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Summary

"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

Critic reviews

"A beautiful book, warm and honest, about a boy becoming a man, and his tempered transformation really does pack a punch… In short, Joyland is a joy." (Niall Alexander, Tor)
"An engrossing and ultimately uplifting tale" (Rhian Drinkwater, SFX)
" Joyland describes being young with the necessary vigour, and the slow agony with which a broken heart heals with the necessary tenderness." Laurence Phelan, The Independent)
"What makes King special is that he's an unusually imaginative horror writer who's as interested in characterisation as he is in fright." (Tom Cox, Daily Express)

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What listeners say about Joyland

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King in his best Shawshank or Stand By Me mode

I was sad to finish reading this, as I was enjoying it so much! My only criticism was that it was too short. Oh and the front cover is horribly misleading.

This is a Coming Of Age story, not a ghost story or a thriller or a horror! Be warned!

It's all the more touching and beautiful because of it.

I loved this book! And the narration was some of the best I've heard.

I would recommend this to anyone!

8 people found this helpful

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Decent book, lacklustre narration.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Decent, if a little by-the-numbers King fare, but the narration is awful. Michael Kelly seems disinterested a lot of the time, and his one-note performance had me struggling to keep focused on the story.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

Any additional comments?

I was thrown (not for the first time but different author) by the amazing reviews on audible and a 4.4 overall rating for this book - putting into perspective, The Stand and 11.22.63 are both on 4.5. So I was quite excited.
What I experienced was much anticipation to begin with and a gradual feeling of 'what on earth is going on here, surely there's more to this story...'. I rewound so many times as I kept drifting off and wondered if (assumed tbh, I mean come on, this is Stephen King, it must be me that's wrong) I'd missed something really critical and clever but I just hadn't.
I don't understand the other reviews, sorry, as I didn't think this was particularly good. It's a 'coming of age' gentle story that I found dull. The narrator was okay but quite monotonous and much of the time sounded bored.
But I guess you can't please everyone all of the time.
Just to be clear - Stephen King is my favourite author of all time and I've had his next book preordered since it was advertised, ready to read in June. I have not written this lightly.

4 people found this helpful

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A great tale told well

If you could sum up Joyland in three words, what would they be?

An entrancing tale with suspense and nostalgia

Any additional comments?

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.

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So so

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."

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Superb


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.

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Another great short story

I have listed to 20+ books from Stephen King and I have to say that his short story's are very quick becoming my favourite and this one very close to the top and a great way to get into Stephen King book's if the long ones seem a bit dongting

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Great King story well read

Really enjoyed it. Engaging....well read, soothing voice. Unsettling at times but quite gentle in pace. Great, thank you.

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Awesome read 👏 👌

Another Excellent quality book by the Master himself. gripping read throughout. Would highly recommend this title.

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A touching ghost story, not a horror book

A beautifully told story, evocative of a stage of life and an era in our times. The ghosts do not feature prominently but they play a part in a tale that is part detective story, part about love, and the goings on of an old-style fairground.

Michael Kelly is a fantastic narrator and we know already that Stephen King can tell stories.

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  • Janie
  • 20-07-13

King's the best story teller in the world.

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.

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  • Cik Bedah
  • 17-07-14

Doug Stamper of House of Cards reading this book!

If you could sum up Joyland in three words, what would they be?

Michael Kelly's narration is amazing. The story is meh, but Micheal Kelly (aka Doug Stamper of House of Cards) made the book.

If you’ve listened to books by Stephen King before, how does this one compare?

Story is meh. Go listen to 11.22.63 -that's a better book.

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

All of them. Especially when he is Devin Jones.

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

The fur moment.

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  • Jo
  • 16-03-14

Great Book well read

A great Stephen King story with believable characters and an intriguing narrative. So well read. Loved it!

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  • W
  • 05-02-14

BORED TO TEARS

What would have made Joyland better?

This must rate as one of SK's worst books - a naive and gullible goodie-goodie main character of the 'o shucks' variety coupled with a storyline that reads like the diary of someone that stayed in bed to avoid anything happening to him and a narrator that sounds as if he is selling sweets to three-year olds - made me gave up half-way.

stay with the earlier SK books.

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen King again?

yes, the old stuff

How did the narrator detract from the book?

see above

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

none

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  • Amanda
  • 09-01-14

Loved it couldn't put it down

What did you love best about Joyland?

The writing style. The story was also pretty good

What other book might you compare Joyland to and why?

None that I can think of

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

Loved Devon the main character and the Carnies

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!! Could not put it down