The Institute – Review


One of the perks of being the biggest reader in my small town is first dibs on the new books at the library. I’m not an avid Stephen King reader, in fact, this was only my third book by the King, but the synopsis sounded so intriguing, I couldn’t pass it up.


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.

There’s no question Stephen King is a master at what he does. His writing is smart and concise, with the perfect mix of humor and seriousness. I find him utterly charming, which may not be the most common word used to describe the man. We’ll see if my opinion still holds true after I read The Shining next month.

While this book started slowly and had a slightly anticlimactic ending, the meat of this story was addictive. I couldn’t put it down and was anxious about which horrible thing might happen next to the poor kids emprisoned in the Institute. It felt like a slightly more invigorating version of Stranger Things. I was on the edge of my seat, wishing I could help these kids escape while knowing they would soon be bringing Hell down on the evil adults using them as guinea pigs. The story brought out all of the emotions: excitement, sadness, rage, fury, and triumph.

After watching a few interviews with King regarding his latest release, I was eager to see how a seventy-two-year-old man would capture the voices of children in this novel. Somehow, he was able to put his readers in the minds of kids of all ages and genders without a hitch. I felt as if each character could have been a legitimate person, which is impressive based on the sheer number of characters this book has. There was the no-nonsense view of the world only children can possess in each of the characters, mixed with the fear and uncertainty that comes from the lack of worldly experience we all had as children.

One of my favorite aspects of this story were the random, small moments of kindness certain characters might display toward someone in need. These were such miniscule parts of the story, but they were uplifting and gave the story an overall positive tone.

I wish there had been a few more details pertaining to the telekinetic and telepathic powers the kids possessed along with more information regarding the Institute at the end of the story. It seemed like certain things were glazed over but overall this was an interesting read. It was a hefty book that, at times, didn’t feel long enough. I can’t wait to read some of King’s former novels in the future… if I can stomach the horror. 🙂

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase on Amazon.


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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Jules_Writes says:

    Great review, I’m looking forward to this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like a great, compelling read. Loved your thoughtful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! 🙏🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m intrigued by the book. I’m just a bit hesitant since it’s about kids being experimented on, but I can see picking it up in a couple month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand. I don’t think it was too terribly graphic, but those parts were still tough to read.


  4. I’ve watched a few adaptations of Stephen King’s novels but I’ve never actually picked up a book by him (horror isn’t really my thing tbh & I feel like reading it is always worse than watching movies bc my imagination is WILD 😂) I really like the premise of this one though so I might check it out! Loved your review 😍

    💛 Ngoc

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That’s funny because I’m the exact opposite – I can’t handle horror films because of the music and the visual suspense. Books are easier for me to stomach. Lol!

      I will say, I wouldn’t consider this one horror at all. In fact, all of the books I’ve read of his haven’t been horror: 11/22/63 and The Green Mile were excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Will watch now … thanks …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. PageTurnersNook says:

    Great review … cannot wait to read this one however it may be a while before I get onto it as I am reading his books in release date order in between the other books on my tbr pile and out of 70 books or so I am only onto number 26 haha – eek!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow!!! That is such a cool idea. I wish you the best of luck reaching your goal of finishing all of his books! 🎉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. PageTurnersNook says:

        Thank you. I may be 90 years of age when I finish the challenge but I am hell bent on doing it haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha! I’m excited for you to accomplish it. It’s an awesome plan!

        Liked by 1 person

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