Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Joyland by Stephen King

Title: Joyland
Author: Stephen King
Format: Paperback, 283 pages
Pub. Date: June 4th 2013
Source: Gift


Four stars.


Devin Jones needed to get away from it all for a little while. The girl he loved more than anything broke his heart, and he needed to take some time to himself to remember what life without her is like. When he gets a summer job at a small town amusement park, he starts to feel at home... At first. When he started to uncover the oddities surrounding the park: a ghost story, tales of murder, and even a hokey psychic who may not be lying after all, he discovered that this summer would change his life completely.... That is, if he survives it.

I was really excited when my girlfriend's mother surprised me with a copy of this book. I'm a big fan of King's, and had fallen in love with the cover. I'm a sucker for stories set in a carnival/circus setting, and I knew I needed to read this one. It definitely didn't disappoint.

The thing that I loved most about this book was, you guessed it, the setting. This crime tale takes place in a Coney Island-like amusement park on the east coast. I loved all of the "Talk" that the carnies used, that is, the slang among them. Whether it's accurate or not, it was really cool to see life at one of these attractions after hours, and from the employee's point of view. The way King writes made it sound like a place I'd want to visit, and a place of sleepy summer life. I felt like I was at the park, from start to finish.

I also really liked the combination of genres in this book. It has supernatural elements, crime, murder, and a good old fashioned whodunnit. I didn't see the puzzle being pieced together until the very end, and then I got irrationally angry at the results. That's a good sign, because it means that King wrote characters that I cared about and really connected to.

The book jumps around a bit in time, but they're easy transitions, and I was at no point in the novel confused by the changes.

This book put me in mind of R.L. Stine's Fear Park series, but for the older crowd. This book contains profanity and sex, but it's a Stephen King book, so you probably guessed as much. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good murder case with a bit of a haunted twist.

Thanks again for the book, Lisa.


  1. This sounds really good! My mom listened to it on audio and she really liked it as well. Now it seems I'm the odd one out and will have to get my hands on a copy so I can read it too! Great review baby girl!

    1. Why thank you. I'm so happy your mom gave me this haha

  2. I'm glad you liked it. You are welcome. It really pulled me in more so that I thought it would. I was wrapped up in the carny world too. I loved the carny language. I found that I bought into the whole story more than I realized in the end and found myself cursing at King as I found tears flowing. It is definitely worth the time. I am currently reading King's "Doctor Sleep" and he is getting to me again. This is the sequel to "The Shining." By page 4 I was cringing and cursing King again. I haven't read Stephen King in a very long time and now I have read several of his works lately. I also read "11/23/63" which was also an excellent read. I think he his writing has aged well.

  3. Hello, I was the guy on the train next to you when you were reading this! that would sound really creepy if you don't know who this is, but anyway, glad you liked the book. I am a bit further in my game of thrones book, but I just read a whole bunch of Neil Gaiman I got for christmas. I would suggest it if you haven't read his stuff. I was wondering if I could add you on goodreads? I'll send you a friend request on there. I've been needing a book buddy to talk to.

    1. Ahaha, I do remember you, so creepiness is averted. Thanks so much for actually checking out my page! I have only read Coraline by Gaiman, but I loved it! I definitely want to read more of his work. Be my guest and add me on Goodreads. I think I have a widget on here for it somewhere, but I'm lazy, so here's my link: