- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Publication date: 6/4/2013
- Format: CD
- Read by: Michael Kelly
- Length: 7 hours and 33 minutes
- Source: Audiobook provided by the publisher for review
“Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book....Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved” (Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime).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. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.
I have been a Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember and have read so many of his books and loved them. This book, though not as much of a thriller as I expected it to be, was fantastic! As the synopsis says, it was beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved learning Devin's story and listening to it all unfold. There are many side characters that play very important roles in his life. For once, I didn't figure out who the killer was until almost right before it's revealed and that's saying a lot for me. This isn't one of my favorites of his, but I did still really enjoy it.
Normally this would be the part of the review where I talk about the main character, but since Devin is telling his story to us, I don't really know how to explain him. We basically are going along with him as he grows up, deals with love, loss, and heartbreak. Along with that we have a murder mystery, but though it really brings the story to where it's going, it's more in the background then you would think. I guess that Devin is the type of person I would be friends with. He cares about people in such a beautiful way, and even though he has suffered hurt and heartbreak, he is still a great person, and willing to extend his heart out to people again and again.
There are a lot of secondary characters that I really grew to like. Annie and Mike being the ones that I liked most and had such an important part in this story. I also really loved Erin and Tom, Madam Fortuna, and in a weird way, Wendy. Wendy being Mike's first love who broke his heart. Mike was definitely my favorite though, and he worked his way into my heart the same way that he did to Devin. He really made the story for me and even managed to pull some emotion out of me.
I listened to the audio version of this and I have to say that it was a great choice. The narrator was great at the different voices in a large cast of characters. I always knew who was supposed to be talking when. I thought he was also the perfect voice for Devin. I really felt as if he was telling me his story, not like someone was narrating it for him. I don't know if that makes sense, but I know what I mean. I could imagine sitting there having coffee and chatting with Devin as if he were a real person telling his story. It was easy to get wrapped up in the story and not want to stop.
I loved that a lot of this story took part in an amusement park. It was fun to imagine the scenery and the things going on. Even though the story is centered around Joyland, I really more see it as a branch of the story. Mostly, I think it was about the beauty in love, life, and even death. I loved the friendships Devin formed. I loved the broken person he started as, and who he became. He was a strong person even if he didn't realize it himself. This wasn't really creepy or even that much of a thriller. It was just a beautifully told story with some tragic events. I really enjoyed it.
* A copy of this audiobook was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.