Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cell” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.65  ·  Rating details ·  183,836 ratings  ·  5,762 reviews

On October 1, 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
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Scribner (first published 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cell, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alexander Marinov Actually I find it interesting. Usually the reader knows the whole background of the story. Or, at least, he knows much more than the characters in…moreActually I find it interesting. Usually the reader knows the whole background of the story. Or, at least, he knows much more than the characters in the book. In "Cell" the reader knows as little as the characters - pretty much nothing. I was feeling like a member of the company, not knowing what the big picture is, how strong the enemy actually is. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  183,836 ratings  ·  5,762 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Cell
Leah Williams
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Literary critics can moan all they want about Stephen King's "penny dreadful" oeuvre, but his mastery at the craft of storytelling is indisputable. King writes his novels like a seduction, the story unfolding delicately and deliberately. As any Stephen King fan knows, his coy expository chapters often take up the first hundred pages or more. In Cell, however, the reader is brutally dragged into the main action--unspeakable, senseless violence--within the first seven pages. Cell is by far King's ...more
3.5 Stars.....Ok, I do believe I'm with the 'don't like the ending' readers on this one, but oh what a beginning!

Clay is happy........he just sold his first graphic novel and can't wait to share the news with his estranged (but loved) wife and 12 year old son; and as it turns out, luckily, does not own a CELL phone. While deciding to celebrate with an ice cream, all hell breaks loose on the streets of Boston, and afterward, crazies are everywhere, thousands of them, and travel by night (to get

I suddenly realised half way through this book that it is really a zombie novel. After a shower I felt better and rationalised that this was occupying my "wouldn't normally read this" slot in my book consumption; sigh of relief.
I must admit that I did enjoy some of King's early novels, but this was so far fetched and ridiculous (Am I really saying "It" wasn't?). The plot is simple. Somehow, someone sends a pulse through the mobile phone system which wipes clean a person's mind and sends them
This is Stephen's spin on Zombies. These things are Zombie like, but they aren't really zombies. These things seem to still be alive, needing food, not just brains and if you cut them, they will still bleed. Yet, they no longer think and they are fairly mindless, like a zombie. Stephen riffs off zombies.

I found this book entertaining and I didn't want to put the story down. Stephen is amazing at writing characters and I was drawn in by Clay, Tom and Alice. We meet them in the heart of Boston
Edward Lorn
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King completionists
Five stars for the first half. One star for the last 200 pages, wherein King drags his ass like a dog infested with roundworms.

Cell is a five-star read all the way up to the halfway mark. You got crazies running around, nom nom nomming on tender bits, and a likable crew of misfits trying to stay alive. Underneath it all, King is stoking the fires of 9/11, trying to keep the fear alive a full five years after the towers fell in a half-ass attempt to scare you with real-world issues. The Phonies
Ashley Daviau
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this isnt one of my top favourite King books, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read nonetheless! I find its one of those candy reads, its easy and entertaining and doesnt require you to think too deeply. I like the whole idea, I really enjoyed seeing Kings spin on zombies! What made me enjoy it less than other King stories is that I didnt fall in love with any of the characters. I did enjoy them but nothing about them really spoke to me and the story left me wanting more on that level. ...more
Stefan Yates
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
For some reason, I had seen quite a few bad reviews on Cell before I read it. Not one to usually dislike a King novel, I did go into this one without the highest of expectations and ended up being very pleasantly surprised.

The story centers around a mass event that turns anyone who happens to be on their cell phone at the time into a zombie. Mass chaos ensues and a small group of survivors bands together and tries to figure out what is going on and how to stop it. Some of the plot-line does have
Johann (jobis89)
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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."

Cell is an apocalyptic tale about mobile phones that wipe the user's brain, getting rid of any humanity and leaving behind only aggressive and destructive impulses. The story focuses on the main character, Clay, who is on a mission to find his estranged wife and son. Now
Stephen King does zombies! Well...kind of. We'll get to that in a bit.

But first, here's how I think this book came about:

Way back in aught-6 (2006), or just before because Cell was published in '06, but who knows with King, am I right? But anyway, we've come a long way since that time. Everyone was getting cell phones and they were just about getting to every last person around. I imagine him having this conversation with, let's say, his son, Joe Hill.

