Joyland by Stephen King

Stephen King

Despite the title, there’s no joy to be found in reading Joyland.

That was bad, wasn’t it? Let’s start over.


That probably wasn’t much better.

Joyland was a huge letdown for me. After all of the talk about this book when it was being released because it was a new King novel and because it wasn’t released in e-format, I was kind of really looking forward to it. Now granted, the only King novel I’ve read so far was The Stand, but that was a pretty good book. I figured Joyland would also be good, but also quick and scary. I don’t even LIKE scary books, but I was willing to risk it here.

Well if you’re avoiding this book because you don’t like to be scared, have no fear: There is ZERO scary-times in this book. And not only was it not even remotely horrifying, but it was SO SLOW. And sloppy. It took me almost 5 days to judge through this book, which is less than 300 pages. College student Devin gets hired on at the Joyland amusement park for the summer, hoping to heal a broken heart. Immediately upon getting hired, he hears about the shocking unsolvedΒ murder that took place right in the park years ago, and about the ghost that supposedly haunts it. While spending the summer fixing rides and selling concessions, he tries to learn more about the killing. Sometime in all of this, he befriends a woman and her sick son.

So, Devin is a good guyΒ and generally likable, except for the occasional bout of angst over his ex-girlfriend. He’s a good employee and makes friends working at Joyland. The side-story of his befriending the sick kid was sweet, but forgettable. That’s really it… the mystery of the murder kind of lingers in the background – he doesn’t even seem particularly invested or interested in uncovering any truths, and the big reveals at the end were extremely predictable and anti-climactic. And that’s coming from someone who is NEVER able to predict things in books or shows. I thought initially that this would be a good beach read – I was wrong. If you bring this to the beach to read, you might fall asleep and wake up with a sunburn.

So yeah. Big letdown. I KNOW that Stephen King can, and has, done better.

Sarah Says: 2 stars



  1. Not gonna lie Sarah – I basically SUPER SKIMMED this because I do want to read it eventually but SERIOUSLY?! I kept hearing that it’s a throwback to his older stuff & had really high hopes.

    King is REALLY hit or miss for me, though. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one. 😦


  2. When someone publishes so freaking much, he’s GOT to have a few misses. At least this one was short, especially by his standards! But yes, I probably will try it eventually, because King.


  3. I haven’t read this shockingly. I know I am a huge King fan and even am going to see him speak in September (yea I had to throw that in). I had been reading positive reviews about this so I am surprised. There are some king books I just can’t stand. Lisey’s Story! Yuck!
    Angela’s Anxious Life


  4. Expectations officially lowered! I don’t feel guilty any more leaving it a little longer on my TBR pile. Although do you think he was intentionally aiming for Joyland to read as a bad pulp novel? However, even those can be a lot of fun, and from your review Joyland sounds a bit dullsville!


    1. My main problem was that it was dull. Bad writing or whatever I might have been able to handle, but there was SO little action. And I guess for a King novel I was expecting a bit more action and creepy times.


  5. I felt the exact same way as you! I haven’t read any King books though, so I’ll probably read another one and see why so many love his writing. But, I didn’t get why Joyland got so many good reviews as I felt it was misrepresented as a mystery. I am just posting my review. Will link back to yours πŸ™‚


    1. I don’t really understand the good reviews either. I think that I’m extra annoyed with it because for once I kind of WANTED a scary read, and this wasn’t it at all. If it had been marketed as the coming-of-age type of story it actually is, I probably wouldn’t have wasted my time.

      I do recommend The Stand by Stephen King. It’s REALLY long, but it’s also pretty good. I’m looking forward to exploring more of his works…


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