Monday, March 27, 2006

Stephen King's Cell

Stephen King's CellI'm adding a new category to my site. Books. I like to read. I read a lot of Stephen King. His Dark Tower Series is fantastic. I absolutely loved how he tied the Dark Tower into so many of this other books. So, in this category, I'm going to include content (content is king) about books I've read.

On a recent flight back from Bellevue, Washington, I saw that King had a new book out. I don't remember if I'd heard about it prior to seeing it in the airport, but I picked up Stephen King's Cell.

Like most of Stephen King's books, I found that I start off slowly. It's probably me. I go though phases where I just LOVE to read. But when I start a new book, I think I'm cautious because I know it's going to take a good deal of my time and attention. And then, like with most of Stephen King's books, about 20 pages into it, I'm hooked.

In Cell, the day starts out with great news for Clay. He can't wait to share the news, but has to wait until he gets back to his Boston hotel (everything's in New England with SK). On his way back, "the end of the world" hits. It seems to be caused by cell phones. People around him started going crazy. And those people, it seemed, were all on the cell phones when "it" happened.

Was it terrorism? A glitch in the matrix?

The whole time I'm reading this book, I keep thinking how formulaic this book is. There are VERY familiar themes to other Stephen King books. The main character, Clay, "feels" like other main characters. Some of the things that happen ("the end of the world" = The Stand) feel familiar. But, man, about 20 pages in... I'm hooked. I can't put it down.

On the plane back, I read a few pages. Put the book down and hooked into my iPod and dozed. Woke up, watched a movie (Timeline... I liked it... LOVED the book). Talked to the very nice woman sitting next to me. Then read some more, not too much. I was only about 15 pages in.

All I wanted to do the next day was read the book. And the next day too. It's not TOO long (350 or so pages), but I knocked it out in about two days of reading.

You really get into the characters. Clay, Tom and Alice are all very likable. It's hard to say because, of the three main characters, I'm most like Clay in my place in life (though I don't have kids and my wife is not estranged), but I could see a reader easily personalizing any of the three. But Clay, Tom and Alice happen upon each other because they, for whatever reason (that day?), didn't have cell phones. You follow the Three Amigos through their experiences trying to cope with what's going on.

King hits you hard because as you're reading you realize that IF cell phones could be the catalyst for such a catastrophic event, how far reaching it would be. Consider that cell phone use is LOWER in the United States than in other countries.

As with much of Stephen King's work, this book isn't, to me, as much "Horror" as it is "Suspense". I'm never scared (well, IT scared the living crap out of me), but I'm always on the edge of my seat. I think it's because King's characters are so real. And their situtations, while not always believable, are... well... believable. It's like, "I'd feel that way if in that situation" or "I'd do that too". And his descriptions of the settings are always vivid -- like you're actually there.

There's nothing special about Cell but if you like Stephen King books, you'll like this one too. I did. I couldn't put it down.

And I'm considering giving up my cell phone. :)

So this was my first "review". I left a LOT out because if you're like me, you don't want most (any) of the book spoiled for you.