Monday, October 7, 2019

Review - The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Date Read: October 6, 2019
Length: 576 Pages
Source: Library
★★★★★
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.
My Review

This was spectacular!  I hate to admit it but I avoided Stephen King's books until about 5 years ago or so.  When I was a teenager almost 30 years ago, I read a short story written by King and didn't enjoy it.  I didn't pick up another book with his name on it for another 25 years.  It turns out this was a very big mistake.  Huge.  I could have been enjoying his books all these years and didn't give them a chance because for some reason I thought that my teenage mind was able to make a good decision.  I have matured a lot as a reader and a human being and have enjoyed his books that I have picked up during the past several years but I have a lot of catching up to do.

I found myself like the characters in this book right away.  We first meet Tim who becomes a night knocker in a small southern town.  I liked Tim a lot but I really felt like Luke was the driving force of this story.  Luke is a twelve-year-old boy who happens to be a well-adjusted genius.  Luke's life falls apart when he is taken to the Institute.  He is able to make friends and keep himself safe in this unkind environment.  Luke never stops thinking and always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else.  I couldn't help but want to see good things happen for this awesome kid and his friends.

I loved the way this book came together.  I felt like there were a lot of finely moving parts that worked perfectly to tell a larger story.  Every piece of information may become important at a later time.  The descriptions were so vivid that I almost felt like I was there with Luke through all of his experiences.  I found this plot to be incredibly original.  The story was really exciting at times with some pretty intense action.  I found parts of the book to also be emotional.  Luke goes through a whole lot in this book and I really felt for him at times.

I would highly recommend this book to others.  I had a fantastic time with this book and hated to put it down.  It really was a joy to read and I cannot wait to read more of King's work.

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

21 comments:

  1. Wow, a 5 star read! So glad you loved this one, Carole! It's been many years since I read anything by King (I used to read a lot by him).

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  2. I didn't pick up stephen king until Sleeping Beauties... I always find his work a little terrifying

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  3. Yay! 5 stars. How awesome. I've heard some wonderful things about this book and people who think his latest books haven't been that good are loving it. I never really fell off the bandwagon but have had a few I didn't enjoy. I would definitely recommend you pick up The Outsider and I even liked Dr. Sleep even though I never felt that The Shining needed a sequel. Great review!

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  4. Yay! I’m glad you liked it. I love Stephen King, so I need to read this one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. It's been a while since I haven't read any of his books

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  6. I've held back from Stephen King because I don't enjoy horror. I have read his trilogy with Bill Hodges with Mr. Mercedes. This sounds more like that, not exactly horror. I might try it. Excellent review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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  7. I haven't read anything my Stephen King either.

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  8. I have only read his fantasy one ;)

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  9. I can't wait to read this one! It sounds amazing. There are so many holds at my library that it will be quite a while before I can get my hands on it. Great review!

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  10. King is hit and miss for me, but regardless, he is a great storyteller. This sounds really good! Perfect for this time of year.

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  11. It has been awhile since I read a Stephen King book. This one sounds interesting. I have added it to my wish list.

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  12. So glad you enjoyed this one! It's been quite a while since I've read a Stephen King book. My oldest son is reading King's The Dark Tower series right now and enjoying it.

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  13. I started out reading a lot of Horror but don't read it much anymore. This sounds really good though so I hope they make it into a movie.

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  14. I used to grab his books as fast as they came out. Fell away from them for a while and then jumped back in. This sounds fantastic!

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  16. I haven't read all of King's books, only a few, but I've always enjoyed his writing style. My favourite one when I was much younger was Firestarter. This, once again, piques my interest, so I'll add it to my list. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. It's ironic that I've had the opposite King journey! I loved a lot of his early horror stuff but haven't really enjoyed anything he's published in the last ten years or more!

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  18. I've been hearing such good things about this one. I'm waiting for my library to get the audio but so far no luck :(

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  19. I'm going to have to get on the list from the library for this one. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

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  20. I have recently been watching all of the horror films and really enjoying them, so I think I need to get into his fiction. I just borrowed It from the library and now I am very interested in getting around to read this one too. Adding it to my list :D

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  21. I'm so glad you enjoyed this!! I cannot wait to read it!

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