7 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Joyland by Stephen King

JoylandTitle: Joyland

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller (Ghosts/Horror)

Publisher: Hard Case Crime
Publication Date: June 2013
Paperback: 283 Pages

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Stand alone or series: Standalone novel

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher (UK)

Format (e- or p-): Print (there are no ebooks for this title – more on that below in “Additional Thoughts”)

Why did I read this book: When it comes to Stephen King, people tend to fall into two camps: those who love his work, and those who do not. I am a member of the former camp, so I was intrigued when I learned about this forthcoming pulp-noir paperback from a smaller publisher. That said, I almost didn’t review this book because of the incredibly annoying statement from King concerning his reasoning for preventing this from being available in ebook format (which is, in my opinion, idiotic and cutting out a large swath of the market – but it’s not as though Stephen King needs to worry about the access or the money, right?). But again, more on that after the review.


In the summer of 1973, Devin Jones trades his job hosing down dishes at the University of New Hampshire commons for a few months at Heaven Bay, North Carolina – a seaside town, home to a second-tier amusement park called Joyland. It’s a summer of firsts for Devin – the first time he gets his heart broken (by his very first love, the cruelly indifferent Wendy); the first time he learns carny Talk; the first time he dons “the fur” and finds something he’s truly great at doing. It’s also the summer that Devin stumbles upon the legacy of a young woman’s murder in Joyland’s house of horrors, and her ghost, who is rumored to haunt the ride. In those long summer days of 1973, Devin makes lifelong pals with coworkers Erin Cook and Tom Kennedy, and also befriends a sick young boy on the verge of death, as well as the boy’s desperate mother. As those long days of summer turn to the colder and shorter days of autumn, Devin slowly gets over his broken heart, and comes closer to the truth of Joyland’s legacy of murder – but at great cost.

It’s a summer of firsts and a summer of lasts, that summer of 1973 – and for better or for worse, Devin will never, ever be the same.

The newest novel from the prolific Stephen King, Joyland is…not what I was expecting. We often talk about reader expectation here at The Book Smugglers, usually in the context of the hype preceding a book, or the marketing campaign around said book. In the case of Joyland, from the vague synopsis and pulpy cover, I confess that I was expecting something gloriously ostentatious, something excessive. A horror story about a haunted carnival ground, in which Evil itself has manifested in the murder of unsuspecting pretty young things, perhaps. Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered this most certainly was not the case. Though Joyland is overtly pulpy in its package – including Hard Case Crime’s gorgeous cover, true-to-format pocketable paperback, and delightfully tawdry catch lines (“All-time Best-selling Author Stephen King Returns with a Novel of Carny Life – AND DEATH”) – this is not really a horror novel, or a ghost story, or a hardboiled mystery.

No, in truth, Joyland has more in common with King’s non-horror works (“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” “The Body” or “Sometimes They Come Back” immediately come to mind).1 It’s the story of a twenty-something young man in the early 1970s, grappling with first love and first heartbreak, his first meaningful and life-changing job, his first major life-changing decisions. Of course, while a very human coming-of-age novel, the book is also slightly supernatural, and bears the keen, bloodied tang of murder. That said, it’s certainly not the supernatural tale of a traveling show on the edge of Good and Evil (ala HBO’s Carnival), or serial murder on the boardwalk that I was expecting.

And you know what? I’m glad. Hell, I’m thrilled that the story does NOT go the garish, cheap thrill route with the amusement park – because, really, it’s so easy and obvious to extrapolate the horror of the carnival and make the entire park twisted, or haunted, or all those who work there evil.2 In truth, Joyland is kind of a love letter to those last boardwalk-like amusement parks; the ones that aren’t corporate like Disney or Knott’s or Universal Studios. Joyland is a magical, unique kind of place in this book, one where the employees sell fun (to borrow a phrase from Joyland’s aging founder and owner). It’s the kind of place we might remember from childhood, and yearn for as adults.3

