Book Reviews

First Read of the Year – The Institute by Stephen King

Photo by Marta Wave on

Plot (From Goodreads)

Luke Ellis, a super-smart twelve-year-old with an exceptional gift, is the latest in a long line of kids abducted and taken to a secret government facility, hidden deep in the forest in Maine.

Here, kids with special talents – telekinesis and telepathy – like Luke’s new friends Kalisha, Nick and Iris, are subjected to a series of experiments.

There seems to be no hope of escape. Until Luke teams up with an even younger boy whose powers of telepathy are off the scale.

Meanwhile, far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson, looking for the quiet life, has taken a job working for the local sheriff. He doesn’t know he’s about to take on the biggest case of his career… 

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a few months, after a member of a Facebook book club gifted it. So it was only fitting that I chose to read it for a book club challenge which also made it my first read of the new year. I actually started reading it on New Years Day while recovering from Covid 19, reading a few pages whenever I had the energy.

I was set the challenge of reading a blue book and I’m so glad I’ve got one of the editions with the blue cover. Not only is it my favourite cover of all the editions but it also gave me the perfect excuse to read a book that has intrigued me for quite a while.

Lets just say that The Institute has set the bar high for the year. I devoured it, unable to stop myself from thinking about it between reading sessions. I even squeezed in a half an hour reading session while dinner was cooking which I never do since I like to allow myself long reading sessions where I can really sink into the story. I just couldn’t keep myself away though, desperate to read a few more pages and then finding myself frustrated when I had to put it down again.

The story opens with Tim Jamieson, and ex police officer, before switching to Luke Ellis, an incredibly intelligent boy who is kidnapped and taken to The Institute. The majority of the story is told through Luke as he endures tests at the hands of the doctors and starts to make friends with the other children. I was really gripped by the two protagonists, as I couldn’t wait to get further into the story and find out when and if the two characters would cross paths. I felt sure that they would cause a big explosion in the plot if they were to meet.

Another piece of fantastic story telling was switching between multiple points of view at the same point in the story, adding panic and urgency to read on. I simultaneously found myself wanting to race ahead while also slowing down to appreciate the sheer brilliance of Stephen King as he effortlessly wove fiction with science.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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