Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Joyland by Stephen King | Book Review

I was planning to read Joyland right after NOS4A2, but NOS4A2 felt so much like a Stephen King book, I decided to read a couple of unrelated books first. I couldn't hold off any longer than that, though, because I do love me some Stephen King.

Book Description

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.

It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?


Devin Jones is the main character and narrator of Joyland. He is now in his 60s, and he's looking back on the end of his first love and the summer he spent working for the Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. That is also the summer he encountered the ghost of a young girl and helped solve her murder. I loved the beach-side setting and the relationships between the characters. Stephen King excels at nostalgia. I love how he can evoke that feeling of longing. He also enjoys breaking my heart. I'm not always a fan of that, but I am a fan of Joyland.

The cover is a bit misleading with the "Who Dares Enter the Funhouse of Fear?". Joyland has a suspenseful climax, but there's not a whole lot of fear going on in Joyland. If you've been too afraid to pick up a Stephen King novel, this is a great one to try especially if you like mysteries or coming of age stories.

This wasn't a spectacular novel. I'm not clamoring to get this book into everyone's hands, but I really loved reading it. If you are a fan of Stephen King, it's a must read, but I also recommend it to anyone looking for a great summer read.

8/10: Great Read


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  1. Great review!! I really enjoyed this one too. I thought that it was beautiful. It had a slight bit of creepiness to it at times, but not much.

  2. I haven't been too afraid to pick up his novel but I just never read one lol. I think the size of most of his books are intimidating. I have one here and it's like 1200 pages O_O. This one sounds like a good read though I like how weird and creepy his movies are so I def. want to try one of his books!

  3. Oooh great review, Jennifer. I just bought this one recently and I can see myself really liking it. I love that you say it conveys emotion so well, because I am all about that.

  4. Great review! I agree, it really is a great summer read, and it's one of the few Stephen King books I'd feel comfortable recommending to friends who normally don't read thrillers, horror, etc.

  5. This sounds like my kind of King book. I can't handle the super scary anymore (I am such a wimp nowadays).

  6. This is so up my alley - I love dead characters walking LOL. My husband owns a number of SK books, but they're usually a though read for me...it's not the gore in itself (The Last Vampire/Thirst by C. Pike and the Supernatural TV series are gory, right? and I usually don't even flinch at them), so much as the disturbing images he loves to use. I was only able to stomach The Shining so far...but this one sounds safe...and interesting.
    New follower BTW, and I hope to discover new exciting thrillers and the likes here!

  7. I was very curious about this one. I don't see why so many people assume all of his novels are horror. I don't even find the ones I've read remotely frightening. Glad to hear its a good one!

  8. I haven't read a Stephen King novel in a really long time. I like horror, but for whatever reason I hate reading about it. Maybe this one would be good for me. I like coming of age stories and the mix of crime and a ghost story sounds like this one is definitely unique!

    Thanks for stopping my Pretty In Fiction earlier :)

  9. Glad you liked it! I'm taking it on vacation with me, so I've been waiting and waiting, and it's just been staring at me from my TBR bookcase (in my special Books to Take to the Beach pile). I agree, NOS4A2 did feel more like a King book (the talents of main characters reminded me of The Shining). Loved it though, and looking forward to this one!


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