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1.0 out of 5 starsNothing New
Reviewed in Canada on September 16, 2019
Flat, boring and too long. I read and reread King and have for as many years as he's been published and I have not fancied some of his previous work but I have never been sorry I purchased or read one of his offerings. This was short on character development and very hard to buy into the overall premise. It may have been a good short story (at best) but it did not have legs, elicited no passion or response and did not at all finish well. And that makes me sad and fearful I may not have King to look forward to anymore.
If you are a Stephen King fan, if you are a fan of suspense novels, if you love reading about good triumph over evil, this book is for you. I was hooked after the first chapter and couldn’t put it down, the constant humming coming from the pages of the book wouldn’t let me put the novel away!
The premise was interesting, but the character developmental was genius (as usual). Kidnapped kids that endure mental and physical abuse -- yes, the reader's anger and hatred boil readily... the stage set, then King gives you a glimpse into each individual psyche and you can see their POV, you can understand the motivations. The soldier blindly follows orders, should you hate him for filling his duty. The scientist striving to learn, see, and do the impossible regardless of the individual's pain for the great benefit of all. The helplessness of the machine turning, moving ever forward. Recurring themes of the price of war and humanities dark soul permeates a story of friendship, selflessness, and family. The contrast of dark and light... revenge, death, and survival. A great page turner!! Another King triumph.
There isn’t much more to be said about The Institute that you probably haven’t already heard! And I definitely don’t want to share any spoilers. I will say that I was in it from the start. I love the way the stories came together. I liked the kids, which I can’t always say about younger narrators. I was horrified, intrigued and could not put this one down.
I picked this one up because I thought I could push through it and have Marriage book club with my husband as I knew he would love it. First time in our almost 7 year long marriage that we actually both enjoyed the same book!
4.0 out of 5 starsKing hooked me in from Chapter 1
Reviewed in Canada on June 9, 2021
I have read a lot of Stephen King, nearly all of his books...still trying to get and read the 1's I have not read as yet. The Institute is a great tale, King baited me like a fish to a hook, the tale of a out of work cop who takes a hitch hiking trip to NYC after giving up his plane seat, then leads to a group of very SMART kids who are kidnapped and taken to a facility/Institute way out in the woods for experiments on their gifts, and then using their gifts for "peace". I just have 1 teeny issue, King should just leave the Trump name out...not a fan of former prez but seeing the non stop bashing on news/late night, I think we can all do without it...still a great tale, horror abound and some gunplay that would make Peckinpah the gun guy happy...Please enjoy
3.0 out of 5 stars200 pages de trop pour ce qui aurait pu être un 'King classique'
Reviewed in Canada on June 15, 2021
Je venais de terminer un roman...interminable et je m'étais promis de ne pas retomber dans le panneau des jeunes écrivains prometteurs...qui ne tiennent pas leurs promesses.
Je me suis dit : 'Retournons aux valeurs sûres' . J'ai fouillé le catalogue des oeuvres récentes de Stephen King, un de mes auteurs préférés et j'ai trouvé 'The Institute' qui semblait prometteur.
J'ai été conquis dès les premières pages; j'ai retrouvé le style et le rythme du maître : l'étranger solitaire qui arrive en ville et dont on ne sait pas grand chose mais qui finit par s'intégrer à la communauté...ange ou démon se demande-t-on...vivement le prochain chapitre qu'on en sache plus !!!
Mais..Ah surprise ! On se retrouve totalement ailleurs, dans la vie d'un enfant surdoué adoré de ses parents et sur le point d'entrer à l'université malgré son jeune âge. Mais King oblige, l'enfant a aussi le pouvoir de déplacer des choses très légères, comme un coup de vent : un pouvoir minime perçu comme un embarras plus qu'un avantage.
Puis, l'enfant est enlevé et il se retrouve dans un 'institut' peuplé d'autres enfants enlevés ,possédant eux aussi des pouvoirs limités.
Les enfants y sont maltraités, testés et utilisés dans un but que je vous laisse découvrir par vous-mêmes.
Rendus à ce point, on se demande : 'Mais c'était quoi l'histoire du gars au début ? ' On finit par le voir plus tard quand l'enfant réussit à s'échapper et que les dirigeants de l'institut essaient de le rattraper.
Ce que je n'ai pas aimé du roman, c'est
1-La répétitivité de ce qui se passe dans l'institut: les tests, les enfants qui se retrouvent à la cafétéria, les enfants qui dorment, les méchants préposés qui les maltraitent...
