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#BookReview of The Institute by Stephen King

  4 Oct 2019 |    3 minutes  |   Paul Mitchell

Book Cover for The Institute by Stephen King

Title:  The Institute
Author:  Stephen King
Date Published:  10 Sep, 2019
Genre:  Horror
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN:  978-1529355390
Pages:  561
Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Institute is another interesting story from the pen of Stephen King. It begins with Tim Jamieson taking a flight to New York but decides to take the $2000 offered by the airline for a government official needing a seat. He decides to hitchhike his way to New York, and after other changes in his fortune he ends up in the small town of DuPray. While here, Tim takes the job of “Night Knocker” making night patrols and earns the trust of the local Sheriff. And that’s it for Tim and DuPray for now at least.

great events turn on small hinges

Meanwhile, across the country child genius, Luke Ellis is kidnapped in the middle of the night and his parents are killed. When he awakens he appears to be in his room, but there are no windows. He wanders around outside his room and meets a young girl who appears to be smoking a cigarette, this is Kalisha. There are three other residents currently in the front half of The Institute: Nicky, George and Iris. All have psychic abilities to some extent; Kalisha is TP (telepathic), George is TK (has telekinetic abilities). They are joined later by 10-year-old Avery who’s a very strong TP.

The Institute is run by the ruthless director Mrs Sigsby who is determined to extract all the children’s extraordinary gifts before sending them to the back half from where they never return. As such, the children are subjected to all kinds of treatments and tests including the tank where they are submerged until they are near to drowning. The kids know that they have a limited time in the front half normally 2-3 weeks before being moved to back half. Iris and Nicky have been moved and so has Kalisha; Luke fears that he will be moved soon if he doesn’t escape.

The bulk of the action the place in The Institute itself, but we do return to DuPray and Tim Jamieson later - much later (about 300 pages), for a seemingly final conflict.


This may feel familiar ground to King fans (think Carrie or Firestarter) with psychic children on the run or being harassed by others, there’s even a hint of Stranger Things. Like many of King’s stories, this is ultimately a battle of good vs evil. True it is a horror story, but not in a bloodfest or stalker-slasher kind of way. No, this is the kind where people do unspeakable things to others in the name of science.

The Institute is another fairly long book from Stephen King, but it’s entertaining and didn’t feel like it at all while reading. It will certainly appeal to his millions of fans.

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