I bought this book ages ago and seeing it sat neglected on my shelf, I knew I had to put it to good use! I’m no stranger to Stephen King novels and I was excited to see what this one had in store. Just the stunning cover alone drew me in before I’d even got to the first page!
College student Devin Jones takes a summer job at old-school amusement park Joyland to earn some money and distract him from his broken heart. From the very beginning he becomes fully immersed in Joyland; learning the secret carny language, how the rides and stalls work, the famous introduction to “wearing the fur” and ultimately becoming part of the inner Joyland community.
This leads him to learn about a gruesome murder that happened in the park in The Horror House, which is now supposedly haunted. It is the legend of this terrible crime, as well of the psychic sights of a dying child and a 50/50 fortune teller that set him on a rollercoaster of fate that will change his life forever.
I guess from the cover and the reputation of this best-selling author, I was expecting frights, scares and plenty of thrills. Although there was horror there; murder most foul and a few ghosts, there was actually so much more to the story than that.
Told from Devin’s point of view as an older man looking back, we as the reader are taken on quite a personal journey where Devin learns about love, friendship and more. Aged only twenty-one, it seems like so much happens to young Devin in such a small space in time and I felt as though I were right there with him, reliving the highs and lows of his life.
I don’t often go in for the whole “book-boyfriend” thing but I adored the character of Devin. I thought him to be such a clever, loving, kind-hearted young man, which made his story all the more appealing to read. Stephen King really is a master storyteller, I’m sure you don’t need me to say it. In this book I found myself fully enveloped in the sights and sounds of Joyland as if I really had been there.
On top of Devin’s story; every unique character, each snippet of murder and mystery and each ghostly apparition was cleverly layered together to make this a truly unforgettable novel. Part crime and part coming-of-age tale, Joyland is a moving and thrilling story that you won’t want to put down.