2-Les pages et les pages qui décrivent les suites de l'attaque pour rapatrier l'enfant : l'organisation d'un 'voyage' pour aller délivrer les autres : qui embarque avec qui et quand dans quel véhicule, les conversation inutiles. 3-L'explication qu'on donne à la fin du roman sur la raison pour laquelle les enfants étaient utilisés. L'idée aurait mérité d'être approfondie , mais çà sort de nulle part, comme un cheveu sur la soupe...un peu comme ces séries télé qui concluent en vitesse parce que le producteur viennent d'apprendre qu'il n'y aura pas de deuxième saison.
Bref, un Stephen King très tranquille à l'image du pouvoir très limité de ses 'créatures' dans ce roman.
4.0 out of 5 starsHe keeps getting better and better
Reviewed in Canada on October 7, 2019
Holy cow! What a good read. Stephen takes us into the life of a good cop who is just trying to move on and then swings us into the story of Children who have special talents that the people in charge say are needed to save the world. But why if the children are saviours are they treated so inhumanely. Then Stephen shows us an escape is made to bring all the good people against the bad ones and then somehow leaves us with the thought is this just a beginning of another book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2019
It’s getting old and banal Mr. King. I was hoping to enjoy this book but alas, not to be. A word of advice though... If you continue to write, avoid politics so you don’t alienate half your reading audience because we are after all the force behind your income. Your Trump digs have nothing to do with the story. You're just a sorry old man trying to grand stand. I pick up a book to forget about the trivial day to day political b.s. so why do you feel the need to shove your beliefs down my throat? Wish I could get my money back on this but I won't purchase anything else from this author. I might also add that this book repeated itself over and over, had a slow moving story line and was hard to finish. Might be a good time for you to retire Mr. King...
5.0 out of 5 starsSimply brilliant. King delivers again.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2019
I’m a Stephen King fan. His storytelling remains captivating and horrifying in equal measure and he can still make my blood run cold. The Institute is another belting tale, showing his finely honed writing skills to perfection.
There’s a very ordinary start. Something at which King excels, small towns with ordinary people just going about their business. In this case a disgraced former cop settles in Du Pray (he loves his word play! I enjoy finding his hidden references. Eliot’s The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock is there in a passing conversation and there must be more!) The story shifts to the Institute of the title. A shadowy place which houses children with exceptional gifts. They’re ordinary kids with extraordinary abilities who have little idea why they’re there and are fearful of the director Mrs Sigsby, and Stackhouse, the security manager. There are doctors and other adults who all play a part in a tale of dark secrets and exploitation.
So much of King’s writing is understated. He hooks you in with banal detail about people, places and conversations. It’s ordinary and almost mundane, but bit by bit he’s spinning an intricate web and setting the reader up for one twist after another. As usual, King is exploring a number of wide ranging themes. Saving the human race or maybe the planet, child abuse, extra sensory abilities, the Trump administration, minorities...it’s all there, predominantly adult’s inhumane treatment of children and loss of moral compass. As usual, King creates an array of distinct and memorable characters to shape his tale. He’s a master storyteller and his power to influence and challenge remain as relevant now as when he first started. This is a gripping and horribly plausible tale. Chilling, thought provoking and extraordinary. Simply brilliant.
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2019
Preordered this book some months ago, as was always a fan. Then read some recent SK rants made comparing events in this novel to certain views on law enforcement at our borders. Immediately returned the book for refund before reading it. I will not make another SK purchase.
5.0 out of 5 starsA great character study about people who justify their horrible choices
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2019
King writes so well about the innocence of kids. He also writes at his best when the subject is pure evil. Slap them together and you have The Institute. The book starts in a simple little town where a cop passing through takes a job as a night knocker. There's a kid, a really smart kid, who's 12 years old and getting ready to attend MIT because he's, you know, special. That's the setting. From there it gets chilling. Even without ghosts, or vampires or outer space boogie men.
The child, Luke, is taken in the middle of the night. His folks are murdered. He wakes up at The Institute in Maine in a room that's just like his - almost. There's other kids there and he gets the skinny from a young girl in the hallway, seemingly smoking a cigarette. She tells him that they "do stuff" to the kids, injections-flickering lights-dunking, but at least they're in the Front Half. You don't want to go to the Back Half. No, that's like the roach motel. Kids go in and don't ever come out.
To say this is a character study of the people throughout history who have told themselves that the horrible, hideous, atrocious things they do are for a "higher good". This book is King at his best. It's tense and I found myself ill at ease throughout the 500 plus pages. But it's good. A good story, good writing, and yeah, sure, it's relevant in the America of today and about our choices.