So Joyland is a novel very much tied to a sense of place and a time (the early 1970s), but it’s also a character novel. Narrated in the first person retrospectively by a much older (and wiser) Devin, we watch a young man bid his childhood adieu, with glimpses at his future and the future of other characters. I am a fan of King’s retrospective writer narrators (again, “The Body” comes to mind), and Devin’s voice is as sympathetic as it is earnest – from his yearnings to have sex for the first time, to his melancholy following the cruel rejection of his first love, Dev is a very real, human young man with a penchant for the dramatic. The other characters are more of the archetypal variety – the fatally ill boy and his beautiful but fractured ice queen of a mother, the fortune-teller who may be a fraud with her over the top accent but actually does posses “the Gift,” and so on and so forth. Still, this is Devin’s story, and the archetypes aren’t bad, simply familiar. There’s comfort in that familiarity, and King plays these archetypes with formidable skill.

Of course, what is a Stephen King novel without a supernatural horror element? The murder of a young woman and her unfortunate ghost is as paranormal as Joyland gets, however, this part of the story is firmly is secondary to Devin’s personal arc. The murder mystery and the killer’s true identity are nicely executed and thankfully not obvious (the first suspect for the killer is not the person who actually ends up being the killer), and I love that the book comes to a dramatic confrontational conclusion (think: ferris wheel ride during a tropical storm – that is not a metaphor). I do wish there was a little more of the murder and the mystery in the mix, and can’t help but yearn for a little more of the supernatural or the pulp – there’s that pesky weight of reader expectation, again.

But ultimately? Joyland isn’t about ghosts or murders or unmasking a killer. At heart, it’s a book about growing up and moving on. It’s a bittersweet tale of love and heartbreak, sadness and healing. And aren’t those the best kind of stories?

One of the best Stephen King novels I’ve read in years, I thoroughly enjoyed Joyland – and it’s in the running for one of my notable books for 2013. Absolutely recommended.

Notable Quotes/Parts: From Chapter 1:

I had a car, but on most days in that fall of 1973 I walked to Joyland from Mrs Shoplaw’s Beachside Accommodations in the town of Heaven’s Bay. It seemed like the right thing to do. The only thing, actually. By early September, Heaven Beach was almost completely deserted, which suited my mood. That fall was the most beautiful of my life. Even forty years later I can say that. And I was never so unhappy, I can say that, too. People think first love is sweet, and never sweeter than when that first bond snaps. You’ve heard a thousand pop and country songs that prove the point; some fool got his heart broke. Yet that first broken heart is always the most painful, the slowest to mend, and leaves the most visible scar. What’s so sweet about that?

Additional Thoughts: I cannot finish this review without addressing Stephen King’s frustrating 180 regarding ebooks with this particular title. King said:

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

I understand the sentiment, and wanting the book to harken back to those pulpy paperbacks of yesteryear. That said, it strikes me as both narcissistic and backwards to deliberately cut out a majority section of the market by choosing NOT to bring Joyland out as an ebook (both from a monetary perspective, and an access perspective, especially from a smaller publisher).

The last part of that statement, the “folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book” is the kicker, though. I’m going to say it, one more time, with feeling: EBOOKS ARE ACTUAL BOOKS. THEY ARE REAL BOOKS. YOU BUY THEM JUST LIKE YOU BUY PRINT BOOKS.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Rating: 7 – Very Good

Reading Next: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Buy the Book:

(click on the links to purchase)

No ebook available

  1. Heck, technically Joyland feels very much in line with that much buzzed about – and apparently much despised by the blogosphere – “New Adult” category of fiction.
  2. Joyland is not, for instance, the carnival scenes of Quicksilver Highway, another King creation.
  3. On a side note, anyone else a King fan? Doesn’t the beginning of this book sound familiar, the setup of the young boy and his mother on a seaside town feel like The Talisman‘s Arcadia Funland?


