Title: The Institute
Author: Stephen King
Page Count: 561
Publication Date: 2019
Category/Genre: Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal
Good Reads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.20)
My Rating: ★★★★☆(4.0)
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
The Institute is a masterful storytelling piece (500 pages) about paranormal children ripped from their families and lives by an evil group and their struggle to escape the hell of “The Institute”.
This felt much more like classic Stephen King, which is something that I was very happy about. It contained some of his best dynamics including youth relationships, children with extraordinary powers, mysterious evil, really despicable bad guys and a minor male protagonist. I always thought that King excelled in character development and something about how he writes children is always captivating to me and this book hit both out of the park.
The truly disturbing horror in this book were humans themselves and how easy it is to become desensitized or believe lies we tell ourselves to right a wrong. The truly beautiful point of this book was “stronger together” and how seemingly weak ones can move the world. A strong sense of community in the rough times brings together the best outcomes, which was a strong and needed message/reminder for this year!
“Great events turn on small hinges.”
A real page-turner, I flew through this quick because there were so many questions that I just had to find answers to and many nail-biting and suspenseful moments I couldn’t look away.
I highly recommend this to not only Stephen King fans or those classic SK fans but also anyone that is looking for a powerful and engrossing thriller that centers around the paranormal AND human relationships.