Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)'s Reviews > Joyland

Joyland by Stephen King
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really liked it

Just because you've read one Stephen King book certainly doesn't mean you've read them all! Set in a carnival (which is originally where King wanted to set The Shining,) we follow young Devin Jones as he works as a carnie for the summer, trying to get over his first heartbreak while solving a long-standing murder mystery about Joyland's Horror House-- a dark ride where once two lovers went in, and only one came out.

This isn't an all out balls-to-the-wall horror story like we're used to with King (I'll wait for Doctor Sleep for that), but it definitely shows off his writing. It's easy to forget how difficult it is to craft a story, and especially how difficult it is to create characters that are real people. But this has always been something that King excels at, at least for me, and this novella is no exception. It's also a reminder that it doesn't take King 1000 pages to write an excellent story.

Joyland has all the trappings of classic noir. It has a suffering protagonist, a femme fatale, a red herring, and of course, a mystery involving murder most foul. This story could have easily turned into Scooby Doo and company at the haunted funhouse, but it stays real and I was kicking myself at the end for not figuring out whodunit sooner.

The story is told with a sense of urgency that keeps pushing you through (I ended up reading it in one sitting), wanting to know what's next for Devin. He is a very relatable character; I think we all recognize parts of him in ourselves. It is interesting to have an older Devin narrate his time at Joyland from somewhere in the future. It gives him an interesting perspective, especially against the backdrop of Mike Ross, whom we know won't survive the book.

Of course, there are the classic bits of supernatural, a child with some sort of "sight" and actual ghosts, though these ghosts seem much more like the type we might encounter in real life, if you believe in that sort of thing... Ultimately, this is an often emotional book that, murder aside, is more about growing up, growing old, and those who will never get the chance to do either.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 7, 2013 – Shelved
June 7, 2013 – Finished Reading

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