  • Jamie
    June 10, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I think ALL of King’s books have tie-ins with other books. There is a two-headed parrot in the Eyes of the Dragon and in the Talisman. If this book is reminiscent of the Talisman, I may have to read it. It is easily my favorite of his books, and something I bonded with my mother over. We always joke about pee on our popcorn at the movie theater, for those who’ve read and remember Wolf’s scene in the movie theater.

  • Katherine H
    June 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

    After the booksmuggler review on his book ‘It,’ I’ve avoided Stephen King’s work like the plague. His comment on ebooks touched a nerve too – why do people act as though ebooks are somehow inferior to physical copies? I think they’re amazingly convenient and altogether fun to use!

  • Patricia Eimer
    June 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I love when Stephen King does things that aren’t out and out horror but the ebook thing? It’s getting old. He’s starting to turn into a crotchety old man with it.

  • Eliza
    June 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

    A possibly creepy carnival*? Sign me up. This sounds really good and better yet, for me, is the fact that this isn’t a horror book ’cause I’m a super chicken when it comes to those. This might well be my gateway Stephen King novel. I do have Under the Dome still waiting to be read – guess I’d better get on that before the mini-series starts on TV this summer.

    I get what he’s trying to do with the paperback. Also, awesome cover & I love that it’s first released in the pulp fiction paperback and that smaller size rather than first as a hardback. It’s a look and feel that’s hard to duplicate in an e-book. However, he could have approached it better – like say that he wants to capture that look and feel of the ’50s pulp novels for the initial launch and it will be released later as an e-book (which it sounds like, ultimately, it will). The attitude is a wee bit off-putting but not enough to make me not read his book.

    My negative on the whole e-book thing is that you’re at the mercy of the source where your books are stored (e.g., Amazon). If they delete your account, you’ve lost all the books you bought. This has happened to me with Audible and all my audio books. I’m still trying to get them to restore my account and my access to the books I bought and my remaining credit. Aargh! So right now I’m not a fan but the crabby neighbor chasing kids off her lawn.

    *need to add carnival to my catnip time travel book.

  • jenn aka the picky girl
    June 10, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I’m so grateful for this review. I love Hard Case Crime, but I don’t read King because I can’t do scary books. I was hoping this would be more pulp fiction but didn’t want to take the chance I’d be up all night ever night shaking in my boots.

    Great review, and I’ll be picking this up soon.

  • Jessica
    June 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Stephen King isn’t publishing exclusively in print just for the sake of nostalgia. He’s also trying to drive people to purchase books from brick-and-mortar stores. I applaud that, though I’m not sure if it will work.

    And his small-press publisher fully supports the decision: http://boingboing.net/2013/05/29/why-cling-to-the-past-exclusi.html

  • Tyler Anne
    June 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I’m glad that Joyland isn’t a cheap thrill ride either. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a darker version of a Scooby Doo episode. I’m glad it’s closer to Shawshank and The Body. I’ll definitely put it on my reading list!

  • Linda W
    June 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    You make me want to read this now.

  • Thea
    June 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Really quickly on the ebook thing (and then I will get off the soapbox, I swear) @Jessica – Thanks for the link to the op ed piece from the publisher! I understand the nostalgia factor and that reasoning behind the Hard Case Crime brand, and the decision to publish the book in paperback. That said, the reasoning behind keeping it out of ebook format is deeply flawed, IMO. First off, brick and mortar stores also DO sell ebooks – and if the urge is to protect brick and mortar stores, this seems a little counter-intuitive given that Amazon and other online retail giants are selling the paperback at significant discounted prices with which indie stores cannot compete (I guarantee that the vast majority of sales for Joyland are coming through Amazon). Secondly, in order to save brick and mortar stores, I windowing or completely removing the availability of the ebook is not a viable solution – this has been tried before by publishers and has failed. If we want to save our indie bookstores, we have to help them figure out how to effectively sell ebooks; pretending that ebooks don’t exist isn’t going to solve anything.

