I’m not really sure about this one. I’m a big Stephen King fan and, for me, The Stand is one of the best post-apocalyptic books I’ve ever read, and, in my opinion, one of King’s best novels. I read it first in my 20’s, and again in my 60’s. I never wanted it to end.
I was, therefore, excited to read Cell and, with my penchant for Zombie fiction, full of mouth-watering expectation.
I was a little disappointed.
The whole first half of the book.
The fast-paced and utterly believable first few chapters.
The characters. My favourites were the adorable Tom, and the wonderfully smart, brave and resilient little Alice.
The premise that mobile phones will fry your brains and that said brains are basically very sophisticated computers.
The suspense, the fear, the horror – all up to King’s usual standards.
The marvellous metaphors – “His cock swung from side to side like the pendulum of a grandfather clock on speed.”
The disturbing (but probably accurate) view of human nature – “What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.”
I didn’t’ like:
The whole (unbelievable and nonsensical) second half of the book – pretty much from the appearance of the Raggedy Man onwards.
I just didn’t believe in what they were all doing and why. I didn’t understand the motives and actions of Clay and his friends and I didn’t understand the motives and actions of the “phone-people”.
It just wasn’t believable. You suddenly see your zombified ex-wife in the middle of 8,000 other zombies. You suddenly come across your zombified son, just sitting there, in the middle of nowhere, after he has miraculously survived the massacre of thousands of his kind. Really?
Compared to other King novels I have read and enjoyed; it all felt a bit thin. Unsatisfying.
I absolutely hated the ending. I thought it was lazy. I’d bloody well pushed through the unenjoyable second half to find out what had happened to Sharon and Johnny. I think he saw Sharon (but I wasn’t sure if he imagined it) and as for poor little Johnny – well! I felt cheated. I actually flicked back and forward on my Kindle in case I had missed a few pages – I couldn’t believe it! After all that? Stephen! How could you?