A signal known as The Pulse is released through all cellphones into the brains of everyone who uses them. This signal drives the victims insane, making them primal.
“Cell” was released in 2006. This 350-page novel is King’s unique twist on zombies. As usual, King weaves in a very intriguing story with some incredible characters as well as an extremely creepy villain, Raggedy Man.
This novel had a very fun, very exciting start. Lots of gore, lots of action, lots of suspense.
The middle of “Cell” was a bit dry for me. It had a lot of explanations that played in later, but the actual events flew by almost too quickly. King, usually a very descriptive writer, decided to give an almost synopsis-like depiction of the characters journey from place to place.
The main character and main protagonist, Clay Riddell, a striving comic artist, was leaving a meeting in Boston where his artwork for a comic called “The Dark Wanderer” (sound familiar?) was just purchased, when The Pulse happened.
Clay does not own a cellphone. He makes friends and quickly gets out of Boston and heads north in search of his son.
Clay is easy to love. He is humorous, smart, and determined. The friends he makes along the way are great too. Specifically, Jordan. Like I said, King is great with characters.
“Cell” had plenty of moments where King would slow it down and spend some time in one area, and those moments were always awesome. Gaiten Academy, where we meet Jordan, being a personal highlight for me.
Jordan is a loyal and extremely smart young boy attending Gaiten Academy. He also didn’t own a cellphone but is a computer genius of sorts. Jordan’s character quickly became a favorite of mine due to his strength, courage, and brains. His theories on the phone crazies prove to be very useful and important.
Gaiten is also where we first see the creepy torn up leader of the phone crazies: Raggedy Man.
King does what everyone knows he’s good at: describing someone who will haunt you. Raggedy Man is that someone. He is a phone crazy but seems more aware. His physical description alone is creepy as hell, but some of his actions really made his scenes scary.
The end though… WOW. King packed a HUGE punch. The whole Kashwak scene was just INSANE! Talk about going out with a bang. The last few pages could have been done differently, but overall, I actually sort of liked the cliff-hanger.
“Cell” was adapted into a movie, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, released in 2016. I watched it shortly after finishing the novel…
I wasted 97 minutes of my life.
Within the first five minutes of the film I was already angered. Changing small details that didn’t need to be changed, the effects were poor for a 21st century movie, and the acting was Cheetoh’s level cheesy.
Don’t waste your time on the movie but do read the book. The book is at least cool.
“Cell” was pretty good, it just wasn’t great. I talked to a few people who follow my Stephen King Instagram page and discussed my issues. The last 100 pages or so made it better for me.
It felt like “The Stand’s” little cousin, but not nearly as good. There were a few “Dark Tower” nods that made me smile but the novel probably could have used another 100 pages and it would have been great.
This does seem to be a novel that people either love or hate, so read it and find out for yourself.
In the end, I give “Cell” a 3 out of 5, but it is a high 3… would probably be about a 7 out of 10 if we’re getting technical.