    Finally, to the op ed piece’s “nostalgia” argument – I get it. But one can still have that awesome nostalgia item in pulp paperback format AND have the ebook available simultaneously, thus serving an entirely different part of the market (who might not have access to the print book, or even have a local brick and mortar store nearby). Personally (and this is purely personal and anecdotal)? I would have purchased the ebook for instant gratification, but also probably would have purchased the print book to have on my physical shelf because I am a sucker for a beautiful book or nostalgia item.

    But that’s just me. I love my local indie bookstores, and I want them to survive and thrive – but restricting publication of titles in digital formats (that is, formats that people WANT to use to purchase and consume their content) is not the solution.

  • hapax
    June 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm


    You do?

    You must be getting your e-books from somebody different than all the publishers I know.

    I don’t buy my e-books; I rent them (at a ridiculous price).

    I can’t re-sell them. I can’t give them away. I can’t circulate them at my library, without paying outrageous fees and agreeing to onerous restrictions from a third-party vendor.

    If I ever turn on the wireless function of my e-reader (which I will never do), the “seller” of any or all of my “books” can reach into the shelves and make them disappear.

    None of which is Stephen King’s concern, of course, but I care a great deal. And while I “lease” hundreds of e-books, I refuse to pay more than two bucks at most for the privilege.

    As for King’s issues… /shrug/ He is entitled to put any restrictions on his books that he likes (and his publisher is willing to accept), up to and including printing them all in invisible ink on baby harp seal hide. It might be a short-sighted and counter-productive marketing move, but he certainly doesn’t need the money or the publicity.

    They’re HIS books, after all; nobody is ENTITLED to read them, in any format, language, or price point that they want.

  • darchole
    June 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    @hapax While I do think that’s true of Amazon (and it’s also why I keep a copy of every e-book I own on something Amazon can’t reach), it is not true of other sellers or publishers. Baen for one allows any purchased e-book to be downloaded to anything as many times as you want. Baen also sells only DRM free e-books, and in the agreement for Baen e-books to be sold on Amazon, forced Amazon to provide them DRM free too. While it’s true that Baen might not always have access to a book if the rights revert, that does not change the fact you own the e-book.

  • Thea
    June 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Hapax – At the risk of derailing the review further, my $0.02.

    You must be getting your e-books from somebody different than all the publishers I know.

    It depends on where and from whom you are purchasing (ok, “leasing”) your ebooks. I buy ebooks from a number of sources – everything from Amazon, the iBookstore, B&N, and Kobo, to places like Baen or Smashwords. While the major e-retailers certainly lock you into their formats and ecosystems, I’ve happily directly downloaded and sideloaded DRM free ebooks onto my devices (incidentally, because of the sideloading of files, places like Baen can’t “reach into” my device and make my purchases disappear).

    While reselling ebooks right now isn’t possible, it’s certainly something on the horizon (remember that Amazon news from earlier this year), and one that retailers and startups are exploring. You can share your ebook library with others if you are so inclined (Ana and I do it all the time via Kobo; I do it with my family members via Nook or Kindle), provided you don’t mind sharing a login or using a lending library type of model (B&N allows for lending to other nook users for certain titles, for example). You can check ebooks out from traditional library systems via distributors like OverDrive, or even try out groovy new rental models for free using services like Freading, or and there’s always the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (including big name bestsellers like the Harry Potter books or the Hunger Games trilogy).

    I turn on the wireless function for my iPad and Nook, and sync my accounts across various devices (including my phone). To me, the convenience of having those books everywhere I am, anywhere in the world, without having to visit a bookstore is a big deal and one I’m willing to pay more for.

    As for King’s issues… /shrug/ He is entitled to put any restrictions on his books that he likes (and his publisher is willing to accept), up to and including printing them all in invisible ink on baby harp seal hide. It might be a short-sighted and counter-productive marketing move, but he certainly doesn’t need the money or the publicity.

    They’re HIS books, after all; nobody is ENTITLED to read them, in any format, language, or price point that they want.

    Very true. As a reader and a fan, though, I’m entitled to my opinion, and my opinion is that SK’s lack of an ebook for Joyland is counter-intuitive, backwards, and moronic.

