This is the book that made me a Stephen King fan. I read and loved The Dark Tower but I still held the belief that King was a horror writer and that is not really my thing. The Institute is a thriller with elements of suspense, fantasy, and science fiction. The protagonist is twelve years old so I’m sure the argument could be made that it is YA (I think it is appropriate for young adult readers but should not be categorized as YA as that is not the intended audience). Like every King book I’ve read, there are moments within the prose that are nothing short of brilliant. The kind that I find myself re-reading, or re-listening to over and over again. Also like many King novels, there is a lot of story and a rather quick ending. King’s climaxes seem to happen very close to the end of the book. This is a standalone novel but the ending certainly raises new, interesting, and unanswered questions.
I kept thinking that this book was related to The Dark Tower and that this was a book about the Breakers. It seems that is not correct but it’s kind of head cannon for me now. This is really the reason I consider myself a true King fan now. I really liked this book and it is not part of The Dark Tower series. The only other non-DT King book I’ve read is The Green Mile and that was years ago.
I chose to read The Institute because it was very popular on goodreads last year and it was read by Santino Fontana. I know him as original Greg from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He was also Prince Hans in Frozen and won the Tony for Lead Actor – Musical last year for his originating role in Tootsie. He has a delightful voice and does an excellent job. I hope that he continues to narrate books.