I was SO thrilled to find a new book by Stephen King while randomly browsing for first signed editions. I immediately purchased it and I must say, after reading it, I was in awe. While I’ve never been fond of the Detective Hodges series, I love the short stories and the big books that Mr. King produces for his Constant Readers.
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.
As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.
“Great events turn on small hinges.”
What is there not to like about a book focusing on private research of super-powers? Or about kids coming together and fighting back? Or how small heroes wear big capes. Or how The Breakers from the Dark Tower series got collected and set to use their mind skills to “break the beam” by killing random people that precogs deemed as a threat to humankind much like they would have killed an Austrian painter before he got famous for gasing nations.
I read it in two sittings and I must say – 5/5!
PS: this will soon be a movie/series adaptation:
According to a release, King’s The Institute has Mr. Mercedes creator David E. Kelley and Game of Thrones/Under the Dome director Jack Bender attached to help turn it into a series. “I’m delighted to be working with Jack and David, the creative team behind Mr. Mercedes,” King said in a statement. “We think alike, and I believe The Institute is going to be a great success.” This has all been done by Spyglass Media Group, LLC (the new company that purchased the rights to The Weinstein Company’s film library), the first time the company has made a TV bid.