    And I care deeply about access and attitudes towards ebooks, so when someone as big as Stephen King decides not to release a title digitally or posits that ebooks aren’t “actual books” – especially considering SK’s early days pioneering digital-first/digital-only with Riding the Bullet – it’s a big deal.

  • hapax
    June 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    @Thea — I’m sorry, I re-read my comment, and I realize that it came across as a lot more hostile than wry, which was my intent (and, as everyone knows, Intent Is Magic…)

    I don’t have a “side” in the format wars. I read in digital, I read in print. My concern is getting books into the hands of readers. Because of the populations I work with most, I am more worried about those who don’t have the money, the tech savvy, and / or the physical capacity to access ebooks; but I don’t mean to denigrate the concerns of those who, for whatever reason (or simple personal preference) prefer the digital format.

    I do agree that there are faint signs of hope in increased ownership of e-books — Baen, and SmashWords (and I’d add Tor and Harlequin) being excellent role models, ones that far too few publishers are following. I would NOT put the various retail outlet “lending” programs or OverDrive in that category; in my view, these are actually mechanisms for publishers to assert and systematize greater control over digital media rather than steps forward.

    I certainly agree that you have more than a right but even more, a responsibility to criticize King’s decisions, if you consider them bad for readers, or even if you just don’t like them.

    I just wish that certain other bloggers — not here — who style themselves as champions of accessibility would express even a fraction of the same ire towards the many authors who choose not to publish in print at all. 🙁

  • Paulo Gonçcalves
    June 11, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I am against ebooks. That’s it.

    Why can’t people express themselves against ebooks? Having these rantings against e-book haters is ridicolous because you are doing the same. I hate them because one day you will have no books printable or have them at ridiculous prices. One day noone will have a library because they have a ebook reader. That’s too much “science fiction” for me.

    As long as I can I will have books. I have 3000 of them and it’s beautiful. How many of you who have ebooks can say the same thing? How many of you can say that you feel what people who read books feel? The touching of the book, the ink, the smell. That’s experience.

    But that’s okay. Maybe I am a dying breed. Maybe one day you will win the war because you can’t bet on those two horse. Or e-books win or books. Masspaperbacks are already dying. Nowadays only Hardback or Paperback are being released. Maybe like DVD won to CD or tapes, or vinyls. (Yes you can find a couple of vinyls but not everything you like).

    For me… it’s too much feelingless (don’t know if that’s a actual word) thing.

  • Jared
    June 11, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I have a hard time seeing this as anything besides a commercial decision. King was one of the early adopters of ebooks with “The Plant” (remember that? serial ised online fiction) and “Ur” – a Kindle exclusive. His popularity has always allowed him to experiment with formats (the Green Mile was serialised, for example), which is really very cool. More power to him.

    If he now thinks that it makes more sense to shun the ebook market, that makes for an interesting look at the publishing landscape. Are ebooks now so ubiquitous that it makes for edgy commercial sense to avoid them? I know he’s made noises about supporting local indies with it, but given that Amazon and large chains are still carrying the print book, I don’t really see that being a factor.

    Being cynical, my hunch is that Hard Case Crime (my favourite publisher) were damn lucky to get a [second] King book at all. If King and his agent wanted to hold back ebook rights and sell them later, who were HCC to complain?

  • KT Grant
    June 11, 2013 at 4:53 am

    It cracks me up that King won’t put Joyland into digital and wants people to go buy his book in bookstores, but then Joyland is being sold at Amazon.

    The sad thing is, the only bookstore near me I shop at is B&N and everything there is for the Nook. So I would buy Joyland online or wait to read it when it arrives at the library.

    Shouldn’t it be more important that people are reading regardless of he format? Why does it matter if a book is in print or digital? Words are words and the story and the characters are the same whether it’s on a digital screen or on paper.

    Unlike King, the only way some authors can make any money is through digital and not necessarily print since their print royalties are under 7% for most. King doesn’t have to worry about where his next paycheck is coming from so he has the power to be picky.

