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Everything You Need to Know About Stephen King’s The Institute

Attention Stephen King fans!

The Master of Modern Horror has a new book out entitled The Institute.

What can readers expect from Stephen King’s The Institute? Plenty of thrills, that’s for sure!

King has introduced some common themes and elements into The Institute. Stephen King is, for example, a lover of the so-called “special child” trope. In this book, though, it works – as it does for nearly every one of his other books that utilize this type of storyline.

What else can readers expect from The Institute by Stephen King? What types of reviews has it received from readers and critics alike? Read on to find out more!

Stephen King’s The Institute: What Readers Can Expect

As was mentioned, this novel bears some resemblance to other stories King has written in that the story centers around special children. The children in this story are adept at telekinesis and telepathy.

The main character is a twelve-year-old boy named Luke, who is kidnapped in the middle of the night after his parents are silently, swiftly, and efficiently murdered.  In fact, the whole process of murder and kidnapping takes less than two minutes.

Luke wakes up in what’s called The Institute, in a room that looks exactly like his own room. The only difference: no windows.

Upon some exploration, Luke finds other kids there who have special abilities as he does and whose parents were murdered just like his.

The kids Luke meets have undergone some testing and upon graduating were placed in the Front Half of The Institute, while other children have been graduated to the Back Half. One child describes the Back Half as being like “the roach motel,” a place in which, once you check-in, you can never check out again.

The director of The Institute, Mrs. Sigsby, is ruthless. Some might compare her to the infamous Nurse Ratched of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Side note: anyone who loves One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest needs to check out the 50th Anniversary Special Edition, narrated by John C. Reilly.)

Mrs. Sigsby and her staff of minions extract the paranormal gifts from the children’ they’ve kidnapped. Those who cooperate get vending machine tokens. Those who don’t receive severe punishment.

Once the powers are extracted from the children, they are graduated to the Back Half, never to be seen again.

Why are they trying to extract the powers from the children? Will Luke be able to escape the horrors of The Institute? No one has ever been able to escape before. Will he be the first, and will he be able to save any of the other kids, too?

Stephen King’s The Institute is a classic tale of good versus evil, which raises the classic question—will good prevail in this tale, or will the world finally be overcome by the evil?

The Institute by Stephen King: A Review – Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Will The Institute prove to be one of the best Stephen King novels? Only time will tell. In the meantime, here’s what readers and critics have had to say about the latest edition to King’s repertoire.

You can also read out insider’s guide to author Stephen King and which audiobooks you should listen to now!

What GoodReads Readers Have to Say

Everyday readers have enjoyed The Institute by Stephen King, giving it 4.33 stars out of five on GoodReads.

One reader said the story was enthralling, while another praised the story of the actual journey of the children as they try to escape The Institute, calling it action-packed.

Still another reader said that this book had depth, it was something a reader could sink their teeth into, and that the character development was phenomenal. Some have said that if readers like watching Stranger Things, then they’ll definitely like The Institute. Stephen King seems to have another winner on his hands with this story!

The Guardian: King Uses the “Special Child” Trope Again – Is That a Bad Thing?

One criticism King has received is that of using the “special child” trope in yet another book. He’s used this as far back as readers can remember, starting with Carrie. King likes to give kids special powers – something that may leave readers wondering what he’s trying to accomplish with these stories. Kid empowerment? Sounds like a great plot detail to a lot of readers!

The Guardian article concludes that whether the novel is good or bad is speculative. It all depends on what has drawn readers to Stephen King in the past. If they’re interested in conspiracies and fall for the allure of cosmic forces – they’re probably going to like the novel.

On the other hand, those who appreciate King’s ability to tell a detailed and elaborate backstory might be disappointed. The Institute might seem to cursory for their tastes.

The New York Times: Antiquated Language and Clichés with a Graceful Plot Hook

At first glance, it may appear that the writer of the New York Times article is giving The Institute a bad review. That’s not necessarily the case.

While the writer was somewhat amused and annoyed by the abundance of clichés (they started to underline them all but quickly gave up because “carpel tunnel is real”), they were still hooked.

The characters of The Institute, though living in 2019, speak as if they’re living in the middle of the 20th Century. For some readers, that can be a distraction that becomes a complete turnoff.

However, as was reiterated in the New York Times article, King has the ability to hook readers with good storytelling.

Stephen King The Institute Release Date: It’s Here!

Thankfully, for Stephen King fans, the wait for his new book is over. The release date for this book was September 2019, so it’s out and ready for hungry audiobook fans to devour it.

What else can fans expect besides Stephen King’s The Institute? Special Edition works by King are now available, the latest edition is a revised edition of Revival.

Revival was originally released in 2014. The latest special edition has a forward penned by The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone. Other additions include:

  • New illustrations by Francois Vaillancourt
  • Marbled endpapers
  • A sewn-in satin ribbon bookmark  
  • Leather binding.

Listening to the audiobook version of Revival is potentially more exciting due to the narration of award-winning narrator David Morse. However, having an illustrated, leather-bound copy of Revival on their bookshelf will prove to be a feather in the cap of any book lover.

Has it been a while since you’ve read a scary Stephen King novel? Check out our selection of Stephen King audiobooks that will thrill you throughout the dark, cold, winter months.

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