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The Institute

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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 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. As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.


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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 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. As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

30 review for The Institute

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    After having read this book, I am once again very relieved that Stephen King is an author of horror and not, y'know, a serial killer

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    After sitting on this review for a few days now, I've wrestled with how much to say, and I feel like "less is more" will be key in this scenario. The synopsis gives a distinct feel of kids facing an evil entity (in this case an institution), which is correct, but the focus is more on the journey that the kids experience, with a small bit of intense action closing out the story. After being enthralled for almost 600 pages, my only real critique is the fact that the ending felt like a bit of a let After sitting on this review for a few days now, I've wrestled with how much to say, and I feel like "less is more" will be key in this scenario. The synopsis gives a distinct feel of kids facing an evil entity (in this case an institution), which is correct, but the focus is more on the journey that the kids experience, with a small bit of intense action closing out the story. After being enthralled for almost 600 pages, my only real critique is the fact that the ending felt like a bit of a let-down; after such a promising setup, I think I just expected more, and I even feel like the final portion after the big showdown was unnecessary and should have been left off. Looking at the big picture, this was a highly satisfying experience, and the author's note after the conclusion had me tearing up big time. Highly recommended for Stephen King newbies or longtime fans alike!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    “Great events turn on small hinges.” I think very few people will claim that The Institute is one of King's best works, but I, for one, think it's up there with some of his most entertaining. The Institute takes a very familiar plot - the plot of a few thousand YA novels, it has to be said - and adds in King's trademark detailed characterization, long-winded but still enjoyable storytellin “Great events turn on small hinges.” I think very few people will claim that The Institute is one of King's best works, but I, for one, think it's up there with some of his most entertaining. The Institute takes a very familiar plot - the plot of a few thousand YA novels, it has to be said - and adds in King's trademark detailed characterization, long-winded but still enjoyable storytelling, and no small amount of fodder for conspiracy theorists everywhere. There's kids with special powers subjected to cruel experiments, secret government organizations, and faith in the idea that no enemy is too great if we all face it together. Exciting! Reading this book it is easy to see why a) people rush out to devour every new King book, and b) the book snobs don't take him seriously. Any other author would have this manuscript shipped straight to the YA section. That's not an insult. This book was extremely entertaining, book snobbery be damned. And by "entertaining" I mean frequently so horrible and unfair that I simply had to keep reading to find out what would happen. I really liked how King organized this story, beginning with small-town cop Tim Jamieson and then darting a thousand miles away to tell the tale of Luke Ellis-- a tale that seems about as unrelated as you can get. Except of course it's not unrelated and their paths are going to cross in the strangest of ways. But back to Luke. He is a child prodigy, destined for greatness, when one night he is kidnapped and taken to The Institute, a place where children with special abilities are held captive and subjected to bizarre experiments. In this dark, evil place, all they have is each other, as they try to avoid cruel punishments. The ugly unfairness of it makes the story immediately compelling and, as bigger secrets come to light, I couldn't imagine how they were ever going to get out of it. If King's continued digs at Trump didn't clue us readers in already, the overarching theme of this book suggests a whole new level of frustration and distrust of the government. But it also sends out a hopeful positive message that kids don't have to stand for it, which seems more apt than ever. A good read. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  4. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I need some time to gather my thoughts on this one. Full review to come...stay tuned!!! Original: Reads synopsis whilst at work: RIP Me. An all new 500+ page book from the KING!!!! My favorite author. Released just in time for my birthday. Comparisons made to Firestarter. I am overwhelmed with enthusiasm for this! WHERE IS MY COPY!?!? WHERE IS MY MAIL PERSON!?!? UPDATE: IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    KING of the writers just released a book and I started my Single ladies/Staying alive combination happy dance, grabbed it into my hands and started my ritual I do when I start a new King book. My ritual is simple. I pray for several things starting with better eyesight (Dear King always like to write encyclopedic sized books which I also used in my training sessions. I lift “The Stand” and “Dark Tower series” 50 times till my arms turned into jellies but now I got an amazing look. So KING of the writers just released a book and I started my Single ladies/Staying alive combination happy dance, grabbed it into my hands and started my ritual I do when I start a new King book. My ritual is simple. I pray for several things starting with better eyesight (Dear King always like to write encyclopedic sized books which I also used in my training sessions. I lift “The Stand” and “Dark Tower series” 50 times till my arms turned into jellies but now I got an amazing look. Some people confused me with woman wrestlers! Damn it!) and my healthy soul (probably I sold to the devil because I’m biggest fan of his fantastic villains. Randal Flagg, Jack Torrence, George Stark, Blaine the Mono were my dream quadruple! I visualized them start villain poker tournaments!) and healthy throat and ears! ( I was 10 when I started to read my first king Book and I was at my school chorus practice, hiding my book in my music notes but instead of singing that day, I was reading and then I started screaming. I terrorized my friends and teachers that day! So I found my life mission already, thanks to Mr. King) As a summary, it is the toughest thing to start a new King book because he’s definitely my favorite writer. In 30 years, I left the country I was born, I cut drinking Coke ( because I moved to NYC and its Coke tastes the worst!), I stopped eating cakes instead of I addicted to Chardonnay and cupcakes! I got married and I resigned from my bank manager job to be screenplay writer (Yes! Everybody knows something is wrong with me!) after moving to L.A, learned fake smiling and not to scream when I see at a walking talking over tanned and botoxed Barbie doll. So many things changed, life molded me, tormented me, punched me but also gave so many gifts to me. But ONLY ONE THING in 30 years didn’t change: I resumed reading KING books and loved them wholeheartedly. So becoming objective and not putting your fingers on your keyboard to give gazillion FIVE SHINY STARS is one of the hardest test I have to pass! Let's go back to talk about this book: in first few pages, I thought I started the wrong book because it seemed like Tim Jaimeson’s story, was ex officer at Sarasota and left his job, left his seat to a FBI agent, hitchhiking and found himself DuPray applying “Night Knocker” job. His story is hooked me up from the beginning. I thought I read another plot but that’s okay, I loved this story so much reminded me of old school King books. But then next chapter, everything changed and we’re introduced to highly intelligent, gifted Luke’s story and his kidnapping. One night he found himself at the copied version his own room (but the copiers might have forgotten to add windows!) And