Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

 

The Institute - Stephen King

SUMMARY

Luke Ellis is abducted from his bed in the middle of a night, and his parents are murdered. The super intelligent twelve year old with special powers is spirited away in a black SUV. When he wakes, Luke is in a room, at The Institute, hidden deep in the forest at Maine. The room is set up to look like his own at home, but with one difference. There is no window. Luke soon realises that The Institute is home to many children, who arrived in the same way that he did. All of these children, along with being intelligent, have the extra special powers or telepathy and telekinesis.

The children of The Institute are subjected to a series of experiments. The staff are dedicated to these experiments, and don’t give any thought to the children’s desires. The children are rewarded for going along with the experiments, and punished very severely for choosing not to be compliant. As children that Luke has become close to, begin to disappear, he becomes desperate to find a way out and to get help. But nobody has ever escaped from The Institute.

MY THOUGHTS

I really did enjoy this book, although I felt it was a little bit flat and repetitive before the action started, towards the end. As is usual with a Stephen King novel, I find that in a review, less is best. I’d rather the reader dive in without knowing too much.

The large cast of child characters were very endearing, and I found myself caring very much about what was happening to them. King’s usual excellent characterisation was evident here. It’s my opinion that he is the master of characterisation. The story is mostly about the children and their experiences, with some great action towards the end.

What The Institute was doing to those children was horrifying, but I didn’t feel that I was reading one of King’s horror stories. I do prefer his books that make horror and unreal situations totally plausible. And I did enjoy this book. But I do have to declare that I am a fan of King and have been since I first read Carrie in 1975. As usual when reading a Stephen King novel, I find myself wondering ‘how on earth does he come’ up with his ideas’.

I found the author’s note at the end to be very very touching.

STAR RATING
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

King at the 2007 Comic Con

Stephen King is a No. 1 Best Selling Author many times over. He is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Many of his books have been adapted into major films and TV series. King received the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.  In 2007, he won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and in 2015 he received America’s National Medal of Arts.

He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist, Tabitha King.

Published on 10 September 2019 by Scribner.
Softcover 482 pages plus author’s note.

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#AtoZChallenge O: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

In 1946, Claire Randall is taken from the Scottish Highlands where she is on a second honeymoon with her husband, back to 1943 where the first person she meets is a British army officer. He is her husband’s six times great grandfather, who she has often heard her husband talk of, as he researches his family’s genealogy.

“People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman, better still ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread and butter to journalists. Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars. Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have their explanation. Usually” – written at the front of Outlander

Claire eventually finds herself torn between two very different men, living two totally different and irreconcilable lives.

My Thoughts

I have been resisting reading this book. Not because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I enjoy historical fiction and the genealogy included in this book intrigued me. However, at over 800 pages, Outlander takes a huge time commitment. And then there are the subsequent books in the series at a similar number of pages.

But finally I gave in and I’m so glad I did. Gabaldon is a great story teller with a huge attention to detail as she asks: What if your future was the past?

I found this book to be very ‘unputdownable’ and read it fairly quickly, despite the huge number of pages. As I read the last line, I couldn’t wait to get started on book two in the series.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Diana Gabaldon

 

Diana Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees – B.S. in Zoology, M.S. i Marine Biology and a Ph.D in Ecology.

 

Published in 1991 by Arrow Books, Penguin Random House.  Paperback – 863 pages

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#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

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#AprilA-Z Challenge E – Elevation by Stephen King

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted. My theme for 2019 is Book Reviews.

Elevation

Summary

Scott is losing weight. Every day, the numbers on the scales decrease, even though he his not getting any thinner. The number on the scales is the same, whether he is wearing clothes or not. This is a riveting and very moving story about how one man’s problem can bring a small town together and bring about change to long held prejudices against others. A story about finding common ground within our differences.

My Thoughts

The above summary is very short. That is because, I really don’t want to spoil this book in any way for the reader. It’s a short read and could be described as a novella. I think it’s best to read it, knowing very little of the storyline.  This is a great story about tragedy, friendship and community, regardless of the underlying horror that is occurring.

I’ve been a huge Stephen King fan for years. But over recent years, I haven’t enjoyed his books as much as I did his earlier novels. Unlike some of King’s story lines, this one is very believable – even though it is totally unbelievable. King has that way of making the unbelievable seem believable.

This is an unusually small book for King.  It’s my opinion that the characters could have been developed more in a larger book. I do wonder if this book is trying to tempt readers who don’t want to invest large chunks of time into reading. I have friends who don’t read anything by King because of the length of his books. I would love to have seen this story be longer. But I’m happy, if the shorter length means more people are attracted to reading one of the most popular authors the world  has seen.

About The Author

King at the 2007 Comic Con

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Many of his books have been adapted into major films and TV series. King received the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.  In 2007, he won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and in 2015 he received America’s National Medal of Arts.

He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist, Tabitha King.

My Rating:   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Published in 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton. Hardcover with dust jacket – 132 pages

Have you read this book. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I promise to always reply to comments made in the section below.

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My Top 5 Stephen King books

I first discovered Stephen King when The Shining was published in 1977. I can remember clearly, being home alone with it late at night and being too scared to move off the chair. I was hooked on King from then on.

I would wait impatiently for each book to be published. Fortunately Stephen King is a very prolific author and the wait was usually not too long.

I really loved the books published up until about the year 2000. After that I found for some reason that I wasn’t enjoying his books as much as in the past.

I put that down more to me, and what was going on in my own life, rather than to the author.

Recently, I have read King’s two latest releases and found that I was taken back to those early days of really loving his books and writing. I have rediscovered one of my favourite authors, and what joy that is.

I have now decided to re-read those books that I didn’t enjoy. Perhaps time will have changed my outlook.

The reason I mention this is to explain my top five books from King, which are all from the early years. They are listed below in no particular order. These books, I have read multiple times. They have stayed with me for decades.

Are you a Stephen King fan? If so what is your favourite book? I love it when you comment and promise to reply to all.