Stephen King’s Joyland [Book Review]

Chris Savage

JoylandUnfortunately I don’t read as many books as I probably should. But when I got the chance to check out Stephen King’s latest novel Joyland, I jumped at the opportunity because basically, the man is a freakin’ legend. Thankfully if you love King’s work, I’m pretty sure you will dig this one and can you believe it is his 56th novel! The man totally deserves our respect, so without further-ado, here is my review of Joyland.

The novel is narrated by the 61-year-old Devin Jones, who looks back to his younger days, most notably when he was just 21 and the adventure he went on back in 1973. The then 21-year-old takes a job at the Joyland amusement park in Heaven’s Bay, North Carolina where he experiences a Summer he will never forget and one that still haunts him.

Throughout the novel, we hitch a ride following Devin’s life, from the unhinged days of his younger self, right up to his golden years. Joyland in itself is very much a murder mystery, and one that I found intriguing to the point that I couldn’t put the book down. Always a great sign of a good book, even if in parts it felt as if it was a little slow.

The story reveals that the amusement park, Joyland, is in-fact haunted by Linda Gray, who was murdered by a mysterious man in the park itself, and unfortunately for Devin, he confronts the vicious legacy that will haunt him for years to come.

Within his journey, Devin learns the Carny way of life including their “talk“, which may or may not be actual Carny language, but even King addresses this in a little note at the back of the novel. During Devin’s time in the park, he tries to forget about the girl who left him, makes some new friends and also uncovers some dark and disturbing secrets within the parks underbelly.

To put it simply, the book is a coming-of-age story, and a good one at that. The tension builds throughout as pieces of the puzzle are slowly put back together, but as I said, it is a little slow in parts, but if you’re willing to stay the course you will be pleasantly satisfied.

If you’re somewhat a fan of murder mysteries you may find it’s a little straightforward, but damn, its a story which keeps you glued to each turning page and one that you must stay the course for the climax and the revealing of the killer.

I enjoyed it, and considering I don’t read books all that often, it was an easy read which flowed very well, even if it was a little slow and prolonged, but all in all, I say check it out especially with the film being adapted for the big-screen.

4 / 5 stars     


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      1. Tiago June 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        Sounds amazing.
        I’m a big time fan of his novels. I am finishing reading The Wind Through the Keyhole, wich is his previous book, and part of the Dark Tower Series, very nice.
        Can’t wait for that one, but I have to wait for the translation to my language.
        Thanx for the review.

        • Chris Savage June 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

          No worries, thanks for commenting. :) I’ve actually got a backlog of King’s novels to get through, but had to check this one out. I wasn’t disappointed. :)

      2. Tyler June 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm

        I’m currently reading Joyland. I absolutely love this book so far. I agree, some parts drag on a bit, but the over all story is full of mystery and charm. This novel definitely earns the title of “One of King’s Best Novels”.

        • Chris Savage June 17, 2013 at 6:22 am

          Absolutely, it’s a great little book, I’d like to see King do more of this.

      3. Matthew Adams July 17, 2013 at 1:50 am

        I Just finished reading Joyland today, and though I love this book, im confused on what “Its not white” meant. Was that ever explained?

        • Chris Savage July 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

          I don’t what to go into too much detail in case there are those reading this who haven’t read the novel yet. But I will say, “it’s not white” is a reference to the hair dye.