Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 420
There’s an interesting concept behind this story, but then there always is with Stephen King and, as a reader, you come to expect it. Sometimes he fails to live up to the hype, but with this book he proves that he really is the master of contemporary storytelling. Part of this comes back down to the premise – King takes the prevalence of a modern day object, the cell phone, and uses it as a narrative device to create a post-apocalyptic world where anything could happen.
Loosely speaking, then, this book follows the story of young artist Clayton Riddell – a.k.a. Clay – as he finds himself in a world that’s falling apart. After an event called ‘The Pulse‘, which he witnesses up close and personal in the middle of Boston, every time someone tries to use a phone, they lose their minds. It’s a bit like a cross between rage zombies and a glitch in the matrix, which turns people into homicidal maniacs, at least to begin with. But to say any more than that would be to give away the story line.
One of the good things, though, is that this book hooks you in right from the get-go. I’d say that it has arguably the fastest pace of any Stephen King novel, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much – when I first started reading King, I thought his work was too long-winded, but he’s got better and better as time goes on at packing a lot of detail in while keeping the action (and the story) going.
I also like the fact that this is *sort of* a zombie novel, although not really. I wasn’t sure what I expected when I picked it up, but it constantly surprised me along the way, setting my expectations higher and higher and higher. I even liked the ending, although it probably isn’t for everyone – it left a question unanswered, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. And while the characters weren’t as fleshed out as some of his others, they didn’t need to be – they still felt real, and there was no need for a complicated backstory to explain their actions. It’s the fricken end of the world, for God’s sake – no one cares who they were before the shit hit the fan.
Overall then, a great, fun read, and a good place to start if you’re new to King’s work.