BOOK REVIEW: Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland NEW COVER.jpg.size-230Stephen King has many die-hard fans, some occasional fans and there are those who prefer his non-horror work to his older books. This novel is a push to the more thriller crime arena, but has been worth the wait.



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 in a fairground and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

The plot is a slow build, with Devin coming to a point in his life where he is coming to grips with who he is and who he wants to be. He will love and he will experience loss during this tale, but is this really hard crime? Well, no – but is it a murder mystery? The answer is sort of. As the tale unfolds, we learn about a murder that happened years prior at the fairground. I was hoping throughout the book that the mystery would slowly reveal itself, but instead we focus on Devin’s coming of age and, to be honest, the actual mystery is the smallest part of the plot for me.

Yes, this book is well written and it has a feel that will make it a classic like the stories that were turned into the films with new titles like Stand By Me and also The Shawshank Redemption. However, it needs to have more of the murder mystery to make it a recommended book.

The pace was fine and the characters were all well-crafted and enjoyable and you really feel for Devin. Each member of the fairground have just enough hook to make them all interesting, even the ones who appear just a few times. Devin makes friends with a boy next door and their relationship helps build both of them into better people.

The setting of Joyland comes alive with King’s spin on “carnie” life and the fairground becomes its own character with flaws and all. It may be that King has taken memories from his childhood and implanted them into this novel, because it is written with love and care.

The end will have you just holding back that tearful gulp as we find out where Devin ends up and those people around him and their fate.

I know that others will disagree with me and say it is one of King’s best works and that is why I encourage debate on this, because for me it was a good read but not a crime mystery that would keep me entertained long enough.


ISBN: 9781781162644
Paperback: 288pp
Publication date: 7 June 2013
Author: Stephen King



Reviwer: Montoya

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