  • Thea
    June 11, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Lots of interesting discussion here!

    @hapax – No need to apologize at all! And I agree with you – I like to read, regardless of format. I am a bit sensitive to ebook discussions just because I deal with ebooks on a daily basis (day job) and often come across shocking resistance to digital formats for reasons that don’t make sense.

    I completely agree with you in that access is a huge question, and part of the reason why I’m passionate about digital reading is the fact that digitized books can reach much broader audiences. I do agree that print is and always will be an important medium for books – but I also understand digital-only publishing and why it makes sense for some authors, publishers, and types of storytelling (or reference/nonfiction material). All that is to say: if I were an author, I would want my work to be available in as many formats and in as many marketplaces as possible – ebook, print, online, and in physical locations – in order to reach as many readers as possible.

    @Paulo – Fair enough, and that is your personal opinion. I get that and respect it (even though I vehemently disagree with you). Thanks for sharing your viewpoint!

    @Jared – King was actually my first ebook experience (Riding the Bullet way back when)! As I said to hapax earlier, this stings all the more just because SK was a pioneer and proponent of digital formats (amongst other different experimental publishing models) – so when he implies that ebooks aren’t “actual books” it’s a big deal.

    The edgy explanation is an interesting one for King’s lack of an ebook for Joyland. Certainly it has sparked conversation here! Does Hard Case Crime publish and distribute ANY ebooks for their authors? From the BoingBoing piece, I am inclined to say that they do not (but I don’t know). If that is the case, then perhaps your inner cynic is correct – perhaps King retained the ebook rights but has to wait a certain period of time before putting out an ebook version of the book (which will probably happen to much fanfare a year down the line).

    KB – EXACTLY. The brick and mortar/save the small bookstore defense doesn’t really make sense given the online distribution of the paperback, and like I said before, I guarantee that the vast bulk of sales are coming from Amazon.

    And I agree with you re: the age old container/contents debate. The “actual book” is the content of the book; the format is merely the container. (Milk is milk, whether it comes in a bottle or a carton.)

  • Thea
    June 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

    And back to the earlier (non-ebook!) comments:

    Jamie – Absolutely, King’s books have so many intersecting threads (or – if you’re a Dark Tower fan – beams). Even in his movies or television episodes/shows, there’s overlap and callouts to other books (most notably with the Dark Tower). I can remember the first time I noticed one of those intersections – I was reading The Tommyknockers when I was 15 or so, and there’s one part where some of the townspeople are driving and pass by a clown with silver eyes (aka, Pennywise from It). That scared the bejeezus outta me.

    Other than that first part of The Talisman regarding setting, Joyland doesn’t really share too much with Jack, Wolf, and their adventures. (That said, the young boy in Joyland and his relationship with his mother is reminiscent of that relationship in The Talisman.)

    Katherine H – Fair enough! I do think that King’s books are often flawed, but in a way that endears me all the more to his writing. I’m biased, maybe, because I started reading him when I was so young. I completely understand why he’s not for everyone – Ana included in that mix! – and I respect that. All that said, if you’re looking to try a different kind of SK novel (that isn’t necessarily a horror story), I’d give Joyland a try. Or the stories in Different Seasons. Or The Long Walk (well… that’s a horror novel, but a very different kind of horror novel).

    Eliza – YES! Give it a shot! Joyland isn’t King’s best, but it’s a very good book and certainly one that you can ease into without fear of… well, fear. I’d also re-recommend the books listed above (The Long Walk, Different Seasons), and my personal favorite series, The Dark Tower books. Of course, those come with a big caveat (the series is deeply, deeply flawed but the experience of reading the books over the years made it all worth it for me – plus books 2-5 are amazing and among my favorites of all time). I digress! I hope you give Joyland a shot, I’m excited to see what you think!

    Jenn, Tyler Anne, Linda W – Huzzah! I’m glad you’ll be giving this one a try and I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I cannot wait to see what you guys think of Joyland.

