Book Review Books

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

This book is both entertaining and a little disappointing. An odd feeling as I finished the last page and closed the cover. It’s a book I had a hard time putting down, but it left me wanting a more in depth take on the characters.

Tim, an ex cop, is on his way from Florida to New York. Instead of taking the fast route via airplane he chooses to hitchhike his way north. This lands him in the small southern town of Dupray where he decides to stay for a while working odd jobs.

Meanwhile, a Minnesota boy named Luke is kidnapped and taken to a secret remote location in Maine. He meets other kids roughly his own age, twelve, and finds that they are being experimented on for the telekinetic and psychic abilities.

Luke is genius level smart. He eventually finds a way to escape with the help of a maid in the institute he is being held in and another kid, Avery. He hops a train and ends up in, you guessed it, Dupray.

The Institute sends military trained people to retrieve Luke. Luckily, Dupray is full of gun toting Americans who don’t take kindly to the Institutes men shooting up their Sheriffs office.

Tim helps Luke rescue his friends, at least some of them. This ending has a surprisingly high death count, even for Stephen King. It’s an ending, though, that’s better than some of his other novels (Under the Dome, I’m looking at you).

The story itself is interesting enough, but King doesn’t delve as deeply into his characters as he usually does. Maybe it’s because there are so many, it’s a highly populated story. Maybe King didn’t connect with them as much as his previous novels.

Since I already mentioned it, I’ll use Under the Dome as an example. I love that novel (except the ending) because the characters are so rich and developed. The good ones and the villains. It draws you into that world to a point where you don’t want to leave until the last page is read.

The Institute falls short of that level of character work. It’s still worth a read, but it’s not King’s best work. I’m sure it’ll get a movie adaptation at some point. Maybe the live action can bring some much needed life to the characters.

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