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Joyland | [Stephen King]

Joyland

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. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.
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Publisher's Summary

"Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book.... Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved."
—Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime.

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. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

©2013 Stephen King. All rights reserved. (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3288 )
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  •  
    Shari Tallahassee, FL, United States 06-07-13
    Shari Tallahassee, FL, United States 06-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No clue, for a Stephen King book I expected more!


    Has Joyland turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not quite sure which genre this book represents.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I liked the voice of the narrator and would like to hear more from him.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The narrator was the only good thing about it!


    Any additional comments?

    I hadn't read any Stephen King for a long time, he once was a favorite. Now I see why I stopped!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew PORTLAND, OR, United States 06-07-13
    matthew PORTLAND, OR, United States 06-07-13
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    "Stephen King seems to be losing his edge"

    After reading 11/22/63 by King I was a little reluctant on buying another one of his books because it seems like he stopped writing thriller books. Unfortunately this one is exactly the same. Don't get me wrong, he is excellent with the English language and it was an entertaining book to listen to, but it didn't feel like Stephen King. There really isn't much excitement at all until the end. If you're a fan of Stephen King, go ahead and listen to the book, but don't expect a thriller at all!!!!

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Massachusetts, USA 06-05-13
    Steve Massachusetts, USA 06-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Stephen King's Latest Coming-of-Age Story"

    Ok, so there's a new Stephen King book out called Joyland. Here are some of the key components:

    - A serial killer who slashes throats at amusement parks.
    - A ghost.
    - A little boy with a special ability to just sort of 'know things'.
    - A whodunnit mystery.
    - A college kid who loses his sweetheart and grows up.

    As everyone knows, Stephen King is the master of terror - so you might expect the first three components listed above to be the most important parts of Joyland... but you would be wrong!

    Joyland is, at its heart, the coming of age tale of 21 year old Devin Jones. Devin is an everyman, a nice guy. He's going through a rough breakup with his first true love. He gets a job at Joyland, a second rate amusement park filled with cool college kids at summer jobs and weirdo carnies that are kind of there for life. There's a fortune teller, some sexy girls who take photos and pressure you into buying them, and plenty other flavorful characters. It's a flavorful and interesting backdrop for a novel.

    As mentioned above, Devin is dealing with a lot of stuff. He's a young kid in an emotional part of life, and the ghost, serial killer, etc. serve as plot devices for some real growing up. The ghost and serial killer might sound scary, but there aren't really very many scary moments in Joyland. There are a few, I guess, but there are many more touching moments. Moments where you want to reach out to Devin and say, "Devin, hang in there dude - we'll get through this together and things will work out great." This isn't a book that will keep you up at night, this is a book that will keep you wondering how Stephen King can put into words so perfectly what it's like to like a girl who likes someone else better than you. If you're looking for a Stephen King tale of terror, then look elsewhere.

    Joyland is also nominally a mystery, but I didn't get much out of this aspect of the book. Without giving anything away, there's this murder mystery and then it just kind of gets resolved all at once without the typical back and forth, slow progress, clue gathering, false leads, etc. that most mystery novels are filled with.

    If you're a fan of Stephen King, then Joyland is probably most similar in style to Hearts in Atlantis. Hearts in Atlantis is one of my favorite King books, and Joyland is definitely no Hearts in Atlantis. It just doesn't have the unique story hooks, the characters are a bit flatter, and the lynchpin story connecting the coming-of-age theme isn't quite as interesting. Joyland is still good, but I'd recommend Hearts in Atlantis ahead of it any day. If you've already read Hearts in Atlantis and want another great story, then pick up Joyland - it's good. Good enough that I blasted through it in a day without slowing down.

    The narrator for Joyland is decent. He did a bunch of different voices well, and breathed some life into the character - but the whole thing did feel slightly BLAH to me. It was good, but nothing I'll remember forever.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Peoria, AZ, USA 06-08-13
    Jonathan Peoria, AZ, USA 06-08-13 Member Since 2007
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    "My opinion might be slightly skewed..."
    Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Michael Kelly?

    Not sure anymore...


    Any additional comments?