Stephen: "Wow, cell phones have really
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Stephen King but his stories always give me nightmares. This one is no different. On a beautiful autumn morning everyone on a cell phone is simultaneously hit with a message that scrambles their brains and turns them into zombies. From there the story gets progressively scarier and weirder.
Really good story and I have another reason to not talk on a cell. (Texting only)
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, rereads

Yay! Another successful King re-read!

I read Cell when it first came out and I loved it. Ive wanted to do a reread since hearing the whispers about the movie production. All I needed to hear was John Cusack and I knew it would be gold.

I mean, seriously. The guy has to be one of the most underrated actors ever.

Then came the announcement of Samuel L. Jackson joining the cast and I removed any doubt from my mind.


Clay Riddell has just sold his first comic. Hes about to make a shit-load of
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
"These people are popping up everywhere. Some only commit suicide. Many others attack."

King's foray into the zombie novel features a more traditionally defined zombie: a living person who is given a command, and then becomes a mindless, er, well . . . zombie. No flesh-eating here - King's zombies prefer veggies and Twinkies. And what, pray tell, is the command that turned them into violence prone fans of elevator music? Why, a little message sent on their cell phones, that's what.

"It was the
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this one 31/2 stars. I've read better and worse by King. Not very scary, interesting idea and take on a kind of Zombie like Apocalypse. Great book to read while waiting for a plane. ;-)
Pantelis Andreou
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: king-family
that was one hell of a ride!!!
Great apocalyptic thriller! It has very chilling moments and intense too! there are also some sad moments especially during the end! That ending... had me with an open mouth.. i could not believe it was over... i think it leaves your imagination and curiosity on air, on what will happen later!

I first saw many negative reviews about the book wich i honestly don't know why they exist.. okay it's not perfect but it's not awful either!

the possitive aspects are:
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ordinary everyday item turning evil is both some that King has done well it the past, but also stories that I enjoy.
The only problem with Cell is that reading it 10 years after its original publication, that its a little dated.

Rather than having phones constantly attached to our eyes, most people are starting at their smartphones.
I do like the way that The Pulse attacks the population here.

Also during that decade their was a rise of fast movie Zombie movies, that concept doesnt feel as fresh
My overall feelings on this book? Meh... but in a good way.

I'm a huge Stephen King fan, but I think I'm going to start defining my adoration for him by a certain era. I find I love his earlier stuff, but don't particularly love (or sometimes even like) his later stuff. 'Cell' is a good example of how a former master of horror has now become a much more average author.

Now, this is not a bad novel. It varies from alright to good, rarely achieving greatness, but scoring points for story, some
Wayne Barrett


Once again Mr. King shows why he is a master. I wouldn't rank this one among his best, but that is because he has done so many masterpieces that it is hard to compete. But I still thought this was a great book.

King used some basic concepts; cell phone usage, zombies, and yet he presented a tale that was unique and creative. This one was short compared to his average novels and because of his entertaining, free-flowing script, this was another one of those books that was a breeze to read.

Stylo Fantome
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am actually not the biggest Stephen King fan. I went through a kick where some of my favorite old-ish movies, I was going back and reading the books they had been made from - Jaws, The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs. So of course, I wound up hunting down quite a few Stephen King books.

I kept seeing this book on the shelf at the library, and the blurb intrigued me, so finally I checked it out and read it.

I really, really liked it! I am a fan of apocalypse/zombie themes, movies, whatevs, and
This was a classic Stephen King novel! Roller coaster ride of thrills, twists, and turns! I read the first half of the book in one night as I could not put it down. Last night I finished the other half. The book is about cell phones that get hit with a pulse phenomenon that practically turns the human race into zombies. It was a different kind of zombie experience. You have a rag-tag of survivors that are trying to get out of the city and they meet up with other survivors along the way. ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocolypse
You know, I'm pretty sure he said he was retiring a few years ago. Not that I'm complaining, mind you - this was a fun read. I just figure we should never trust a writer when they say they're done. This is like crack to them, I suppose.

With this book, King is back to my favorite story type of his - world-spanning apocalypse. Ain't nothing better than the end of the world, in my judgment, and The Stand is still one of my favorite King books.

