Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review - Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland by Stephen King
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Date Read: November 30, 2019
Length: 283 Pages
Source: Purchased


Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”Stephen King
My Review

I had a great time with this book.  After refusing to read Stephen King for most of my life, I have a lot of catching up to do now that I realize I actually love his writing.  I decided to pick up Joyland while I had some time off work for the holidays and found it to be a very entertaining way to spend a few hours.  I am really starting to understand why Stephen King is such a popular author.

This story takes place in 1973 and is largely set at a small amusement park called Joyland.  We get to spend the summer with 21-year-old Devin as he works at Joyland for the summer.  Devin has a broken heart after being dumped by his college girlfriend but throws himself into his new job with gusto.  I love that we get so see so many aspects of the park since Devin seems to work just about everywhere. 

The characters in this book were fantastic.  I loved getting to know Devin and I really felt like I knew him by the end of the book.  The storytelling style of this book is as if Devin were telling us a story years after these events and at times he would meander and jump ahead a bit.  I thought that this style really made the story feel authentic and added a lot of charm to the story.  Devin's friends at the park, his co-workers, and a little boy and his mom all had important roles to play in this story and I felt like King did a remarkable job of bringing each of them to life. 

The story was a little slow to get moving with the first half of the book more focused on character development.  The pace did pick up during the second half of the book and I was really interested in learning how the girl at been murdered in the park years earlier.  I thought I had the mystery solved only to learn that I was way off base.  I also thought that Devin and Mike's relationship added a lot to the story.  There were a lot of different elements that came together in this shorter work to tell a really amazing story.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought that this was a very well-told story with great characters, an interesting mystery, and just a touch of paranormal.  I can't wait to continue working on Stephen King's amazing backlist.
About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. I loved Joyland. It was the perfect size to tackle if you haven't read a lot of his works. I'm so glad you are enjoying his books now. Think how much you have ahead of you to read! The Colorado Kid is one that is in the same line as this one. It was the basis for the SyFy show HAVEN, which I loved. It's not as good as Joyland but is another short one. I would HIGHLY recommend Gwendy's Button Box too. Trying to think of some shorter ones you can use to get your feet wet :) Great review. I might reread this one of these days.

    1. I did love Gwendy's Button Box and should have my hands on Gwendy's Magic Feather later this week. I actually ordered The Colorado Kid from Book Outlet and just got my copy yesterday so I might tackle that one soon. I have also read It, Blockade Billy, Revival, and The Institute. Lots of reading ahead of me!

  2. It's an author that I like to read from time to time and if I know about this one I haven't read it yet

  3. Joyland is one of my favorite King novels. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. i loved this one too and it is a great introduction to his work. guess i'll be seeing more of it. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. I really need to pick up more of his books. I want to read the new one because it looks just so good.

    glad this one was a hit

  6. Lol that cover, very pulp indeed

  7. Yet another book of his I need to try! I am hit and miss with his books but I am trying to make my way through his books. :)

  8. I think I need this just for the cover! It's fabulous. I've been wanting to read more Stephen King but his page count always scares me off. This looks much more manageable.

  9. I've read a lot of his books back when I read Horror. I'm glad to hear you liked this one.

  10. This one is getting near the top of my stack and I can't wait. I hope it's as good as his older books. And what a classic cover!

  11. This sounds like a great book. I'll have to look into it, sometimes its intimidating to get through his books.

  12. I found this book way too slow with nothing happening and quit before halfway through. It seems that Stephen King and I are no lomger compatible as I find all his new books too slow!

  13. This sounds like one I could read. I've been reading the Bill Hodges / Mr Mercedes books and I like the more mystery / thriller type ones but I have thought until then I couldn't read him since I don't enjoy horror. Excellent review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  14. I am glad you have caved and been able to discover that you like King's writing a lot! I am currently reading my first Stephen King novel which is It! It's quite a long one and I don't think I am going to be able to finish it this month... but we shall see how it goes :3 I hope you will enjoy your next King novel just as much ^.^


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