As readers, I think one thing we all have in common is that every time we pick up a book, we’re hoping it’ll be one of those times where what you’re reading is so absorbing that you forget entirely that you’re reading, your conscious self recedes into the background, and the story just takes over. Those are always the most magical reading experiences for me, at least, and this book, which calls to mind the beginnings of King’s writing career, absolutely did that for me. I’m very glad I bought a hardcover of this one because I’ll definitely be revisiting it (plus, the cover is gorgeous).
I read this the week it was released, so this is going to be more of a big picture review.
The Institute doesn’t start out where you think it would for a book about kids getting kidnapped and experimented on in order for a secret organization hidden in the government to use them for their telekinetic powers. It actually starts with an ex-cop who’s making his way across America seeing where fate takes him. Then we switch over to the kids, and the two stories converge by the end. It’s scary, reminiscent of some of his older works (specifically It and Firestarter, which is one of the reasons I read both of those books for the first time earlier this year), and yet puts a modernized spin on the way he explores similar themes he has before. I loved every minute of it. Sometimes SK can be iffy on endings, but I think he got it right this time.
If you’ve never read SK before, this would be a great entry point. It’s not as much of a horror book, as it is a sci-fi thriller/suspense novel, so if you’re not a horror person and that’s the reason you haven’t tried King out yet, this would really be the perfect entry point. (And then if you’re like me and what happened the first time I read one of his non-horror books, you’ll just say fuck it, I’m going to read them all anyway.)
[4.5 stars, might round up to five on re-read]