After the finale of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cell, his most recent release after the Dark Tower epic came to its close. Being a ridiculously avid Stephen King fan (though not his Number 1 fan, thank you very much Annie Wilkes) I am always curious to see what he’ll come up and come out with next. Stephen King’s books are sort of like coming home for me. I’ve been reading them for more than 15 years and they have been one of the few constants in this nomadic existence called my life. Even though I knew that King’s magnum opus is and always will be Roland of Gilead’s journey to the Dark Tower, I still couldn’t wait to read Cell. Simply put: I heart Stephen King.
Because I heart Stephen King, I cannot say that I was disappointed by Cell. I never know what to expect from him so it is impossible to be disappointed if you have no expectations. Still, Cell was not one of Stephen King’s most intellectual and deep of works. I like to think he was blowing off a lot of residual Dark Tower steam by writing a very straightforward zombies taking over the world through cellphones novel. Cell is, of course, just as tautly written as any King novel. The characters are well drawn and the storyline is over-the-shoulder-looking creepy. But for Mr. King it is a very simple story. Very clear cut mobile phone virus causes people on their cellphones to go crazy and turn into zombies.
Unless you are an avid King fan and after reading, almost studying the Dark Tower series like a more real version of The Bible, then you know that everything revolves around the tale of the Dark Tower. All of King’s work, all of everyone’s work. Existence tenuously balanced on breaking beams leading to The Dark Tower. In that context, Cell is just one of the offshoots of that very story. Possibly something that happens in an alternate Dark Tower reality or parallel universe to ours where the Beams are breaking and hope is lost. A parallel or alternate universe that remains inherently connected to our world in the right here right now, whose links are yet to be discovered.
Cell was not my favorite King book. But I love it because I love most everything Sai King has produced. I see the necessity of a story like Cell after The Dark Tower. I read it with gusto and had a few sleepless nights as per usual. And, as per usual, I am back to waiting for his next one. Home is something I have been forced to carry with me, and Stephen King is an integral part of that home. If nothing else, I will read Stephen King for always because as far as I am concerned, I always have.