the wonder kids of INSTITUTE story began! I felt like somebody dragged Mr. King away from his keyboard while he’s writing this book and Duffer Brothers sat on his seat to create crueler version of Stranger Things with meaner adults and gifted but a little unlikable kids version. (I only resonated with Avery but he’s not Dustin!) There are too many references to King’s older works on this book. Even the twins reminded you of Shining’s creepy twins Lisa and Louise Burns!) There are too kind of extraordinary kinds here: The kids who are telepaths or telekinetic! To differentiate them they have to find the ones seeing the dots! We don’t have Carrie White but Avery’s character was a little reminded us Danny Torrence who has its shining. I missed his characters’ connections and growing friendship I’ve read on other books (his story “Body”, It, even at Dark Tower series was about different people’s connection) I found this one a little flat, dull, more artificial. And the vulgarity, harshness the kids endured and the illegal, ruthless test methods the institute crew applied on them DISTURBED me so much. I can handle the violence. I’m die-hard Tarantino fan but when it comes to innocent kids, this kind of torturing methods churned my stomach! ( I wish I could puke on all the villains of the book!) This time their methods put me on edge and I made a waterboarding list instead of slapping because other villains of the books seemed like Disney characters comparing with these nasty scumbags! Of course honor member of my hating list is starting with Mrs. Sigsby (what kind of last name is this?) and Tony! I think I should put all the crew members of institute including Maureen because snitches are always the worst! As a summary: because of its longevity, it’s not a fast reading, but it’s still intriguing, you never got bored. It’s quite a page-turner, riveting, nerve bending, surprising book. Even though there are too many references of his older books, writing was a little different from King’s usual style and the things the little kids fought against made me sad and frustrated. So I decided to stick with shiny four stars! It’s still a remarkable, smart-written, good book but not one of the best works of KING OF WRITERS! Okay, now I started to FLOAT! I think Mr. King might feel I cut the last star! I wish I drank my last sip of Chardonnay before being punished. Well, all work no play make Nily dull person!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Will I ever catch up and read all SK books? Probably not, but here's to trying!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    5 Bright and Fabulous Stars What can I tell you about “The Institute?” Besides the fact that it’s a phenomenal read and the narrator is fantastic?! I simply adored the character development! It’s something that I think Stephen King excels in. His writing draws you in like a toasted bagel with butter, that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into. Here, King features a large cast of characters, some of whom have been stolen away from home, and now reside in “The Institute.” Luke Ellis w 5 Bright and Fabulous Stars What can I tell you about “The Institute?” Besides the fact that it’s a phenomenal read and the narrator is fantastic?! I simply adored the character development! It’s something that I think Stephen King excels in. His writing draws you in like a toasted bagel with butter, that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into. Here, King features a large cast of characters, some of whom have been stolen away from home, and now reside in “The Institute.” Luke Ellis was taken from his home in the middle of the night. When he wakes up, he’s in a room at “The Institute.” It looks almost exactly like his own room back home, except for the fact that there are no windows, none. Not a one. There he meets Sha, Nick, Avery and quite a few others. They draw strength from each other. Some are teens, like himself and a few are just kids. They go through some crazy experiments. A few of them have extraordinary powers: TK and TP. No matter what happens to them, they all end up going to the back half. Some, sooner than later. Don’t ask me to explain. You have to rip roar through the pages of this crazy read to find out what I’m saying. What happens here is sheer insanity. You almost can’t believe it, however it actually seems real and it works and works well here because of how the story is told and that my friends is because of the genius of Stephen King’s storytelling. Time and again he reinvents himself and while there might be smidges of this story that seem familiar it is wholly new and fresh and I loved every second of it. Stephen King - You have basically rocked my world since I was Thirteen Years Old, when I read IT and became terrified of clowns. It was then that I became a fan, and read every book of yours that I could get my hands on. The Stand, Cujo, Pet Sematary, The Shining.. the list goes on. Some are on my favorites list ((The Top 3: 11/22/63, IT and The Stand) with a few others coming close including The Outsider and this year’s The Institute)), some, not so much. Regardless, I remain astounded by your efforts, your ideas and your brilliant mind and I thank you for making me a reader. To the Luke Ellis and Avery Dixon’s of the world. I wish I had your superpowers. A huge thank you to audible and to Santino Fontana for the incredible narration of this novel. Bravo. Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 9.24.19.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    4.5 Stars In the past 10 years I feel like only Sleeping Beauties and Doctor Sleep have felt as much like classic King as The Institute. Many of the elements in this book are tropes straight from his early days: youth relationships (The Body, IT, The Long Walk), children with extraordinary powers (Carrie, The Shining, Firestarter), mysterious evil (The Stand, The Long Walk, The Tommyknockers, Christine), really despicable bad guys (Misery, IT), and a minor male protagonist reminiscent 4.5 Stars In the past 10 years I feel like only Sleeping Beauties and Doctor Sleep have felt as much like classic King as The Institute. Many of the elements in this book are tropes straight from his early days: youth relationships (The Body, IT, The Long Walk), children with extraordinary powers (Carrie, The Shining, Firestarter), mysterious evil (The Stand, The Long Walk, The Tommyknockers, Christine), really despicable bad guys (Misery, IT), and a minor male protagonist reminiscent of Stu Redman, Andy McGee, Louis Creed, John Smith, Ben Richards, etc., etc. Much of the plot reminded me of (view spoiler)[the Breakers sequence in The Dark Tower series (hide spoiler)] The feeling I had through most of this book was frustration. Not a bad frustration – just engaged frustration. Every page I wanted to reach into the book and smack some people around. Then, the questions I was left with at the end have me really torn about how I feel about the resolution of the book. I think all these questions and emotions are the sign of a great book. If you are looking at the size of the book and feel like it might be a bit daunting – no worries! I think you will find it to be a very quick read with the pages flying by! And, while I don’t often say this, I think you could start King with this one if you wanted to. Often, I send people back to the early ones, but this is a pretty good book with a lot of King feel to it that I think it would be a good one if people want to start out with one of his newer works. In summary – lots of nostalgia-inducing content for King fans and a great entry point for new King readers. I am always glad to see that the King remains the King! Side note: Based on how Young Adult is designated these days, you could probably easily call this a Young Adult novel. In fact, I am going to shelve it as that and see if I get any guff! :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    "No one does ever live happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves."-Stephen King King had me at the very beginning when Tim Jamieson out of the blue decides to give up his seat on a flight and decides to hitch hike instead. He's not quite sure why he has chosen to do this, but he has and off he goes on a walk that takes him to a small town where he takes a job as a Night Knocker (a job his grandfather once had). He's overqualified for the job but decides to take i "No one does ever live happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves."