have had some good times in the past and I am very disappointed that you could do something like this. I need time to recover.

See you around,

Your sometimes fan,

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