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Joyland

Narrated by: Michael Kelly
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

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Publisher's 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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Loved it

Iv never cried listening to a book before. I did listening to this one. It’s a beautiful book

1 person found this helpful

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Not my loved version of King.

Although this was an enjoyable read and I found it easy to get lost in the story, it didn't have the classic King feel I was hoping for. I haven't read any of his works for a long time so I'm hoping the next novel will bring me back to his story telling that made me a fan.

1 person found this helpful

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What a beautiful journey!

Set in North Carolina 1973, Joyland is a story of a young adult, Devon Jones. After leaving town for a summer job at an amusement park, Devin Jones finds himself learning new things on his new journey. On his first day, Dev meets with Rozzie, the fortune teller, who prognositicates his future and warns him for what lies ahead. With the rumors of the amusement park being haunted going around, Dev launches his own private investigation into the murder of Linda gray, a customer who got killed in the amusement park years ago. On a day off, Dev and his buddies, Tom and Erin, decide to visit the haunted house at the amusement park, themselves. While Dev and Erin find nothing out of the ordinary, Tom claims to have seen someone in the dark. As the summer ends, Dev decides to take a year off from college and work at Joyland instead. Tom and Erin go back to college, leaving Dev alone. Dev, instead, meets new people like Mike and Annie. Dev starts to realise that Rozzie wasn't wrong because he senses something in Mike. Meanwhile, suffering from a terminal illness, Mike urges to visit Joyland once before he dies. His visit to the Joyland unravels a lot of mysteries for Devin. Joyland is a coming of age story of Devin Jones who suffers from a heartbreak and realises that there are bigger things in the world than losing a relationship. It is a very engaging read, written in an informal manner. I loved the intrigue and the suspense. It really hooked me in and kept me engaged. My first Stephen King novel didn't disappoint me, after all. Although, if you are looking for something gruesome and extremely supernatural, you might not be satisfied. But it is a good crime fiction and worth a shot.

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I loved the feeling

I’ve listened to this book a couple of times, I don’t exactly know why I like it so much but there is just something so poignant about how it captures both melancholy and joy. The narrator was perfect, a lovely performance and a great voice to listen to.

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good story

good story. well told and some nice notes. not best but a good listen highly recommend

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different

would never have picked it for a Stephen King novel but still worth a listen. reader on audio book very good

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Sentimental journey

Fine writer, fine narrator. This is a sweet and sentimental story. My favourite parts of the writing were in the first half. Narration is fantastic throughout.

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Another great story

myself and my 16 year old son both enjoyed this book. The ending may have lost a little of the story's intensity but I still gave it 5 stars because I couldn't wait to keep listening to the story and thought about the characters after the book was finished. The narration was excellent.

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  • Janie
  • 20-07-2013

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cik Bedah
  • 17-07-2014

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
  • 16-03-2014

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
  • 05-02-2014

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
  • 09-01-2014

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

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  • Rose
  • 13-12-2013

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!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Conor Bryce
  • 19-06-2013

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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  • alex_holmes_367
  • 14-10-2013

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 06-06-2013

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."

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-2013

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • david de livio
  • 04-09-2020

pants!

persevered some how until the end but the book but, you were waiting for something to happened and it didn't, the narrator was good, the story wasnt

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  • andy m
  • 20-07-2020

Enjoyed it

I enjoyed this - particularly the narrator who I thought was brilliant and really evoked the right atmosphere/era. It's not really scary or spooky in the least, but it kept me entertained throughout.

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  • Matthew Axsel
  • 10-06-2020

Fantastic Story

What a great novel, expecting nothing less from Stephen King, but an excellent performance and mercifully no music accompaniment.

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  • Sal Thomas
  • 06-05-2020

Probably his best non- horror book?

Stephen King at his finest conjuring up characters you care about so much you have tears in your eyes when you finish the story. Hats off the the narrator. I love his soft spoken voice and his accent, the latter adding so much to the story. One to come back to again and again. NB-just Googled the narrator and realised why I loved his voice. Michael Kelly is also the actor known for House of Cards.

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  • Chilipitin
  • 30-06-2019

great narrator

The story is very entertaining and as a Stephen King fan I was pleased with it and have listened to it three times. The narration is a big big plus and I wish Michael Kelly would do more books! Love his voice!