-Stephen King King had me at the very beginning when Tim Jamieson out of the blue decides to give up his seat on a flight and decides to hitch hike instead. He's not quite sure why he has chosen to do this, but he has and off he goes on a walk that takes him to a small town where he takes a job as a Night Knocker (a job his grandfather once had). He's overqualified for the job but decides to take it, nevertheless. There he meets some interesting people, as one often does in a small town, heck, that is where the truly interesting people live such as Orphan Annie who stole my heart and frankly hasn't given it back. Just when I was getting into this plot, King changes things up a bit and introduces us to a brilliant twelve-year-old named Luke Ellis who has big plans for his future. Unfortunately, those plans did not involve being kidnapped late at night and being taken to "The Institute" where other teens are being held. Teens with special abilities such as telepathy and telekinesis. There they are all subjected to various tests, shots, experiments. I'll admit, I felt a little let down when the plot changed from Tim to Luke. I was just digging that story line, them *bam*, start over with this one. The second one started off slowly for me but gradually gathered steam and sucked me in. With over 60 books under his belt, King is a master of character development and creates both likable and non-likable characters which make an impact. I was rooting for the kids at the Institute, hoping that there would be an end in sight to their suffering...but this is King, and you know that he is going to draw it out and makes things truly unsettling and unbearable for his characters. “I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud. ” - Stephen King I can't say that this book was horrifying, but it did cause me think "what if" as in "what if, places such as the institute existed? What secret things is our government (or any other government for that matter) involved in secretly? Could such things exist? Remember that beginning that sucked me in, King brings the story full circle and had me loving some characters even more. He had this reader cheering while at the same time he broke my heart and no truer statement (or thought) was ever written: it's good to have friends. Damn it, King, just damn it...you left me gutted with that one. This is a big book as his books often are. After the slow part, it no longer felt big, and I found myself flying through the pages. Thought provoking, captivating, heartbreaking, and engaging, he didn't disappoint with this book. Not only is it good to have friends, it's also good to read a King book from time to time. Can't say this was my favorite, but I enjoyed it. Stephen King proved he's still got it, and hopefully he has it for many years to come. Long live the King!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    That was good AND sad 😫 Okay, because I’m twelve and not the old beat up chic that I am, I love these kids and this quote: "Stick your nose up my ass and fight for air, "Luke said, and began to laugh. They just keep coming. It’s one of those have to be there moments. They are trying to find some happiness in the horrific situation they are in Helen whacked the table, sending cards flying. "Oh God I’m peeing myself, gross, don’t look!" And she went running, almost knocking George over as he cane outside, noshiin That was good AND sad 😫 Okay, because I’m twelve and not the old beat up chic that I am, I love these kids and this quote: "Stick your nose up my ass and fight for air, "Luke said, and began to laugh. They just keep coming. It’s one of those have to be there moments. They are trying to find some happiness in the horrific situation they are in Helen whacked the table, sending cards flying. "Oh God I’m peeing myself, gross, don’t look!" And she went running, almost knocking George over as he cane outside, noshing a peanut butter cup. "What’s her deal?" George asked "Peed herself," Avery said matter-of-factly. "I peed my bed last night, so I can relate." "Thank you for sharing that," Luke said, smiling. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Many thanks to Scribner for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review ”Great events turn on small hinges.” I knew it. I was right. Institutes are always evil. That said, I didn’t expect them to be this evil. So, what’s this book about? Stephen King’s Institute follows Luke, a twelve-year-old genius who has been captured by The Institute. Luke is now being held against his will in the strange place where the staff are doing experiments and tests on him against his will. The computers are restrictive, the staff is abreview Many thanks to Scribner for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review ”Great events turn on small hinges.” I knew it. I was right. Institutes are always evil. That said, I didn’t expect them to be this evil. So, what’s this book about? Stephen King’s Institute follows Luke, a twelve-year-old genius who has been captured by The Institute. Luke is now being held against his will in the strange place where the staff are doing experiments and tests on him against his will. The computers are restrictive, the staff is abusive, and the whole place his creepy. It’s not all bad, though. Luke quickly makes friends with his fellow captives. Together, they start to plot their escape from the awful Institute. I always forget how well Stephen King can write. I also didn’t realize how much I missed his writing. I haven’t read any Stephen King since... I think last winter? It’s been a while. I will forever be in awe of his talent. And the fact that he’s publishing about two six hundred page books per year… And they’re well written?! That sh*t's bananas. The Institute took a nice dive into paranormal/supernatural in contrast to the mostly mystery/thriller The Outsider that King wrote last year. Throughout the book, the kids display psychic powers, telekinesis, and telepathy. This was super interesting partly because superpowers are interesting (duh) but also because my analytical brain was whirring and I kept wondering if the kids had the Shining (a.k.a. the psychic power that Danny from The Shining had. It is also theorized that the Losers Club from It had the psychic abilities and used them to defeat Pennywise but that’s another theory for another day.) On the note of It, I really loved the break from adult thrillers. This book isn’t marked as Young Adult on Goodreads. It really should be. Yes, there are some adult main characters but the story mostly focuses on Luke and his friends who are young adult or more accurately, middle grade. In fact, The Institute reminded me a lot of It because it was the same basic outline. Kids face evil. Kids are badasses. Kids defeat evil. Kids develop PTSD. Ya know? Fortunately, I didn’t feel like a copy + paste book that some authors will publish. It was still unique and a blast to read. Unlike It, The Institute had a lot of redeemable adult characters. Except for Ms. Sigsby. F**K YOU, MS. SIGSBY. (did i spell her name right? Ah well, she doesn’t deserve to have her name spelled properly.) My favorite character was Annie. She was so funny and a bit… insane but in a good way. She just said so many weird, messed up, or crazy things in such a serious, almost deadpan, manner. Definitely one of the funniest characters in King’s books, in my opinion. I also loved Tim. He gave me Hopper (from Stranger Things) vibes so much that I literally imagined him like that for the entire book. If there’s a movie and David Harbour doesn’t play Tim, I will be pissed. That said, The Institute had the classic nail-biting suspense and potent fear that we all know and love Stephen King fear. There was one scene that was so terrifyingly graphic that I was literally covering my face and cringing. *shudders* All in all, this greatly exceeded my expectations. I will never grow tired of reading King’s books and will always wonder how he writes so many. Bottom Line: 4.5 Stars Age Rating: [ R ] Content Screening (Spoilers) - Educational Value (0/5) - [Computers (how to hack them)] ~ Positive Messages (3/5) - [Teamwork] ~ Violence (5/5) - [Character cuts off his ear, shooting, patients of The Institute are shocked, drowned, shot, and other awful things, Murder, Suicide] ~ Sex (2/5) - [Characters kiss, sexual references and inuendos] ~ Language (5/5) - [Frequent use of: F**k, sh*t, b*tch and mild use of d*ck, d*mn] ~ Drinking/Drugs (5/5) - [Underage alcohol consumption, smoking, medicinal and sedative drugs] ~ Trigger and Content Warnings - Child abuse, Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Sezuires, Suicide, Murder, Suicidal Ideations, Removal of body parts, Bodily harm, Loss of loved ones, Racial slurs, Disability slurs, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression Reps: [Women of Color, Anxiety, Disability, Children (is that a rep?)] Cover: 4/5 ~ Characters: 4/5 ~ Plot: 5/5 ~ Audio: 4/5 Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 Publisher: Scribner Books Genre: Young Adult/Horror -------- i f**king knew it... -------- AHHH! Thank you, Scribner!!!! -------- If I've learned anything in my fourteen fifteen years of life, it's that institutes are ALWAYS evil. Always. | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy | Reddit

