Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Review of "Cell" by Stephen King - novel

A page turner that starts with a bang, but becomes a whimper.

Review of product: "Cell" by Stephen King - novel

Rated as 2/5 on Apr 03 2007 by Will Knott

I’ll admit that having worked in mobile telecoms, the idea of a cell phone turning people in to ghouls or zombies in a 28 Days Later (and soon 28 Weeks Later) way seemed an interesting way to create a panic. If something happens, you’l call the emergency services. If something happens on the street, you’l use your mobile phone… and become one of the infected. Silly of course, but an interesting idea.

In the 1970’s the defining moment of the disaster movie was the moment things went wrong, usually at the 20 minute mark after you get to know the main players in the disaster.In this book the main character, a young comic book artist, Clayton Riddell is introduced at 3pm (EST) having made a deal and waiting for his wife to get home around around 3:45pm so he can call her and tell her that he’s closed a major deal. At 3:03pm “the pulse” which plunges the hero in to action starts. You don’t get to know him until after the explosion start.

Then the movie quickly becomes a zombie flick, then a road movie, then “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (or “The Tommyknockers”), then a stalker type thriller with shades of “Children of the Corn”, then … It changes a lot.

Which is actually the theme of the book.

Which is part of the problem.

An aside to this is that Stephen King is turning his “Dark Tower series in to a comic book / graphic novel. This is probably why the lead is no longer a novelist. It’s also why this book is a let down. Cell looks like being this next Dark Tower…

I’ll spoil it for some people when I say that the book does not end. It stops. It ends on what could be described as a cliffhanger. It waiting for a sequel. This follows a book which has changed it’s coat so many times, almost not too sure what it wants to become, that it feels plain wrong.

The first half is brilliant and driving. Then after all the coat changes, it splutters out and crawls to a stop.

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Blogger gammagoblin said...

I liked the ending, or at least I didnt mind it. For me the book had already finised before that. The whole thing with his son was just an epilogue.

Totally agree otherwise. A great start, blood and gore which was missing from earlier books. Then it goes all voodoo, and the same old same old stephen king rehash came back.

2:00 p.m., April 07, 2007  
Blogger Garret said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:31 p.m., June 10, 2010  
Blogger Garret said...

One of my favorite books of all time because of exactly the things you are pointing out. It was fast paced, ever changing, and the ending left me feeling like I wanted to go out and scour the bookshelves for a sequel. Of course, there was none, but it's proof enough, when you want to keep reading, that it's good writing. Use your imagination and fill in the blanks. Loved it.

7:35 p.m., June 10, 2010  

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