Thursday, March 6, 2014
Bookshelf: Stephen King's Joyland
Summary: Devin Jones is reeling from a tough breakup from his girlfriend, Wendy. She's moved away to college and found a new boyfriend, and all but forgotten him. Devin has not forgotten her though, and believes the best way to recover is to take up a job at Joyland, a carnival that runs throughout the summer and some of the fall. Once arriving there though he finds the place has plenty of mystery, including a ghost story revolving around one of the park's most popular rides, Horror House, where the ghost of Linda Grey still haunts. In this tale, Devin is coming of age upon a frightful time.
Characters: There is something about the male lead characters in Stephen King novels that always has the same ring to their nature, while this gives them a little less of a different personality, it still works because the guys always come off likable. Devin isn't perfect but his nature will resonate with audiences. King also writes in very likable female characters. People can complain all they want about how King writes females, but I love the strength he gives them. Whether it's Erin who is a friend of Devin's, or the woman he falls for Annie he gives them a very likable quality.
Writing: I felt the writing was good, and a strong King novel, but there was something a bit lackluster. I felt that King was trying to compile a lot into a tiny novel that doesn't leave room for much development. He starts out a lot with just letting us get to know the lead character, but then the mystery takes heavily over, and it never mixes quite well as it has in past novels. It still does give some eerie moments though, and get us attached to some characters.
Plot: As said, this novel seems to have less direction than other novels. I feel like King just wanted to write about Devin, and it shows how King above all is dedicated to the idea of his characters above even story sometimes. He does reuse a setting that is popular and well very appeasing for even the reader for a setting, and I have to say that a lot of the aspects of the novel that save it are just where it's based at. There is something eerie yet romantic about carnivals, and despite some bad reputations it's why we go there each year in the fall.
Joyland isn't one of King's strongest, and I was expecting more a mystery with the Hard Case Crime classification. Instead I felt I got almost a drama or portrayal of a character that King just wanted us to know better. The novel does show that King's writing never falters though, and even when a novel runs a bit slow he always pulls you in.
Rating 8 of 10.