    My opinion might be skewed here as I just finished re-reading The Stand last week. Giving that Joyland too has high religious overtones, it was strange for me. I love Mr. Kings writing.. his character develpment is amazing. The version of The Stand that I own is the most recently released "uncut" version. In the preface, Mr. King speaks a little about the book, what you should expect, and warns that this is not a "new version" of The Stand, but simply included many of the things left on the cutting room floor from the first version. He also says that The Stand is one of his most asked about books from his fans.. They ask how "so-and-so" is doing, or "whatever happend to whats-his-name".. Although I am perfectly aware that The Stand is a work of fiction, I'm not totally surprised by this reaction. As I said, Mr. Kings character develpment is what sucks me into his writing each and every time. He is the King of the story tellers.. no pun intended.. well, maybe a little... Anyway... Well, with as much as I love his stories, I have to admit that the combination of just finishing The Stand, and then being dropped right into Joyland, left me a tad bit sour. Especially the ending of Joyland... I respect that we all have our opinions regarding Christianity and the belief in God.. But Mr. Kings writings have become quite "anti-Christian"... I understand that my views aren't everyones.. and I respect that. I also understand that Mr. King is obviously not a believer in the sense that he "follows God" or conforms to any organized religion. That's perfectly fine. However, he seems to be making it a point to not only "deny", but to "mock". I don't see a reason for this in "fiction".. It's to the point that it's clouding the story for me. I spend so much of my time "dismissing" this or that, or "ignoring" this or that, that it's hard to concentrate on the story line itself. I'm not one that is easily offended, and I'm certainly not a "bible thumper".. Yes, I am a Christian. I follow Christ. I have my faith. But I still enjoy all kinds of stories.. movies, books, articles, short stories, whatever I can get my hands on. I run across things in stories all the time which conflict with my own belief system. That's okay. It usually lends itself someway necessary to the storyline, and I accept it and am not offended in the least. But as I said.. this has become to a point where it's almost "mocking", and that confuses me, as I don't see it's necessary. *sigh*... Oh well...

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ScratchGolfer 06-26-13 Member Since 2007
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    "King must have retired before he wrote this book."

    The story was somewhat interesting but not up to Stephen King's normal work. I was particularly pissed about King's inappropriate and dumb comment concerning Dick Cheney ... a true patriot ... unlike King. It didn't fit in the story at alI except to show Kings true colors. I normally don't read books by extreme liberals and will now add Stephen King to my NO READ LIST.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlie R. Williams Portland, OR, United States 06-16-13
    Charlie R. Williams Portland, OR, United States 06-16-13 Member Since 2011

    rather boring

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    "meh"
    Any additional comments?

    it's sort of like Stand by Me had a love child with The Shining. not terrible but a bit trite. read A Boy's Life if you want the Wonder Years theme with horror/mystery twist (sadly only abridged edition available on audible but worth a read and recommended). Mr. King's early work rarely involved awkward sex scenes which is perhaps why I like it best as this yet again was nigh brutal in spots. not bad but rather blah. some story points really hit home other feel very recycled (and almost worse because of his oeuvre). reader is great and makes it doable but not falling over myself to suggest to friends.

    I still pick up Mr King's work as they are released and perhaps that makes me part of the problem. if all of us buy marginal work where is the drive to make something great?

    TL;DR it's okay

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Grand Blanc, MI, United States 06-07-13
    Anna Grand Blanc, MI, United States 06-07-13 Member Since 2013
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    "King Never Disapoints"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    YES! It is a great story, by the master of storytelling (in my opinion), full of mystery, suspense, humor, sadness and a great although poignant ending.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Joyland?

    The kite flying day and just one of many.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Kelly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you could take any character from Joyland out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably I should say Devon, but I am equally interested in the villain in the tale, whose name I won't reveal.

    Why would I want to spend dinner with the evil protagonist?

    Well, bad people who do really bad things are just as intriguing to me as the good guys. I would like to spend dinner discussing the bad guy's motivations and of course his upbringing which is the root of all evil, right?


    Any additional comments?

    Great listening and I plan to run out and by the book for my collection.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 06-07-13
    Tim United States 06-07-13 Member Since 2010

    My reviews are honest. No sugar coating here.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Aging Writer"

    As Stephen King age, you can tell the different styles of writing. His recent book, "Joyland" is far different than past classic like "Firestarter." Through his decades of horror, mysteries, and total mind bleeping madness, the constant reader always sees a different side of SK.

    Joyland is on another level of his progression of his mind and his imagination of what he can come up with and how his writing is changing as he gets older. I cannot blame him for changing his storytelling style, because as we get into our golden years, we look at the world differently.

    This new book is not so much of a horror or a thriller. It is somewhere in the middle from an aging writer.

    For the constant reader, Stephen King is like an old friend that you can't wait to hear from.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane A. Walsh Phoenix, AZ 08-26-14
    Shane A. Walsh Phoenix, AZ 08-26-14 Member Since 2012

    Indie filmmaker who loves listening to books on audio

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    "Not what you think"
    What made the experience of listening to Joyland the most enjoyable?

    The voice talent is incredible


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Devin. His inner voice was fun and curious.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Kelly – was your favorite?

    Devin. Michael really breathed life into the character, giving him subtlety.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Mike talks to Devin after his mother leaves the room


    Any additional comments?

    It was not at all what I expected out of a King book and more than I thought it would be.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B El Dorado Hills, CA, United States 09-16-13
    B El Dorado Hills, CA, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "One of my Favorites of Kings"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Joyland to be better than the print version?

    Probably. The reader was very good and believable.


    If you could take any character from Joyland out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    little boy.
    To talk about psychic abilities


    Any additional comments?

    Although a most imaginative writer, King is frequently too graphic for me. A few of his books, while still frightening, aren't quite as gory and over the top. This book is very suspenseful, scary, and thoroughly entertaining. I was never disgusted with graphic descriptions.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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