"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.
It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?
©2013 Stephen King (P)2013 Schuster Audio
I am an artist, living in Cairns, Queensland, Australia right next to the Great Barrier Reef. I listen to audiobooks everyday while making art and on into the night. I really like mysteries with a good serving of suspense on the side that keep you wondering right to the end. However, I won't say no to any entertaining and well written book which has been read by an excellent narrator.
You can't get away from it; King can tell a story like no other. Although I like some other writers almost equally, as many can come up with excellent stories, but Stephen King's irreverently & natural dialogue and colourful descriptions captivate the essence of his characters and enthral the reader from the very beginning to the very end. I was a bit unsure about this before I started reading/listening to this book as I thought it might be a bit 'young' for me. It was not, as all the commentary is being made by the main character, Dev, as a mature older man re-living and reflecting on the events that surrounded his transition from teenage-hood to manhood. All in all this was an excellent read.
I always expect to get swept away with a Stephen King audiobook, "Bag of Bones" being my all-time favourite. Maybe I was a bit spoiled in that I've only listened to really long versions of his books before, always going for at least over 12 hrs.
There just wasn't a lot to this story and without going into too much of the plot to spoil it, it did seem like, "Ooops, it's nearly the end I'd better make someone the murderer even though I've given no clues to it being this person throughout."
"A great tale told well"
An entrancing tale with suspense and nostalgia
Not the best Stephen King story ever, but his ability to take you on a complete and fulfilling trip into another time and place shines through as ever.
Before I review this book it's only fair to say I am a huge SK fan.
Joyland is a crime thriller set in an amusement park in 1973 told (flashback style) by Dev in 2013.
This story really grabs you and is typical SK (in a good way).
Just a few more weeks to wait now for Doctor Sleep, but if you are a King (or crime) fan get this book... you won't regret it.
"He's done it again"
It's a great book, which manages to keep you entertained.
A little bit more action would have been nice, it was a little slow for my liking and not quite like his other books.
He was perfect for the narrator, his voice fitted in well.
I couldn't listen to it in one setting due to it being a little slower than I'd like. I found although it drew me into the book, it didn't keep me wanting to read it.
Different than the usual King books I've read, but enjoyable none the less. A must read for Stephen King fans.
I loved the slow build up and gradual walk through the mystery. It made a great change form the usual BAM! Dead body BAM! Cops and robbers BAM! Action sequence BAM! Final reveal. It's subtler than that and gradually draws you in. At one point around chapter 4 I did find myself wondering if the story was actually going anywhere, but by the end I didn't want it to end.
It's a murder-mystery-whodunnit-ghost story. But more than that, it's a true coming of age novel, where you follow the narrator form his naive, high school nerdiness through to his eventual young-adulthood through the events he experiences. Leaving home for the first time, getting his first real job, his first real break up and experiences with women, his first major life choice, right through to his final realisation of himself as a young adult with his own moral codes and values and beliefs. In that respect it's actually very reminiscent of Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road', though not nearly as racy, or others of King's in the same genre such as 'The Body'. It also has moments where you wonder if it might not become something of a Catcher in the Rye or Donny Darko style tale, with a much darker side than initially suspected.
The gypsy fortune teller character is fantastic. She has a naturally split personality between herself, the sweet southern mama, and the foreign accented gypsy facade she uses in the carnival. Then she has a third, more serious, mystical side that is her 'real' psychic abilities coming through when she's just being herself. As always you can picture the characters in your mind's eye; the one who would be played by Jake Gyllenhaal (the narrator, Devin), the one who would be played by Johnny Depp (Lane) and the bit-part crazy costume lady who would be someone like Whoopi Goldberg, just for some comic relief. It's going to make a heck of a good film.
The kite scene was really touching. It was very much a bitter-sweet moment of acceptance based on the old saying 'Childhood's over the moment you know you're going to die,' and handled it with grace and dignity and warmth, yet still managed to make it brutally truthful.
One of those books that you get to the end and think 'Awww, I was enjoying that!'
"The pinnacle of storytelling from the master."
A gripping but subtle plot, fantastic charactarisations, emotive storytelling, nuanced and nostalgic scene setting show why Stephen King is unbeatable in any genre he decides to write in. The narration is very well balanced and suits the pace and style of the book.
The main character's description of Joyland and its local nuances.
"I just love this book!"
I've only listened to the audio version
I wish it was longer, simply because I was enjoying it so much.
Can't say as it would spoil the twist
It's Stand by me meets The Sixth Sense
"A beautifully told story"
Stephen King is a master craftsman. I can't claim to like all of his novels as there is a little too much of the supernatural in some of them for my taste but he knows how to keep a.reader engrossed enough to forget the time and become immersed in a story.
Joyland kept my attention and if I had had the time I would have liked to have listened in one sitting. The narrator did a great job. In retrospect I realise this was because I didn't notice him. That doesn't sound complimentary but it is meant to be: with some narrators you notice their quirks/breathing/pauses/accents and so on and these can detract from the listening experience, whereas Michael Kelly just unobtrusively gets on with the job unobtrusively and allows the listener to become wrapped up in the story.
"Easy listening, but not one of his classics!"
Easy, interesting, simple
The main character was easy to associate with and the descriptions of the language used was interesting.
Never heard him before, but would listen out for him again, very good narrator!
Yes, and too be fair it could be, lacked the usual depth of King's novels, but moved well.
If you want a book that does not require too much thought and you have not listened to one of Stephen Kings none horror novels, then this is a good starting point.
"Typical SK in one of his more gentle moods - fab!"
The combination of King's outstanding ability to create a world within a world and Kelly's narrative bringing the inhabitants to life made this one of the best shorter books I've listened to in a long time.
The murder/whodunit story is just a subplot so the Scooby style unmasking scene could be seen as lacking However, this should be forgiven as the main story is about Dev's coming of age, meeting people, good and bad and being a thoroughly decent chap along the way.
Chilling and moving as only Stephen King can do so well.
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