Book Review: Stephen King’s Joyland

Stephen King is, by me and many other readers, a hugely celebrated and popular author, and for good reason. He long ago mastered the horror genre in all its forms, from human psychological matters to supernatural happenings and then to a combination of both. Joyland is one of the latter, and although the ghost element isn’t as heavy as you may expect from the cover and from King’s reputation, the book should be a successful read for all and especially for young adults.

joylandDevin Jones is a broken-hearted college student who decides to spend a summer working at Joyland, a seasonal amusement park in North Carolina. He expected the long hours and hot work, but not the ghost of a murdered girl in the Horror House…

Of Stephen King’s many books, Joyland is in the most Point Horror style, with its emphasis on the concerns of a twenty one year-old young man complemented by the chilling element often forgotten about for pages on end before the reader is reminded of it in a surprising way. Although it is easy to sometimes think that the more ‘normal’ side of Devin’s life is focused on too much, it is never boring and, in a way, it means that the more ghostly and murderous elements of the plot are even more exciting; it is also extremely important that Devin lets us into the psyche and workings of the park, for reasons you may not realise until near the end…

Devin’s voice and explanations of things are always easy to read and interesting, and the way foreshadowing is used in a very clever way is as you would expect from King. The end section (the last 40-50 pages) is extremely fast-paced and gripping, and I ended up staying awake late before an early start because I absolutely had to know how it might all work out. Luckily it was conclusive and satisfactory enough to justify this!

I only gave the book four of five stars on Goodreads because it occasionally felt as though King’s skill could have taken things further and it felt as though there could have been more consistently creepy elements thrown in to keep it moving. Otherwise, Joyland is thoroughly enjoyable and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for some easygoing crime fiction to lounge around with this summer.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Stephen King’s Joyland

  1. Charles Ardai July 12, 2013 / 10:34 AM

    Hi, Charlotte — thanks for the review! Just to clarify one thing, though: while it’s true that we are proud to publish pulp fiction in the old style, our books should *not* have any printing anomalies. Of course, when you print a million copies of anything, at least one or two are bound to get misprinted in some way, and you seem to be the unlucky soul who got one of those copies — but you should not assume that’s the way it was meant to be, and if you would like a replacement for your copy, we’ll be glad to do that.

    Best regards,
    Charles Ardai
    Editor, Hard Case Crime

    • charlottetobitt July 12, 2013 / 11:32 AM

      Hi Charles, thanks for your comment and for the clarification- I’ll make sure it’s cleared up and I totally understand!

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