Stephen King invites you to enter The Institute his best work in years


Stephen King is no stranger to extraordinary child characters. The Institute is no exception and on a grander scale.

First of all, let me say Happy Birthday (September 21st) to Stephen King. Here’s a birthday present for him. A review of his latest novel The Institute. It may be his birthday, but he gave us a real gift.

Luke Ellis wakes up in a room that is identical to his in every way. He only knows it’s not really his room because, unlike his real room is there is no window. Luke is an exceptionally intelligent boy with a small penchant for moving things with his mind when he’s upset.

Upon leaving his room he meets a young girl named Kalisha who explains to him he’s in a facility called the Institute. A shadowy place where they experiment on kids with special powers like telekinesis and telepathy. They along with a few others are in what’s known as front half. The kids who get sent to back half are never seen again.

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I’ve been a constant reader of Stephen King’s work for 20 years. Sadly to me his last few books were underwhelming, and I was afraid Uncle Stevie was starting to lose his touch. After all the man has been turning out hit novels for the past 45 years. I’m glad to say that I was wrong, all wrong. The Institute is a return to the usual classic King fare.

There is one severely outdated reference to the one hit wonder song Mambo #5. Really, Sai King?  If I have one gripe it’s the ending. While it’s a relatively more happy ending than I expected, it feels bitter-sweet. Other than that The Institute is a thrilling story right up until the final breath taking battle.

Luke and his friends Kalisha, Nicky, George, Iris, Helen and Avery are a welcome if possibly more powerful than the likes of the other King extrasensory children Charlie McGee, Danny Torrance and Carrie. The adults who work at the Institute are cruel and sadistic. The torture the children go through is even more gut wrenching because they believe they are doing something good.

The Institute is as horrific as it is inspiring. A tale of friendship and overcoming a terrible situation that is much bigger than yourself. Most importantly it reminds us to never underestimate the little guy.

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Have you read The Institute? Do you agree that it was one of King’s best books? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.