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Kuhn

    First, a disclosure, I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I read “The Dead Zone” when I was 14 and it was a revelation to me. The main characters were high school teachers and I felt like the book let me see into the world of adults – what they were thinking, feeling, etc. Then I read “Carrie” in high school and the story exposed cliques and bullying in a raw way that I hadn’t seen it discussed before. In college I read “The Stand” that post-apocalyptic American fantasy blew me away. Later, I made the j First, a disclosure, I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I read “The Dead Zone” when I was 14 and it was a revelation to me. The main characters were high school teachers and I felt like the book let me see into the world of adults – what they were thinking, feeling, etc. Then I read “Carrie” in high school and the story exposed cliques and bullying in a raw way that I hadn’t seen it discussed before. In college I read “The Stand” that post-apocalyptic American fantasy blew me away. Later, I made the journey to the Dark Tower and loved the ‘meta-ness’ of the epic tale. I went on to read and watch everything King and it continues today. I’m amazed at the staying power of King, his ability to write at a high level for such a long period. Many creators dry up at some point, but not the King. While I found “Elevation” to be a bit ‘light’ the Mr. Mercedes series was excellent, and “The Outsider” was fine as well. Well, King continues right along with “The Institute”, delivering another excellent work. It’s not a masterpiece and I’ll explain why I feel that way, but it is right in King’s wheelhouse and delivers a nostalgic and emotional punch. King borrows much from prior works to frame this book. The clearest connection is from “Firestarter”. Instead of “The Shop” we have “The Institute” and instead of Charlie McGee, we have Luke Ellis, special kids indeed. There are prison and prison escape elements that reminded me of “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. There is a group of kids coming together to overcome evil that feels very much like “IT”. So, yeah, right in King’s wheelhouse – group of kids coming together-check, paranormal activity made to feel believable-check, slowly revealed evil-check, and wonderful observations about everyday life-check. The book was a comfortable read for me, even if it’s a bit slower paced in the middle. It felt like King was right at home telling this story and that allowed him to develop strong characters and show off his top-notch writing. One of King’s strengths is his ability to make the paranormal seem, well, normal. He does this by inventing slang and describing character reactions honestly. He’s also great at planting questions in reader’s minds that pulls them along through the story. In this book, you’ll be dying to know things like: - Who is this night-knocker (quasi-cop) and what does he have to do with the rest of the story? - What happens to the kids when they leave the front half of the Institute? - What’s in the back half of the Institute? - What’s in the back half of the Back Half? - Who’s going to live and who’s not? If you’re familiar with King at all, you know he’s not afraid to ‘kill his darlings’! So, fantastic characters, an intriguing plot, and excellent writing. Well, what about the ending? If I have a criticism about King, it’s that he sometimes builds up such suspense and so much intrigue, that his ending can feel anti-climactic (an example for me is “The Outsider”). In my opinion, that’s not the case here. The ending felt strong and fitting for the tale. I didn’t want it end, and it was sad, but it tied up the story properly. It wasn’t a surprising twist or mind-blowing, but it was a first-rate conclusion. So, riveting beginning, gripping middle, and exciting finish, why isn’t this a masterpiece. What holds it back from the level of “IT”, “The Shining”, or “The Stand”? While, I enjoyed myself all the way through this book, nothing blew me away. There wasn’t the shock of “The Stand”, or the horror (or revulsion) of “IT”, or the atmosphere of “The Shining”. One thing that holds it back is evil, the villains don’t have the paranormal element. While hateful, they really didn’t evoke the horror of IT or even the creepiness of a Brady Hartsfield. While I didn’t mind King storytelling in familiar waters there was nothing that really knocked me off kilter or opened a world of possibilities for me to consider. This doesn’t mean this isn’t an excellent book, I’m just explaining why it’s not a masterpiece for me. Four and a half stars rounded to five for me. A masterfully told story about paranormal children ripped from their lives by an evil group and their struggle to escape the hell of “The Institute”. Beyond this point, I’m going to discuss some hidden spoilers about the ending. If you don’t want a spoiler don’t expand the section below. (view spoiler)[ *spoilers* Spoiler 1 - I'm a bit surprised that King included some gun toting small town southerners that help save the day, but using their guns! With his stated political beliefs and with recent events, this was a shock to me. However, I don't think it says anything about his personal beliefs (I actually don't know where he stands on gun control). My view is that for him, story is first and he is going to tell it authentically. I'm not sure of another writer that is as honest in their storytelling. Spoiler 2 - I feel like King toyed with some elements that could have dialed up the creepiness and atmosphere of the story but pulled back due for some reason. The level of horror is muted because there is no paranormal element to the bad guys. If the power of back half were used to involuntarily help control the children in the front half, I think this would have upped the volume. To take this further, if the baddies would have at least attempted to use the other Institutes to squash their own uprising it could have setup an epic battle. Or even one step further, King could have used the special Institute (the DEW line), to as a last resort by the lisping man to clean up the rebellion. I realize they were more focused on prediction, but the special institute could have contained some of the highest-level TPs and TKs as well. By adding some paranormal to the evil side of the equation, I think could of setup a more ominous plot and a more epic ending. Just my post-read thoughts. (hide spoiler)]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones…it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. -- Matthew, Chapter 18 According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Most are found. Thousands are not. Great events turn on small hinges. It’s good to be King. As Stephen King well knows, 2019 is a banner year for him, with written production conti But whoso shall offend one of these little ones…it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. -- Matthew, Chapter 18 According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Most are found. Thousands are not. Great events turn on small hinges. It’s good to be King. As Stephen King well knows, 2019 is a banner year for him, with written production continuing apace, and with many of his previously written materials being brought to screens large and small. The second installment of the cinema-sized production of It is now the largest grossing horror movie ever. In April, Lisey’s Story was optioned by Apple TV +, to be produced by J.J. Abrams, starring Julianne Moore. His sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan