Friday, 21 June 2013

Joyland by Stephen King

"The first time was embarrassing. The second time was good. The, the third time was the charm."

I have been desperate to secure a copy of this book since first laying eyes on the sexy cover. Undeniably gorgeous with a distinct noir look that appeared to differentiate the work from the author's usual offerings.

While deploying typical noir vernacular, copied with a seedy cast of carnies -this was the guy who played on many people's fear of clowns in IT after all, the novel is ultimately situated within the realm of King's usual work. Small town, relateable characters that find themselves in exceptionally challenging circumstances featuring plenty of supernatural goings on.

Having spent much of my time at high school devouring King's scary works, I took a break whilst he delved into fantasy and returned to the fold with an appreciation of last year's time-travel themed 11.22.63.My expectations, based on the cover initially, were much higher in this instance and perhaps that is the reason why I didn't score it as high. I felt the look was a little disingenuous in relation to the story.

Despite the macguffin-like cover, I really enjoyed the story, the character of Devin is beautifully realised and who could fail to love Mike? King is always at his best with a loss of innocence and exploring the shift from childhood to adulthood. The clunkly mechanics of the supernatural aspects were perhaps a little distracting here and too reminiscent of some of his earlier works. So, to summarise, while I really enjoyed this, it wasn't my favourite Stephen King novel and didn't quite live up to the awesomeness that was the cover. Suggesting a James M Cain style, noir, pulp fiction experience leads the reader down the garden path before they begin.  4 out of 5 appearances can be deceiving, don't judge a book by its cover and all that jazz.

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