Get a free audiobook

Cell

A Novel
Written by: Stephen King
Narrated by: Campbell Scott
Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

On October 1st, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He's just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it. He's already picked up a gift for his long-suffering wife, and he knows just what he'll get for his boy Johnny. Why not a little treat for himself? Clay's feeling good about the future.

That changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve.

There are 193 million cell phones in the United States alone. Who doesn't have one? Stephen King's utterly gripping, gory, and fascinating novel doesn't just ask the question "Can you hear me now?" It answers it with a vengeance.

©2006 Stephen King (P)2006 Simon & Schuster

What the critics say

"King's imagining of what is more or less post-Armageddon Boston is rich, and the sociological asides made by his characters along the way...are jaunty and witty." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vicki
  • 2006-01-27

Very, very compelling

Started listening to this last night. On one hand, I do have to recognize the similarity (on the surface, at least) to The Stand, The Langoliers, The Mist -- other King stories along the same general plotline. As the clock rolled by; 11pm, midnight, 1am, 2am, I was just facinated by this story. I don't know if it is the different world we live in at this time as opposed to the last time I visited the aforementioned stories (pre-9/11, I mean) or what, but I was unable to turn away from this story. The characters are very well fleshed-out (if a bit derivative) and interesting, the pacing is great, and I sat alone in the living room with moments of goosebumps, hoping my husband would not choose 2:00 in the morning to sneak up and say "Boo!" thereby giving me a heart failure. I'm not quite half-done, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.

The narration is superb -- a bit of voice interpretation for different characters, but just enough to differentiate, not aggravating in the least. I may be alone here, but I would have sworn (!!) the narrator was REM's Michael Stipe. I know it is not, but the cadence, accent and tone are dead-on. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for my college days.... :)

If you are a King fan or not, this is a great choice. Bear in mind this would be a NC-17 rated movie, though -- not for the fainthearted or squeamish.

52 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • 2006-01-25

Entertained

Most will agree that new King doesn't stand up to old King. This is a little better than some of his newer stuff, but it begins to feel like other books. After writing so many novels and short stories, it's impossible to avoid that though. Personally, I enjoyed this book probably because I was in the mood for some violence and zombies. As far as the audiobook itself, I enjoyed the quality of it. I think the reader is perfect for it and has just the right tone for listening. Listen to a sample and judge for yourself though. Either way, a mildly entertaining Stephen King book is better than a lot of the mediocre crap out there.

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beverly
  • 2006-01-27

Wow

Campbell Scott did a masterful job of keeping me on the edge of whatever seat I happened to be sitting while listening to King's thriller. It had me from the first word to the last. If Mr. Scott wasn't available for this book, Scott Brick is the only other voice I'd have loved to hear.

King takes one of today's icons, the cell phone, and turns cell phone owners into what many of us sometimes think of them (even if we own one). Methinks that King stuck his tongue into one of his cheeks and had fun with people who have turned the world upside down: the gal who has to blab her latest intimate news in the grocery store; the guy who is so self-important that he feels that he's the only person in the theater or concert...in other word King casts a spell on cell phone users.

I give this highly entertaining piece of King's mind six stars. It's one of the best listens I've had in the last five years.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley
  • 2006-03-09

Not your father's disaster book

This book starts off as a classic King "situational" disaster book: what happens if cell phones suddenly turn everyone holding them into evil zombies?

Unlike in the other books, however, the disaster is only the engine for a bigger theme: in the face of insane, violent "flock behavior," how does a person maintain his dignity, his humanity? If insanity is the majority, what can a human do to remember what is "right"?

Throughout the book, we see example after example of the "normies"--the non-zombies who had no cell phones on the crucial day--doing what they can to reinforce and maintain the light of the human spirit in the face of utter destruction. Sometimes they fail, but more often they don't. If this is what the book is truly about, I believe it fully succeeds: especially at the end.

Many of King's earlier works ended with a final confrontation, a battle royale in which one side or the other triumphed completely, with clear winners and losers. "Cell" ends differently, but in my view this is a more realistic kind of ending, given that in a disaster of these proportions, which group wins or loses is irrelevant.

What matters, "Cell" tells us, is whether we can go on as humans in the best way we know how: that's where salvation lies. I hope that King will continue to take on these bigger themes, because his writing skills, and his prose style in particular, are certainly equal to it.

Campbell Scott was a good choice for the narrator, with a dry and ironic delivery that captured King's narrative voice quite well. The production wasn't that great, especially the noticeable edits. Still, this book is well worth a listen if you're looking for something a little more complex.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • SHEILA
  • 2008-09-06

Really wanted to love it, but

Just couldn't be drawn into it as I'd hoped. Not scary enough, not shocking enough, which is what I expect from King. Husband read hard copy and really liked it, maybe I was a bit distracted while I listened, but, still don't think I'll listen a second time. Cool concept, though. Very imaginative.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donnie B
  • 2007-12-23

Open-Ended: Such a waste

This was one of the best books I have ever listened to. This is the type of book that makes the reader imagine every word Steven King writes. I was amazed with the vivid images that were given from this book. The problem I have is with the ending. Without giving away the ending, the reader is left with choices on what happened after the end of the book, instead of letting the author make the decision. I would have rated this book a 5, but after yelling at my MP3 player upon the ending, I felt that I was risen to the point of greatness, and just fell off the cliff at the end. I give it a 4, because I was able to feel comfortable with the ending that I chose to have for this book. I just wish Steven King could have done that instead.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John M
  • 2008-06-02

Very Enjoyable

I read a lot of Stephen King in high school many years ago (the Stand being a particular favorite) but I got tired of the gore and moved on to other authors and genres. This is only the second King book I have listened to in audio format (Duma Key was the other). Overall it is a very enjoyable read and for me was just on the verge of the "can't get out of the car because I have to keep listening" category - perhaps not great, but very good.

In spite of the excellent storytelling, I actually almost stopped listening to it about 30% of the way through because the gore angle got a bit tiresome, but I persevered and was certainly rewarded when the story really got its footing. The bottom line is that nobody can tell a story like Stephen King and while certainly it was implausible, it was told so well you feel compelled to listen.

Unlike some other reviewers, I thought the ending was very good and appropriate. There aren't many ways to end an apocolyptic story and I thought it was quite satisfactory.

Like some of the other reviews I will agree that the editing of the audiobook was jarring at times - I have not heard anything like it with the other books I have listened to from Audible. It is not horrible, just annoying in about a half a dozen places.

Bottom line is that if you have liked other King books I think you will enjoy this one.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • 2009-12-09

Great start, too bad he didn't finish the book.

The Cell is an excellent idea, well written with great character development but unfortunately lacks an ending. The book ends at the perfect point for the sequel to begin, however there is no sequel. King sets us up with many different story threads and then just walks away. There were just too many unanswered questions. Maybe next time...

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • colleen
  • 2012-05-28

Gave me goosebumps.

I'm not always a fan of King but this one does the trick. This is zombie done right. Realistic plot and characters. Worth your time.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jon Harr
  • 2006-02-09

Disappointing Finish

I enjoy Mr. King's books, and this was no exception. The story was suspenseful and well-paced. I found myself looking forward to my next opportunity to listen!
Unfortunately, I don think I have ever been more disappointed by the ending of a book than I was by the abrupt and unsatisfying ending of this one. After 12 hours with these characters, the ending left me feeling a bit abandoned (perhaps even cheated?) by the author!

18 of 22 people found this review helpful