Exactly! Perfectly stated (same for me .. what MBJ said...)I struggled with it because I felt the characters were shallow.
They weren't as fleshed out as King's characters usually are.
I tend to get so engrossed by a story that you care about the world and the people that inhabit it, I found myself to be particularly unfussed if the main characters got mullered or not with CELL. That for me was where it fell down.