Review: The Institute

The Institute

The Institute
By Stephen King
Scribner, 9781982110567,  September 2019, 576pp.

The Short of It:

Not what I expected.

The Rest of It:

When it comes to King, it’s obvious to me and has been for decades, that he enjoys the storytelling process. I imagine him at his computer, wringing his hands and laughing maniacally over the words spooling out of his head and I am here for it.


Something happened with The Institute. Two thirds of the book was lackluster. The setup? Long. The characters? Somewhat likable. The story?  Unbelievable.  But I am a Constant Reader and a huge fan of his regardless so I will stick to the positives.

Luke Ellis, 10,  is kidnapped from the safety of his home and taken in an SUV to a place called, The Institute. There, kids are placed in rooms that look very much like home, but they are not home and in fact, being experimented on. These kids have powers, specifically telekinesis and telepathy but all to varying degrees. They are poked and prodded and injected with unknown substances to bring on the dots which represents their powers in action.

Luke befriends a group of kids, some older, some younger and together they attempt to figure out what is going on. Why are they there? What do the tests mean? What will happen to them in the end?

The Institute has some classic King elements but is definitely not horror. Not even close. I wouldn’t say it’s a thriller either. Although the last few chapters were nail biters the majority of the book hummed along and settled into the Sci-Fi category. A rather sleepy take on Sci-Fi, if that.

I enjoyed The Institute but it lacked that snappy King vibe that his most beloved books possess. Usually with King, the interactions between the kids are golden. I mean, think back to IT and how tight that circle was. That tightness was missing with Luke and his gang although there were hints of it when it came to The Institute’s youngest occupant, Avery. Overall, lukewarm.

I know many who read it when it first came out and loved it. It took me longer to get to than I wanted but now that I’ve read it I feel like maybe the lack of buzz while reading it might have affected my overall impression.

If you love King and have not read it yet, I would still recommend that you do because Constant Readers read it all. Right?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: Life Update

Sunday Matters

I had high hopes for the RIP Challenge but you know me and challenges. The one book I actually got to was not really horror at all. I did watch some movies though. I was so into the challenge but then it got warm and it didn’t feel like fall here. Hard to do a fall reading challenge when it’s like summer outside.

And, the fires. When it feels like all of California is burning, it’s hard to cozy up on the coach with your current read.

I didn’t get to post last week but my daughter’s high school took 1st place in the Musical category at that theatre festival I mentioned. Lots of competition and with half of them evacuated from their homes the day before, they really came together and performed amazingly well. If you are theatre lover at heart, check out Jesus Christ Superstar told in 7+ minutes. My daughter is the tall one and has a nice solo as Pilate.

Right Now:

As you read this, we are on our way to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to see my son in his first show there, Lysistrata. Fires permitting, as there is another one they are battling right now, we hope to get there early so we can take him out to breakfast. It’s a good three hour drive.

This Week:

Nothing remarkable this week. Just rehearsals for Annie and Macbeth. Maybe someday my daughter will finish her driver’s training.


Still reading King’s new book, The Institute.


I did manage to watch Charlie Brown while handing out tons of candy last Thursday but never got around to watching Halloween 2 which was my plan.

Still watching The Walking Dead and American Horror Story.

New Things I’ve Tried:

You guys, I work in Information Technology and I had yet to use Grubhub or any other food ordering app. I was aware of the convenience of course, but just didn’t want to put my information in. Well, that is how my university does mobile ordering now so I downloaded the darn thing. It is nice to just walk up to a counter and get my grub.

Grateful for:

I am grateful for the arts. Both of my kids as you know are heavily involved and it’s such a pleasure to see all their hard work pay off in the form of a production. I love sitting in that theater seat waiting for a show to begin. It’s THE BEST feeling.

How have you all been? I received many messages asking about me and the fires nearby. Thank you so much for thinking of me and my family. The night before the competition, I had some kids at my house because they could not get back into their homes and I was afraid they wouldn’t make the competition. Everyone has been on edge. Traffic has been horrific. I had to work from home one day and the university closed one day as well. But, our homes are still standing. Sadly, my daughter’s friend lost his home in one of those fires.

Anyway, that’s it from me. Hello, November and hello time change.

Chatting with friends about books and life…