MacGregor, will be released in theaters on November 8. Season three of Mr. Mercedes began airing on September 10. Season two of Castle Rock begins airing on October 23. In the Tall Grass, co-written with his son, Joe Hill, was released with Joe’s story collection, Full Throttle, on October 1, and the film was released on Netflix on October 4. A remake of the film Pet Sematary was released in April. And only King knows what else. Not counting upcomings, like a novella collection due out in May and a film of The Outsider, due in January. It’s good to be King. Stephen King - image from The Washington Post – by Shane Leonard And just to make sure you know that the 72-year-old author is not resting on his considerable laurels, (and vast financial resources) he keeps cranking out new product. He is doing what he loves, calls it the best job in the world, and will continue pecking away at his keyboard until God tells him to stop, or if the quality of his work deteriorates, which is probably the same thing. So how does septuagenarian King hold up? Like fine wine, he ages well. The Institute may not be on the same level as the best of King’s work, not as scary as It or The Shining, not as epic as The Stand, but even garden variety Stephen King novels are still pretty good. Tim Jamieson, an ex-police office through misadventure, is hitchhiking from Florida to a likely job in New York, when he finds himself at the back end of nowhere, a place called DuPray, SC, rich with free time and privately owned firearms. It has a certain appeal and they just happen to be in need of a little light constabulary assistance at the moment. Tim is in no hurry, which may be the town motto. The single significant business in town is a depot, that will figure later in the book. We get to watch Tim scope out the diverse personalities of the place. King does this so bloody well. And then we leave Tim for a considerable stretch until the back end of the book. The intention is clearly that you will forget about him, until the time is right, and then think, Oh, yeah, that guy. BTW, Jamieson winds up in Dupray when the car in which he was hitching a ride gets stuck in godawful traffic on I-95, so much so, he is informed by the woman who had picked him up, that he’d do better just walking to the next town. King and his wife make the trip from Maine to Florida and back every year so he knows of what he writes when he tells of death by traffic jam on the South Carolina side of the interstate. Things are much more unpleasant for young Luke Ellis. Kid has an unreasonable IQ. He is merely 12, but eager to move on to MIT AND Emerson, yes, at the same time. The head of the very special school he is currently attending thinks he is up to it. He also has a touch of telekinesis, or TK, although this is not on his school applications. It is this ability that gets him noticed, and not in a good way. A black SUV shows up on Wildersmoot Drive, in Minneapolis, one night, and Luke’s life is forever changed. He is dosed and carted away, (not, sadly, on a flying motorcycle) his parents eliminated. When he wakes up, he is in The Institute of the title, somewhere in the Maine woods, one of a handful of young people at the front half of the facility…for now. They are treated unkindly, brutalized for any resistance, featuring zapsticks and no-holds-barred slapping, and subjected to troubling experiments, by a harsh group of Nurse Ratched level caretakers. The concept for the book dates back more than two decades, when King — who has depicted similar psychic characters as loners in books such as “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “Firestarter” and “The Dead Zone” — pictured an entire schoolhouse filled with such kids. When he began writing the book in March 2017, he thought of it not as a horror story but as a resistance tale, with 12-year-old telekinetic genius Luke, teenage mind reader Kalisha and 10-year-old power-channeler Avery forming a rebellion inside their detention center. “I wanted to write about how weak people can be strong,” King says, speaking by phone from his home in Bangor, Me. “We’re each on our own island, and at the same time sometimes we can yell to each other and get together, and there is that sense of community and empathy. I love that.” - from the NY Times interviewLuke’s TK is present, but is not considerable. The genius part, though, that’s fuh real. Kalisha is a barely teen with pretty good telepathic talent, and an attitude. But she and Luke hit it off straight away. Avery is a ten-year-old with scale-busting telepathic talent, which has also made him a major-league spoiled brat. There are others, but these are the core. The nice twist here is that there are so many tales of schools where kids with special abilities band together, but few are as tough on their charges. I mean Hogwarts had its Death Eaters, but it was still a pretty cool place. Professor Xavier’s school, ditto. The Institute? Not so much. Stranger Things also shows kids joining forces against the dark side, but it heads off in a very different direction. King has always had a particular gift for writing kids. As they did in It, kids band together to fight off the evil forces that mean them harm. There is similarity to Firestarter in which a paranormally talented kid is taken by the government, eager to study and utilize her particular talents. This time it is a private entity, with a global perspective, and a nifty excuse for their wrong-doing. But global or local, public or private, it boils down to decent kids vs dark-hearted adults, no matter how they salve their consciences with ends-justifies-the-means logic. (One cannot help but imagine a Kevin Mulvaney, speaking for management, telling critics to ”get over it”.) Did I mention that King does kids supernaturally well? The guy’s still got it. Just in case you thought SK was intending this as a political effort, pointing out our Mad King caging children at the USA-Mexico border, it turns out not so much. As noted above in the NYT quote, the notion seriously predated the political event. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, King says that he tries to keep his political opinions separate from his writing. I would take this with a shaker of salt. One does not have to look hard at Under the Dome to get the sulfurous fragrance of Dick Cheney, for example. But sometimes a story is just a story, and that appears to be the case here. There is an excellent bit in which kids at the Institute are allowed as much booze and cigarettes as they want, available in exchange for tokens they earn for cooperation, as a means of keeping them pliant. That looks to me like genius at work. King’s gift for portraying human interaction extends from the kids forming a community to the people imprisoning them, and the population of Dupray, SC. He shows plenty of the sort of in-house politicking in The Institute that anyone who has ever worked anywhere knows. You can count on there being at least one maybe-friendly face among the staff. The portrayal of how Dupray’s natives interact is also a thing of beauty. I liked that the best talent of all turns out to be brains. (That is not a spoiler) Of course brains alone do not suffice. TP (telepathy) and TK (telekinesis) factor in big-time. It is also heartening that King, as he has done many a time before, brings fear and awfulness to the stage early, but, as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, uses that darkness as a terrifying background against which to shine a light on hope, on optimism, on the gains to be had when small players join together to challenge a large foe. Per usual, for me, I did not lose any sleep from reading The Institute. While I very much enjoy King’s work, it rarely leaves me with the heebie-jeebies. This is not a knock. Serious chills is a nice-to-have, but not a prerequisite for enjoying a Stephen King book. The Institute is not a short book, at 557 pages. King’s novels rarely are, but I found myself extending my reading time every night while reading this, eager to see what happens next, and concerned for the safety of favorite characters. So, for me, certainly, it was a page-turner. In short, while I would hardly rank The Institute among the top tier of King’s novels, it is certainly a fine, engrossing read that will hold your interest and probably raise your blood pressure for a while. And if the terror of kids being torn away from their parents, being held incommunicado, and being