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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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • s
  • 11-03-13

Enjoyable Listen from Start to End

This isn't your typical suspense driven horror story - it's more of a character piece about a somewhat confused college student who manages to find direction from a job at a Carolina-Coast amusement park. Of course, it wouldn't be a King novel without a murder mystery to tie it all together. Perfect narration, with a story that never looses its steam.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

King Fans Rejoice

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I am biased, I think Stephen King is a Master of his craft...so I expected to love this story and I certainly did. I have read everything Mr. King has written and admit my pleasure of being scared out of my wits has diminished with age, so this was even more enjoyable to listen to. There is no graphic violence, good mystery/ghost story, a love story and interesting characters. I didn't want the story to end. I think the only reason I didn't give it five stars across the board is that the ending was a bit predictable. But again, I admit, I liked the ending just fine. Narrators can really make or break it, so I was very pleased with Michael Kelly.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable

What did you love best about Joyland?

the details, the narration. King's use of dialog has reached Elmore Leonard skill level.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The story itself was very entertaining, but i would say that it does not pace itself very well. I found that i enjoyed listening to it, but it really isn't until the last third of the book that it gets really, really interesting.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not enough meat on the bones of this story

I've been hoping to find another Stephen King novel that is as amazing as 11-22-63. Unfortunately, Joyland is not it. Joyland is about a college student, Devin, who spends his summer working at a seaside amusement park. A murder took place in the park many years earlier and the park is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of the murdered girl.

The story had good bones with characters that started to get interesting and a mystery that started to get intriguing. However, there just wasn't enough meat on the bones of the plotline. The relationships between the characters did not evolve and the mystery was solved too quickly. I was left wondering and wanting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Story of Murder, Lost Souls, and Life Found

Would you listen to Joyland again? Why?

Yes. Stephen King's story unfolds as a 21-yr old college student begins his summer job at an amusement park. The story is of lost love, friendship, betrayal, heroism, and learning to trust. The setting is an amusement park where an unsolved murder occurred a few years earlier. The college kid is a lost soul...the love of his life has dumped him and he is trying to figure out what to do with his life. There other lost souls...including a cranky old "carnie" that berates everyone, the owner of the financially dying Joyland, and maybe too the ghost of the murdered girl.

Stephen King's storytelling rolls out in first-person and it feels like the young man is sitting next to you on a long airplane flight quietly telling his story just to you.

The dialogue was well written - in just a few short words Stephen King leaves the reader with an intimate set of details so cleverly strung you can see and hear and even taste the air of the amusement park...and just maybe you are one of the chosen to glimpse the outline of a ghost.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The layers of the story kept me listening without interruption... Will the truth behind the murder at the amusement park be solved? Is the fortune teller psychic... or a fake? Is there a ghost at the park? All these unfold as background story to the young man's struggle to get over being dumped by his first love.

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

Main character speech pattern is perfect. So true to form for a 21 yr old character mooning over lost love; stress to make decisions on friendships; and descriptions of what it's like to work like a "Hound Dog" during hot and hectic summer days. The reader did excellent job with all the characters. Young and old, male and female... crusty old carnie workers and librarians... each personality came thru his voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Joyland - where lives are lost and found

Any additional comments?

I stayed away from Stephen King books as they scared me too much (The Shinning...) but came back for Joyland...and so glad I did. The story is a simple straightforward telling - yet so rich with complexity of back-story layers, realistic settings, and unique personalities.

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A little bit of everything

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Great story and just enough creep factor.

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

I haven't listened to him before and he was amazing.

Any additional comments?

If you are looking for monsters and gore this one isn't it, but I promis you would be missing out if you don't read it. It is a ghost story/who dunnit with a little bit of magic and yes King fans, some love. If I had the time, I would have have curled up on a Saturday and listened to the whole thing at once.

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A nice quick story

Any additional comments?

Another moving story. I really like the characters in this story. He always makes you see them as friends.

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  • Laura
  • EVERETT, WA, United States
  • 10-16-13

Great Listen

I really enjoyed King's Joyland. I had seen some negative ratings, and wasn't sure what to expect. Joyland exceeded my expectations in every way. It is one of my favorite King stories now, up there on my list by Bag of Bones. I felt like Joyland was a lot like Bag of Bones, though I can't exactly put my finger on why. It might be the first person point of view, the great characters, the element of a child who can see what others can not, and the relationship of the protagonist to the child. In any case, I had the same feelings when i listen to Joyland when I listened to bag of Bones. I listen (or read) to Bag of Bones usually twice a year, sometimes 3 times. I can see myself adding Joyland to my repeat listen list.

Michael Kelly did an excellent job narrating. He was perfect, perfect inflection, perfect tone, perfect voice all around. I expecially appreciated how he read the children and female characters. Many men read female voices as nasal and valley girl, which totally ruins the story for me. Kelly did a great job, and I could enjoy the story. In fact, I felt the narration added to the story rather than just disappeared into it.

So, I went back and read some of the negative reviews, and they mostly seem to be a negative reaction to the fact that Joyland isn't a blood and guts, scary HORROR story. As if horror is ALL that Kind writes. King has never written ONLY blood and guts scary horror. He writes fantasy and sci-fi to horror to the strange and fantastic. I would say all his writing has elements that carry through all of his works, but not all of them are the same. Joyland is a ghost story, but that's not the only story. There is also a story about a young man and a woman, a young man and a sick child, an amusement park, and so on. King's works are always stories within stories within people and Joyland fits that mold. If you like King for his well drawn characters, fantastic yet somehow down to earth and believable plots and settings and the way he can make those people and places come alive, then you will probably like Joyland. If you are only interested in blood and guts and scary horror, you might not like Joyland at all.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LoriBee
  • Northern California
  • 10-11-13

Narrator Made This Story!

I thought this story was narrated beautifully. Michael Kelly did an awesome job with the characters and made the story more compelling than it might have been had I been reading it instead.

Love the characters in this book--one of King's talents--and the carnival setting made for a fun read. This one won't leave you shaking in your boots like The Shining, but it's got enough of the classic King chill to keep loyal fans happy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story

Would you listen to Joyland again? Why?

Yes, the story was great and the reading was spot on.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Joyland?

I loved when you began to learn the language of Carnies.

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

The protagonist

Who was the most memorable character of Joyland and why?

I really liked the in keeper. She plays a small part but I liked her humor and way of speaking.

Any additional comments?

You should listen to this book. Well worth the time.