AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: The Institute by Stephen King

Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Format: Audio
Genre:  supernatural thriller
Narrators: Santino Fontana

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
19 hours 59 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


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.


I read this as part of my ABC challenge. 

I am not a huge fan of Stephen King for the most part but I am a fan of the coming of age books he writes.  I loved this book.  It was a great mystery and coming of age. I loved Luke who while a genius is also still very much a child in the beginning of this book and then becomes more jaded and grown up by the end. 

I loved how the two stories converged.  First we are introduced to Tim who without explanation takes an offer to leave a plane and decides to slowly head toward his destination through hitchhiking etc. He finds himself in a small town that is barely a blip on the map and makes a rash decision to take a night knocker job, like his grandfather. 

Then we have Luke, a genius who has convinced his parents to let him attend both MIT and Emerson for dual degrees at the age of 12. He also has a tendency to rattle doors and move pizza plates when he gets upset. One night he is kidnapped from his home and taken to The Institute where young kids with the ability to read minds or move things are taken and experimented on. He quickly forms a bond with several of the children but knows that if he can't come up with a plan to escape they may all die. 

Well written this book had me on the edge of my seat and totally engaged. Even if you aren't a Stephen King fan you will love this book. 

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