handled by people who can be very poor caretakers indeed, reminds you of any real-world outrages that should be raising your blood pressure, and if you are led to give more thought to the challenges of moral decision-making in matters of global significance, that would be a bonus. The king is not at all dead. Long live the King! Review posted – October 18, 2019 Publication date – September 10, 2019 =============================EXTRA STUFF SK's personal and FB pages reviews of some other books by his King -----Revival -----Doctor Sleep -----Mr. Mercedes -----The Shining -----Under the Dome -----Duma Key -----Lisey's Story Other King Family (Joe Hill) books I have reviewed: -----Full Throttle -----Strange Weather -----The Fireman -----NOS4A2 -----20th Century Ghosts -----Heart-Shaped Box Interviews -----The Guardian - Stephen King: ‘I have outlived most of my critics. It gives me great pleasure’ by Xan Brooks The Institute is about a concentration camp for children, staffed by implacable factotums. To what extent did Trump’s immigration policies affect the book? Trump’s immigration policies didn’t impact the book, because it was written before that incompetent dumbbell became president. Children are imprisoned and enslaved all over the world. Hopefully, people who read The Institute will find a resonant chord with this administration’s cruel and racial policies.-----NY Times Life Is Imitating Stephen King’s Art, and That Scares Him by Anthony Breznican -----Rollingstone - Stephen King on His New Horror Novel, the ‘Nightmare’ of Trump, and ‘Stranger Things’ By Andy Greene“I wanted to write a book like Tom Brown’s School Days,” King says, referencing the 1857 Thomas Hughes children’s classic about a British boarding school. “But in hell.” Long before Stranger Things and even It, children with supernatural powers were at the center of King books like Carrie, The Shining, and Firestarter. “Like a pitcher that has a great fastball or slider, you go back to what worked for you before,” says King. “I do think that kids are sort of magic. When I was a young man, I could draw [inspiration] from my own kids. Now that I’m so much older, I am drawing from my grandchildren and what I see them doing and how I see them interacting.”-----Stephen Colbert - The Later Show with Stephen Colbert Items of Interest -----The Island Packet - Stephen King’s new book finds horror in Hardeeville: Standstill traffic on I-95 - by David Lauderdale -----Porter Square Books Presents Stephen King & Joe Hill at the Somerville Theater - video – 64 minutes – King and Joe Hill, Hill reads an excerpt from The Institute - King reads from Full Throttle, then they interview each other and take some audience questions. This is wonderful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    The Institute has easily become my favorite Stephen King novel, ever! It may be over 500 pages, but this book reads so fast, you won't put it down. I would say that this book is a combination of X-Men meets Stranger Things—with the literary horror writing style that you've expected to love by Stephen King. The characters were multifaceted, the story was gripping and original, and there wasn't too much exposition—we got right into the story early on. This story really will take you on an adventure that you w The Institute has easily become my favorite Stephen King novel, ever! It may be over 500 pages, but this book reads so fast, you won't put it down. I would say that this book is a combination of X-Men meets Stranger Things—with the literary horror writing style that you've expected to love by Stephen King. The characters were multifaceted, the story was gripping and original, and there wasn't too much exposition—we got right into the story early on. This story really will take you on an adventure that you weren't expecting, and you will definitely not expect how it turns out. The Institute will get you thinking and I see big things for this release.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    3.5 stars? Maybe 4? Gonna think on it. Full review to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    The five star beginning takes place on a totally booked Delta flight bound for New York where we meet Tim Jamieson who gives up his seat and ends up with a job as a Night Knocker in a small backward rural town, population 5,400. There we learn more about Tim's eventful previous life and meet some crazy good people of the night....like homeless Orphan Annie, my favorite. As SK states in his author notes, THE INSTITUTE is mostly about kids, and with a group of exceptionally gifted kidnapped children is where we spend most of our reading timefavorite.5,400. The five star beginning takes place on a totally booked Delta flight bound for New York where we meet Tim Jamieson who gives up his seat and ends up with a job as a Night Knocker in a small backward rural town, population 5,400. There we learn more about Tim's eventful previous life and meet some crazy good people of the night....like homeless Orphan Annie, my favorite. As SK states in his author notes, THE INSTITUTE is mostly about kids, and with a group of exceptionally gifted kidnapped children is where we spend most of our reading time as we leave southern Carolina for the secretive, deadly compound hidden deep in the woods of northern Maine. As the brilliant 12 year old Luke Ellis awakens in a similar, but unknown environment, he soon discovers a scary, threatening new life of horror among other draftees like himself....escape his only hope of survival.Another winner for KING but instead of horror, a mystery-thriller with lots of evil characters and some psychic phenomena. As always, KING brings back memories of old....remember candy cigarettes (yum!), "prehistoric" (lol) sitcoms like Bewitched and Happy Days, and once again, he also gets in some personal political digs about current republican leadership. The only reference to his other novels I picked up was mention of "twins of an old horror movie” (The Shining) and The Outsider(s). GREAT story - GREAT characters - GREAT read, but personally I wanted more of Tim Jamieson and the people of the night!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Ugh! I had no intention of reviewing this book, but some people can be so damned persistent! You know who you are.😤 I did kinda, sorta, but not totally love this book. Hell, truth is that the first 3/4 of it was like the Stephen King of old. It felt right. Eff that! It felt damn good! I loved the story. I loved those kids. My problem was that except in a very few instances, I wasn't too worried about them. I knew my very favorite kiddo would die. What I never really felt was the feels that Sai K Ugh! I had no intention of reviewing this book, but some people can be so damned persistent! You know who you are.😤 I did kinda, sorta, but not totally love this book. Hell, truth is that the first 3/4 of it was like the Stephen King of old. It felt right. Eff that! It felt damn good! I loved the story. I loved those kids. My problem was that except in a very few instances, I wasn't too worried about them. I knew my very favorite kiddo would die. What I never really felt was the feels that Sai King usually instills in every reader. King does kids like nobodies business. This time? Eh, not so much. I wanted, nay, I needed more background, or fast forward. I hated the end. It felt incomplete to me. I wanted more! I know most people say that King writes great, but his endings stink. I've NEVER found that to be the case. This time though, I'd have been happy with an extra 100 pages! By the way, no King book had ever been too long for me. Still, it was a nice feeling. Like I had missed a book from 20 years ago, and just discovered it. Wouldn't that be amazeballs? This story does have the feel of the past. I know everyone love Holly Gibney, and she and her weird shenanigans are fine. But, fuck her! I know my main man is aging and becoming tame in his golden years. Who doesn't? Still, I would like my favorite author to scare the shit outta me before I die! Whatever. The book is good. Didn't blow my mind though. Still, it beats Gerald's Game, and Delores Claiborne! Sorry guys, I may be a wee bit grumpy lately!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I’m not positive why but SK does such a great job writing about kids. He seems to remember the tiniest of details; not just what scares them, but how that fear smells, tastes, and breathes down our neck. That all seems to bring the fear that we buried long ago back to the surface. The Institute was a solid 5 ⭐ read for me. Immediately engaged by the “night knocker” and his backstory, part of the suspense was waiting on his path to cross with our prodigy. Luke and the others in the Institute are nothing m I’m not positive why but SK does such a great job writing about kids. He seems to remember the tiniest of details; not just what scares them, but how that fear smells, tastes, and breathes down our neck. That all seems to bring the fear that we buried long ago back to the surface. The Institute was a solid 5 ⭐️ read for me. Immediately engaged by the “night knocker” and his backstory, part of the suspense was waiting on his path to cross with our prodigy. Luke and the others in the Institute are nothing more than pawns in this horrific game to supposedly save the world from evil. Ironically by destroying the young lives of so many. Although this book has been compared to some of King’s older novels, I found this one much more plausible and compelling. After all, it’s the humans who are always the real monsters. As every Constant Reader can confirm...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Dawn

