The Institute by Stephen King

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been hearing about this a lot in the book community on Instagram and YouTube. I haven’t gotten around to read a lot of King’s works but I did enjoy a couple of his stories that he had published under the name of Richard Bachmann. If you haven’t checked out the Running Man I would highly recommend it.

Now, when it comes to stories that King writes, I automatically expect two things: either to be biting off my finger nails or to read a seemingly fiction novel with a few twists of the fantastical.

Although I have managed to get a copy of Misery I’m still trying to bring myself to read it. It isn’t because I’m afraid that King will disappoint. On the contrary. I’m afraid that it would hit all the right notes and keys and will cause me a couple of sleepless nights.

The Institute definitely falls in the later half of the two. The seemingly normal story we are following, at least in the first part of the story is thoughtfully written. We follow an ex-cop that moves, by coincidence to a small town in the south and stays there. Then we are being introduced to what I like to call the actual protagonist of the story, Luke Ellis who is a gifting young man. At the beginning when it was pointed at the fact that Luke is gifted my fight or flight senses kicked in. There were so many stories written about people who possess supernatural abilities that I loved but also that I didn’t enjoy.

King is great at telling you a story and selling it to you, making even the outrageous feel possible.

In King’s case, he played it smartly. Gifted meant that Luke was very smart and he would soon attend university although he was just twelve. Yes. Twelve. I kept wondering while I was reading when the two story lines would intersect. The idea was compelling enough and at times I found myself wondering whether such a place might actually exist. Whilst the reasoning behind why the Institute would exist was a bit of a stretch, the plot and the characters were written with taste and sense that overall I found myself by the end of the book to buy it.

King is a master at plot. Everyone knows that. King is great at telling you a story and selling it to you. The Institute is testament to his abilities and if anyone has thought that his crown would be taken away, in my opinion King is a leading example of how strong writing and a strong idea can create the most magical of places without too many magical elements required.