  • Lila
    June 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Yes e-books might reach a broader audience, but that also comes from online piracy, meaning that no one is getting any benefit from that. So I applaud Mr. King´s decision, not because I am against e-books but because the sales, however high or low, will directly go to the sellers be that Amazon, or your local shop. Let´s not forget there is a whole world out there, that does not know how a tablet looks like, let alone own one. I do agree an e-book is a book and his statement might be misunderstood and that´s on him, but I don´t want to live in a world where we just copy-paste files in to our brains and computers. I want a wrinkled old paperback lying around in my house collecting dust not because I hate technology and e-books but because I spend my days working with computers ( office job) and I like to think that in my own house I can still feel something and not just belong to the techno-era, staring at bright screens all day. If my reasoning is flawed I´m sorry, but just because someone does not share my views that does not give me the right to call them wrong or flawed. No one is perfect and no one is completely informed about everything, unless you are Wikipedia of course.

  • Emily
    June 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Is it just me? Or does that cover look kitschy? I don’t know. Joyland doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. I’m not a huge horror person. Well, maybe I’ll give it a try one day.
    While not making Joyland part of the ebook sensation–and yes, Stephen King, ebooks are books too, they have the word book in it if you haven’t noticed–I can see what he means. I prefer print books to ebooks–I like the feel of turning the pages, feeling the cover, just feeling the book itself. Stephen King doesn’t want Joyland to go into the technology realm, I guess. But still.
    Anyway, good review!

  • Emily
    June 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

    One question: is this more YA, (LOL, the thought of this compared to all those hyped-up books kind of makes me laugh), adult, or middle grade (now that I think of it, probably adult.) But yeah. I forgot to add that in.

  • Kyla
    July 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I loved this book. I have read almost everything King has written. I don’t have an e-reader, and I doubt I ever will. I like to read a BOOK. That’s just me. King, in the last 10 years or so, has turned out his best work, imo, and I look forward to whatever he has left. 11/22/63 is one of my favourites, but Joyland was a treat to read.

  • lauredhel
    July 18, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Hey, folks, many thanks for acting as though paper book use is a choice for everyone!

    I know exactly how paper books feel, thankyou. Damn painful, and sometimes impossible to read.

    Entitlement hasn’t yet been tested in the courts, so a bald statement that “no-one is entitled to an ebook version” is premature. As the law stands in some countries, a challenge may be really quite likely to succeed, given that simultaneous ebook release is pretty much industry-standard (for the larger publishers at least, and becoming so for small press), and an “unreasonable hardship” claim would be pretty laughable. There just aren’t a lot of other legal defences for refusing to provide access for people with disabilities.

  • Free One Way Links - for real
    February 3, 2014 at 12:01 am

    This is a great book. I listened to the audio book. The narrator did very well. I usually just listen to audiobooks on my commute, but I had to continue listening when I got home!

  • rich
    June 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    absolutely NOT recommended. the ending was far too convenient. the ghost in the haunted house was never fully drawn out to the degree that it should have. but more importantly negative was the ending. i’ll try to avoid a spoiler for anyone who wants to read it, but the way in which someone is saved during a deadly fight was one of the worst endings king has ever written, and he has written many bad endings. for those two people to each have a rare, unusual talent, and for both of those talents to be needed for the ending – i’m just shaking my head at the thought process. it is the epitome of convenience. after all those pages, i was thoroughly disappointed.

    equally disappointing was that the murderer, worried about being caught, foolishly makes a phone call that completely gives himself away. he is not a dumb character, so he had no reason to betray himself to devin. i realize that devin and his friends had been doing some investigating, but it was nothing so substantial that the murderer would feel pressure from what he witnessed. that giveaway was completely unnecessary.

    i would never recommend joyland.

  • Molly Lamoureux
    May 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I applaud King for the “no e-book format” decision. There is a time and place for everything. I guess he figured this story belonged in real book and that is his right as the author. I have to wonder why people feel the need to whine about this. If you only read e-books you are limiting yourself to the books that come out in that format. Not all of them do.

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