Stephen King’s Revival: A Review


I’m sadly behind on my Stephen King, but I finally got around to reading Revival last night. I don’t want to reveal the plot, but I do want to reflect on some aspects of the book that might be spoilery, depending on your definition of a spoiler. So, if you haven’t read the book and you plan to, read on at your own risk (or go read the book first, then come back and feel free to discuss it. I’d love to talk Stephen King with somebody.)

In case that wasn’t clear enough:********************************PROCEED WITH CAUTION. RAMBLING THOUGHTS AHEAD, MAY CONTAIN SPOILERY MATERIAL!!!!!!!********************************************************************

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Joyland by Stephen King

I ordered Stephen King’s new book Joyland about two weeks ago, but didn’t get around to reading it until this weekend. I’ll say up front that I’m a big Stephen King fan (not quire on the Misery level, but a big fan, nonetheless) and I’m probably predisposed to like anything that he writes. However, I think I’m pretty safe in saying that even people who aren’t fans might want to give this one a shot. It’s not horror by any stretch of the imagination. It has a bit of a ghost story, but the thrust of the book is much more crime/mystery than supernatural. And it’s a good mystery, with all the requisite red herrings and misdirections. I was surprised at the end, and that doesn’t always happen, even with a good mystery.

And underneath the ghost story and murder mystery, Joyland is a coming-of-age story. This is something that King handles quite well (and quite regularly, too.) He still has a good feel for what it’s like to be young, and just now growing into your adult self. In that aspect, this book is probably most like Hearts in Atlantis – if you liked that one, you will most likely like this one.

I’d recommend Joyland to most King fans (with the exception of the ones that complain that his non-horror works are not “real Stephen King” – if you only read him for straight up horror, you won’t like this) and to anyone who likes a good whodunnit story. It’s only available in real book format for now – King and the publishers are trying to support bookstores, apparently – but I’ve read that an e-book may be coming along eventually. At about $7, though, it’s worth just buying the paperback version.