    I really enjoyed about 3/4 of this one. The setting was interesting, the characters engaging and realistic (as usual with King) and the plot intriguing. 5 star material. Unfortunately, the last part let me down a bit. It seemed kind of rushed, he could've easily added 50 more pages or so. I just wasn't as invested anymore once the showdown started because everything felt a little more distant. Less like I was there with the characters than in the beginning of this story. Overall still a very goo I really enjoyed about 3/4 of this one. The setting was interesting, the characters engaging and realistic (as usual with King) and the plot intriguing. 5 star material. Unfortunately, the last part let me down a bit. It seemed kind of rushed, he could've easily added 50 more pages or so. I just wasn't as invested anymore once the showdown started because everything felt a little more distant. Less like I was there with the characters than in the beginning of this story. Overall still a very good read and definitely better than his last book imo.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    5 STARS!!! Uncle Steve's still got it! I know the hype train has been hot for this one but I kept myself in check. ...but it's warranted folks. The Institute was a fast paced thriller from the beginning to the end and I really loved this one. The characters were fantastic, the writing was great and the whole plot was well thought out. The Institute starts off with introducing us to Tim Jamieson. I wasn't quite sure where this character's arc was going to go in the beginning, but I'm glad I kept readin/>The/>The 5 STARS!!! Uncle Steve's still got it! I know the hype train has been hot for this one but I kept myself in check. ...but it's warranted folks. The Institute was a fast paced thriller from the beginning to the end and I really loved this one. The characters were fantastic, the writing was great and the whole plot was well thought out. The Institute starts off with introducing us to Tim Jamieson. I wasn't quite sure where this character's arc was going to go in the beginning, but I'm glad I kept reading. Because Stephen King has a plan with this character and I loved everything about Tim! After following Tim's journey for a bit, we're introduced to Luke Ellis. Gosh, I love Luke! He's such a great character. I loved all of the kids that are at the Institute and I felt so bad for them. From Sha's positivity, Nicky's rebellion to Avery's sweetness. Each kid had their own voice and I felt King did a great job writing each one of them. I hated everyone that was part of this program and the role that they played. You could tell that their fanatical and uncompromising pursuit of the agenda was in full effect. The ending was NOT a disappointment! I've suffered with other books by King in where the ending fizzled out but that's not the case in The Institute. The pacing was fast and I just kept flipping the pages. I had to find out what would happen to Luke, all the kids and what Tim's role would be on taking out the Institute. I'm really glad I read this one and I hope King keeps rolling books out like this. It's definitely worth they hype!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Video review (will be live at 5am CST): https://youtu.be/F6ur3r67dkc After the thinly-veiled-political-stance-marketed-as-a-novella that was Elevation, Stephen King returns to form with his most thought-provoking book since Revival. You're going to see loads of people, Trumpkins and anti-Trumpers alike, complaining or cheering over FIVE. FUCKING. SENTENCES. in a 560 page book. It truly is as ridiculous as it sounds, and that's coming from a guy (*waves* talking about me) who lost his fucking mind when the Orange One took office. I a Video review (will be live at 5am CST): https://youtu.be/F6ur3r67dkc After the thinly-veiled-political-stance-marketed-as-a-novella that was Elevation, Stephen King returns to form with his most thought-provoking book since Revival. You're going to see loads of people, Trumpkins and anti-Trumpers alike, complaining or cheering over FIVE. FUCKING. SENTENCES. in a 560 page book. It truly is as ridiculous as it sounds, and that's coming from a guy (*waves* talking about me) who lost his fucking mind when the Orange One took office. I admittedly went a bit crazy but I dug myself out and here we are. The aforementioned five sentences don't follow each other. Some are even hundreds of pages apart. There's even a GOOD GUY with a picture of Trump on his wall, but you won't hear anyone talking about that. The Trump stuff isn't any more invasive than all the times King has ragged on Nixon, Clinton, and Bush over the years, so calm yo chest meat, Bartholomew, and stop flinching at shadows. If you're a horror fan who thinks King lost his way once he stopped writing about undead pets and vampires, you should probably skip this one. King has matured once again, and while the book is scary in an intelligent way, it is NOT. A. HORROR. NOVEL. Hard stop. It's not like It, so don't listen to the marketing. It is, however, a novel about kids, human monsters, and the lengths some people will go to to ensure the survival of the human race based solely on what MIGHT happen and not what WILL happen. You do not need to have read any of King's previous books to get this one, but it would behoove you to have read any of his stuff that focuses on psychic powers. The Shop, from Firestarter and other works, makes no appearance here. Not in name, anyway. Can it be assumed that's who's behind the titular Institute? Mayhap it can. But I repeat, you need no knowledge of any previously-published King books. However, if you are in possession of this knowledge, you're going to have a much deeper experience. Still with me? Cool. All of the above are responses to questions I've been asked since The Institute came out. Now we can get into my personal feelings about this book. I had a motherfucking blast. I took my time and whittled away at this one over the course of a week, about 75 pages a day, and I highly recommend you do the same. You will be tempted to speed through because this does feel like a thriller but I assure you that's just the paint job. This thing is built on a literary chassis, and has a monster of a theme under its hood. In other words, she fires on all cylinders, sports fans, so buckle up and enjoy the ride. If you do choose to race rather than take a leisurely drive, I can dig it. I almost had the same problem. These are just suggestions. You do you, Becky. Moving on. This is, hands down, legs spread, tits to the sky, one of King's best endings. I was clapping during the final showdown and vibrating with excitement. I'm still ruminating on this next statement but... I might just call it King's BEST ending. If there are plot holes, I'll leave those for Kemper and Dan 2.0 to find because I didn't notice any. What I'm saying is: This is disbelief... ...and this is me. Needless to say, it was adequately suspended. In summation: HOLY SHIT I LOVED THIS FUCKING BOOK. Don't @ me if you didn't like it, Beatrice, and if you're one of these clowns on either side stuck on stupid over five sentences, can I possibly direct you to a good therapist? Worked wonders for me. Final Judgment: How they gonna do the Lot like that???

