“The idea came about this way: I came out of a hotel in New York and I saw this woman talking on her cell phone. And I thought to myself, What if she got a message over the cell phone that she couldn’t resist, and she had to kill people until somebody killed her? All the possible ramifications started bouncing around in my head like pinballs. If everybody got the same message, then everybody who had a cell phone would go crazy”.-SK
Cell for me was one of those novels that could have really, really been expansive much like The Stand. It kind of dealt with the same kind of problems…in a way. It was apocalyptic in nature and there was a heaviness that carried all the way through to the end of the book. To me that was the one thing that stuck out in Cell; the heaviness of the situation.
This novel could have been another The Stand. Easily. But I was glad that he took a worldwide disaster and minimized it to a little over 350 pages. Don’t get me wrong here; Cell would have been awesome if it was expansive as The Stand. But the compactness of it works well.
So why does Cell work:
1) Cell works because there’s another ‘what if’ situation that King thinks of. King always does a great job at bringing the ‘what if’ card to the table because the ‘what if’s’ in life are the scariest things, aren’t they? ‘What if’ a pulse sent by whomever through ALL cell phone signals turned all those that answered into mindless, murderous animals? This plot isn’t anymore crazier than a super-flu being unleashed in The Stand, is it? When King wrote this novel 2006, phones weren’t like they are now. Now they are a way of life, but ten years ago the usage and tech was growing into what we now have. Think about it: A terrorist group finds a way to jam all cell phone signals and when the phone rings and people answer it they hear a pulse and go crazy…that’s scary. I’m surprised some one or group hasn’t already tried. Maybe they have and the public just doesn’t know it. Hmmmmmmm.
2) Cell works because this book didn’t bog down within itself. King could have gotten too wordy with this novel; could have done extreme overkill. Concerning the subject matter it would have been easy to do. But I think one of the best aspects of Cell is that King didn’t go into too much back story, too much characterization. I usually love that about his novels, but he toes the line making it work here. Fast pacing seemed to work pretty well here.
3) Cell works because there was a character that I hated to see die. When Alice Maxwell is killed by those idiots in the car by the cinder block my heart fell to pieces. I think I hurt even more as she lay dying talking about things that she was remembering at certain points in her life. For me as a reader it was one of the hardest deaths in all his novels. It stayed with me for a few days.
4) Cell works because you get captivated by what’s going to happen next. That kept me turning the pages until the end. You journey with this rag tag group and you have to keep reading because you want to know how all this is going to end. And often times in the King U. these type of stories don’t end well for those involved…
5) Cell works because the Raggedy Man/President of Harvard was a dark character and force. He had the full use of telepathy, could get into places of the survivors minds to make them do things at his will. A very supernatural character. The zombies were the villains as well as the humans that were still sane, but the Raggedy Man/President of Harvard was the boss. When he came into a scene he stole it because he was such a presence. King did really well with this baddie…
Cell rings in at-3/5 (Very Good)