1 out of 4 stars
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The Cell by Parker T. Pettus is a fictional story that revolves around a sleeper cell of 3 terrorists, Firuzeh, Muhammad, and Abdul, who had been hiding in plain sight for years in America after their attack on the World Trade Center. Through the years, they took on normal jobs and tried to fit into American society as much as possible, while awaiting instructions from Al Qaeda for their next mission. However, after years of endlessly scanning cable television and keeping their ears to the ground for any instructions on their next mission, it seemed as though the instructions would never come. How would they handle staying in a foreign country for so long, especially when the war against terrorism was at its peak at that point?
Picking up this book, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. After reading the book's description, I hoped that there would be elements of action and suspense in the story. My expectations weren't met, and I was further disappointed by the general content of the book, which is why making the decision to rate The Cell 1 out of 4 stars is a very easy one.
The author kicks off the story by giving the reader a quick introduction to the 3 terrorists. We follow their movement from Newark to New Jersey, their jobs, and tactics they employ to avoid any suspicion. However, the author doesn't reveal any details at all about their likes, dislikes, fears, and motivations. This was the same for all the characters in the story, and it made it impossible for me to connect to any of the characters, as I didn't know how they felt at any point of the story.
I hoped that what the story lacked in character development would be made up for in an interesting plot. However, the consistency of plot holes throughout the story ensured my disappointment in that aspect. For people that were considered as trained terrorists, I didn't expect the main characters to be as clueless as they were. On more than one occasion, they didn't understand important secret codes that may have passed on important information about their next mission. The author also failed to explain why they couldn't leave America, especially after not hearing from their colleagues for years. The story contained many more unanswered questions and situations that didn't make sense, which I will not include here to avoid giving any spoilers.
Furthermore, I didn't like the author's writing style. It was not descriptive at all and left too much work to my imagination. The author included illustrations in the book, which helped lift the burden off my imagination a bit, but these illustrations were few and far between.
In addition, The Cell is poorly edited. It seemed like some effort was put into editing the beginning part of the book, but as the story went halfway, I noticed more grammatical errors. Most of the errors were missed commas, run-on sentences, and misspelled words. The book was also poorly organized. Sentences and paragraphs weren't arranged properly. There were also a lot of unnecessary empty pages within chapters.
Overall, there wasn't much to like about The Cell. The only thing I enjoyed was how humorous some of the characters were. I would not recommend The Cell to anyone, as I didn't enjoy reading it and still can't decide on which genre to place it.
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