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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.

But…

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.

How Does He Do It?

The Institute

King recently announced that he has a new book hitting the shelves on September 10, 2019. The Institute is 500+ pages and I can’t wait.

A short blurb from the publisher:

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.”

I always look forward to a story from him and I love it when it’s a nice, long one.  I don’t know how he manages to release a book at least once a year (this year he released two) but I’m glad he does. Especially in the fall. Always kicks off the RIP Challenge nicely. How thoughtful of him, right?