Stephen King is a master of creating a mood in a story. He is also a master of transporting the reader into another place in time as he did with the outstanding 11/22/63. In Joyland Kink creates the mood and sets the time period well, but the story itself is thin. Joyland isn't a bad book, but there are better choices from this great writer. On a bright note, the performance of Michael Kelly was top notch.
Honestly, I have to admit suffering some disappointment with Kings more recent works, starting with From A Buick 8, I felt he was not in his groove anymore. This story changes my mind. It was excellent, emotional writing from beginning to end. Great characters and great narration. To anyone who felt the same as me about Kings recent works, just to let you know, HE'S BACK!
Grabbed this one because we were looking for something to listen to for a road trip. The reviews were good and we love Mr. King's story telling.
This one did not disappoint.
Although the description paints a picture of death and ghost, it's really a story of the coming of age in the 70s. This story really took me back to my youth. I could almost feel the ocean breeze in my face and hear the sounds of the amusement park.
This does have typical supernatural and murder, but that's not the sole focus of this one.
The narrator also did a fantastic job.
Joyland -the title alone is ambiguous enough to wonder what the King of horror would put behind it. It is a wonderful tale that encompasses so many genres of literature, a little whodunit, a little sultry, some supernatural and a touch sentiment. The characters are so complete in description and the narration by Michael Kelly rounds them out so well that they are like family. You don't have to be in the carny world to say "Oh I know someone just like ...", well, you pick the character to complete that sentence.
The main character is Devin Jones, a young man who is just manly enough for the male readers but soft enough for the females. And that isn't the only balancing act. The plot flips from a let's catch the killer crime novel to a story about his relationship with a cougar Mom and her handicapped child. If this sounds corny it's only because I'm not the writer that Stephen King is.
Its been a while since I've read a Stephen King novel and for what its worth, I've already uploaded another of his more recent works.
Stephen King may have once been the master of horror. Now he's just the master.
Absolutely, probably later today. The story ranks up there with The Colorado Kid, or Bag of Bones, and the narration is SUPERB! I will listen to this again and again.
Great characters, and a two great stories (a murder mystery, and a young man coming to terms with becoming an adult) intertwined. With a couple of twists, and turns and a surprise at the end...well this is just King at his best.
I can't pick one...Jones going to visit Parks in the hospital? Or Jones and Annie's tryst? OR perhaps the Scrabble game, where Jones gets an earful of gossip? I couldn't pick one...there are way too many great ones to chose.
I love Jones, Annie, Erin, all the carnies...but I think Mike has a special place in my heart.
I LOVE King, am a "constant" reader...have read everything he's written...and in my opinion...this is him at his best. I like the strange, and gory, and down right mind blowing...but I LOVE the mystery and intrique...and this is right on par with Bag of Bones and The Colorado Kid!!
Like so many of King's works, it's the non-horror books (Green Mile, The Body, 11.23.63) which are often the best STORIES. This one is not an exception. A wonderful yarn, beautifully read. The voice actor, Michael Kelly, was a perfect choice for this story - just the right edge of aimless teen getting to know the man he'll one day be, and the man he became reflecting on the teen he once was.
I'm surprised to find 444 books in my Audible library - but I guess that makes me an experienced listener! Of course this book is great, it's a Stephen King book, but my goodness what excellent narration! Just like Will Patton reading James Lee Burke's Robichaux novels, I can't imagine any other voice telling this story. I was so surprised to find that Michael Kelly hasn't narrated another book on Audible. If he had that would have been my next purchase.
I look forward to more narration by MIchael Kelly.
Joyland was a sweet, wonderful, moving, terrifying story. I recommend it.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.
Yes, I'd recommend this book. It's classic King, with great set-up and foreshadowing and deftly drawn characters. Also, for those who are just trying out Stephen King for the first or second time, it's not too long.
While the ending was never really in doubt — since it's a first-person narration we know that the narrator survives — there was a bit of deus ex machina about the timing that detracted from the resolution.
He sounds perfectly natural and is good at delivering self-deprecating lines in which the narrator looks back at his younger self.
Read more books written in the first person, to see how differently each is handled. For instance, after Joyland I re-read The Great Gatsby. Both books are written in the first person, but one is more purposely prosaic, while the other is consciously poetic. Same point of view, very different results. Fascinating stuff.
This was a great summer read for my daily fitness walks.... the 70's setting, the traditional amusement park, the North Carolina shore and the detailed descriptions of character and setting really makes you feel like you are there while everything is happening. I could almost smell the fried dough and hear the carnival music coming from the merry-go-round. During my walks I felt like I was making that daily hike along the beach to Joyland.
I too am a long-time fan of Stephen King, but have read enough of his books to know he occasionally departs from his usual thriller style.... he can do that because he is a talented writer. The stories that wander off the beaten path are just as enjoyable if you look at them for what they are, and not what they are not. If constant-suspense-thriller type novels are the only kind of reading you enjoy, you might be disappointed... but if your taste varies a bit from only one kind of genre I think you will find this an entertaining and enjoyable read.
I do think there could have been more at the end describing what happened over the years between 1973 and the present to all of the characters... or maybe I was just disappointed when it was over. I know the first couple of times that I looked forward to listening and remembered that I finished the story, I felt a little bummed.
I typically do not read books in the horror genre or SK for that matter, but after reading great reviews, I took a chance on Joyland. I absolutely loved it! It is not a gory horror book, rather a suspenseful well told tale. So glad I listened and I will probably revisit this book in the future.