In this one, though, he takes a slightly different
Heena Rathore P.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
So this is a King re read for me. I reviewed it the first time at 4 stars and I'm deciding now, upon reading it again, to dock a star.
Let's start with Clay, I like Clay as a protagonist but he's not one of King's more memorable main characters. If we were to rank him, he'd probably fall somewhere towards the middle. Kind of forgettable. I actually thought Tom would be a better main character; he had better lines.
The first part of this book kicks ass! I love the opening scene in the streets when
Timothy Dalton
Jun 14, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say that is positive about this book? The only thing that comes to mind is, Thank goodness it was not another page longer. I was committed to finishing this book as writing a review for it would require I push onward to the end. Now here is the deal, I haven't read a King book since I was in middle school, and I can tell you also I was simultaneously reading a Robert McCammon book at the same time. This made my experience with Cell more profound. Here I am reading, The Queen of ...more
Jan 02, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I dont know where to start. I dont know what to say. I own about 30 Stephen King books, I believe I have read them all. Strange enough, it seems like just as I started getting into the King of Horror, his talent began to dwindle. I think it was when I was in sixth grade that I started digging him and becoming a fan, and at about that same time he began to put out books that pretty much anyone with a brain will concede are not nearly the clean-up hitters that his first works were. Carrie, Pet ...more
There have been many who have compared Stephen King's Cell with his earlier Apocalypse-Now effort, The Stand. And there are some good reasons, End-of-the-World setting, the survivors polarized into two camps, one camp, arguably no longer even human, a big bang ending in an arena like setting, etc. But there are differences as well. When King wrote The Stand, it seemed to mark a moment in that writer's life where he was becoming overt in things religious. The Stand is a battle between good and ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Vintage King, feels like "The Stand light version". OK book, recommended as a quick read and/or for the nostalgia...
Emma♔☯ (Bookishfix)

I have tried reading this book for no shit.. over a month, at 60%, I just can't anymore, life is too short and there are so many books out there for me to read and love. I'm bored and frustrated. The start was really strong and drew me in but then it just went downhill from there. This is pretty much a zombie apocalypse novel with the course being cell phones. Like I said the start was strong, but then it just got weird, slow and boring. Zombies with supernatural powers? Generally, I like
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
A small group of survivors of the so call "The Pulse" event , which happened during our obsession with cellphones, comes together and goes from place to place, searching for a safe heaven and a word about their loved ones who turned into zombie-like drones commonly refereed to as "phone-crazies" in this book. That's the basic premise of King's spin on the otherwise beaten to death and left to die idea of zombie infestation.

The story was fun (although I think it had a much bigger potential)but
Holly~ Queen of the Books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cell is an apocalyptical, complicated novel. It has one of the best beginnings King has written, but that's probably the only exciting thing in the first half of the book, besides the fast pace. However, as the plot moves forward, the book gets better.

In the first half, it didn't seem I was reading a King. I neither cared for any character but Alice and Rafe (the cat), nor wanted to know why the Pulse had happened. It was simply odd. Even the "phonies" (as they're called) weren't creepy. Just
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Apocalypse Whenever: "Cell" by Stephen King (film, 2016) 15 77 Jun 06, 2018 04:22PM  
CellRepair7 1 8 Nov 20, 2017 04:15AM  
Stephen King Fans: Cell 178 657 Sep 21, 2017 04:38PM  
2020 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Cell 25 169 Aug 31, 2017 01:03AM  
What happened? 56 775 Mar 23, 2017 11:28AM  
Re-Boot? 5 58 Mar 23, 2017 11:27AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Thinner
  • Blaze
  • The Regulators
  • The Long Walk
  • The Exorcist
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
  • Horns
  • Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)
  • The Running Man
  • Roadwork
  • NOS4A2
  • Let the Right One In
  • Heart-Shaped Box
  • Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1)
  • The Bachman Books
  • I Am Legend and Other Stories
  • House of Leaves
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A Pop-up Book
See similar books…
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, ...more

Related Articles

Spring ushers in blooming flowers, warmer weather, and more daylight hours for reading! We're here to help you beat any lingering winter b...
125 likes · 55 comments
“At bottom, you see, we are not Homo sapiens as all. Our core is madness. The prime directive is murder. 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. And that is what the Pulse exposed five days ago.” 131 likes
“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.” 84 likes
More quotes…