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.D. Barker

    King’s magic is in his characters, and this one is no exception. Proximal to IT and FIRESTARTER, THE INSTITUTE is his classic children versus darkness tale, drawn in the flawless and consuming way we’ve come to expect from this master storyteller. Many thanks to Mr. King and his publisher for the advance copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    I survived.... now let’s have some cake!!!! The audiobook was 18 hours and 19 minutes long. The narrator, Santino Fontana, was superb as the reader for Stephen King’s new sinister novel. I actually liked the ‘reader’ of this book - more than I did the overall story. The plot moved along slow — but I adored the characters. I enjoyed the individuality of each of the kids... and many of the adult characters. The kids each had some unique gifts. The friendships were heartwarming I survived.... now let’s have some cake!!!! The audiobook was 18 hours and 19 minutes long. The narrator, Santino Fontana, was superb as the reader for Stephen King’s new sinister novel. I actually liked the ‘reader’ of this book - more than I did the overall story. The plot moved along slow — but I adored the characters. I enjoyed the individuality of each of the kids... and many of the adult characters. The kids each had some unique gifts. The friendships were heartwarming. The plot...frightening. And... my goodness... there is sooooooo MUCH eating.... Food became a main character. I was hoping to be giddy-rapturous towards this new King release..... not quite... but I still enjoyed it. The story was inventive...but drawn out too long. The kids were priceless. The kids were priceless. The kids were priceless!!!!! Overall - about a 3.6 rating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This book was dark, fast-paced, crazy, and entertaining. This is for sure one of the most thrilling books centered on children since IT. The development of the kids’ abilities and characters added greatly to the enjoyment. The book kept me up late for a few nights straight but it was well worth it! Overall, a thrilling read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    I've been to the point where I was about to throw in the towel with reading Stephen King. I've said for years that he is my favorite author but honestly I wasn't feeling it for the last few years. I started this expecting the worst or at best sorta a copy of this..... I got a surprise and it was a pleasant one. This book starts well and actually holds up. There are already a ton of reviews telling what happens so I'll gloss over all that and just pretty much sa I've been to the point where I was about to throw in the towel with reading Stephen King. I've said for years that he is my favorite author but honestly I wasn't feeling it for the last few years. I started this expecting the worst or at best sorta a copy of this..... I got a surprise and it was a pleasant one. This book starts well and actually holds up. There are already a ton of reviews telling what happens so I'll gloss over all that and just pretty much say this was goooooood. It didn't have the crap load of characters that some Stephen King books have had. It actually had a ending that makes some sense...which if you've read King you know that sometimes he just shits the bed on those. "Do it fast," Annie said, "or you're dead. This isn't playin, boys. You're in the south now."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    It's been a while since I went gaga over a new King novel. My favorites have always been his earlier stuff, but I've never actually disliked any of his new stuff, so there's always that. :) And then this one comes around, hooking me from the very start, and managing to improve upon Firestarter, going the full YA dystopian route while also making me so invested that I wanted to scream. This is Supreme King. I LIKE these kids. I love the story! And I especially love the twist It's been a while since I went gaga over a new King novel. My favorites have always been his earlier stuff, but I've never actually disliked any of his new stuff, so there's always that. :) And then this one comes around, hooking me from the very start, and managing to improve upon Firestarter, going the full YA dystopian route while also making me so invested that I wanted to scream. This is Supreme King. I LIKE these kids. I love the story! And I especially love the twist that makes it all so much deeper, relevant, and twists the knife in our modern society. It's not just horrible in how it tells us that thousands of kids remain missing every year. It's not just horrible how desensitization can affect us all. It's not even the whole justification s**t we've surrounded ourselves with since before our children could walk. Or even before we could walk. It's all of it. And more. Because these children could be our children. Ignore the TK stuff. I'm talking about the true danger of desensitization. It's so easy to add one more thing. And another. And another. The adults were the obvious villains, and examples, of course, but what really got me was the CHILDREN. It's so easy to turn them all into those in Gorky Park. *shiver* I am very, very happy to see King being this great again. :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    I am such a sucker for kids with special powers!! Excellent read and first out of three King books that I loved this year. My faith in King is restored.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dean J. Hill

    WELCOME TO THE INSTITUTE KITCHEN. TODAY’S DESSERT SPECIAL IS THE LATEST NOVEL BY STEPHEN KING WITH A DELICIOUSLY EERIE FILLING. Grab your ingredients, preheat the oven and wet those lips. Line your tin with revenge and betrayed childhood innocence. Whisk in a dash of regained hope. Beat the yolks of Carrie, Firestarter and IT together. Dip in your finger. Doesn’t this recipe seem familiar? Add a great big spoonful of suspense and a drizzle of horror. Now reach for the bottle of King’s Signature and pour. Continue to bake i WELCOME TO THE INSTITUTE KITCHEN. TODAY’S DESSERT SPECIAL IS THE LATEST NOVEL BY STEPHEN KING WITH A DELICIOUSLY EERIE FILLING. Grab your ingredients, preheat the oven and wet those lips. Line your tin with revenge and betrayed childhood innocence. Whisk in a dash of regained hope. Beat the yolks of Carrie, Firestarter and IT together. Dip in your finger. Doesn’t this recipe seem familiar? Add a great big spoonful of suspense and a drizzle of horror. Now reach for the bottle of King’s Signature and pour. Continue to bake in the centre of the oven. Watch it rise with creepy characters and spooky settings. Leave to cool just in time for Halloween. Can you smell and taste the terror? Trick or treat, it’s Stephen King’s signature sweet! “Great events turn on small hinges . . .” * My review of IT is available to read HERE

  29. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    I was reluctant to rate THE INSTITUTE because after about 200 pages, I decided not to finish it. I found the portrayal of the kids in the book disturbing and bothersome. At times it seemed like King was painting them as "mini-adults." I also thought he fell into his occasional trap of banal writing and dialogue. I was so looking forward to this novel because I loved the premise, but in the end, I just did not care for how all the elements were handled by the author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Risher

    I've been a huge SK fan since days of reading The Shining at a camp in Maine (bad idea, but that's for another day.) I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Institute, and I'm thrilled to report this is an example of Stephen King in top form. No spoilers or details here; the book won't be released till September. But when it is, pick it up and be prepared to read into the night. It's horrifying without being a "horror" book (not that there's anything wrong with that)-- a book about I've been a huge SK fan since days of reading The Shining at a camp in Maine (bad idea, but that's for another day.) I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Institute, and I'm thrilled to report this is an example of Stephen King in top form. No spoilers or details here; the book won't be released till September. But when it is, pick it up and be prepared to read into the night. It's horrifying without being a "horror" book (not that there's anything wrong with that)-- a book about evil meeting kindness. You'll love it.

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