The Institute

The Institute

Book - 2019
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Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts; telepathy, telekinesis, for concentrated effect. Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He's just a regular 12-year-old, except he's not just smart, he's super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use. Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local sheriff. He's basically just walking the beat. But he's about to take on the biggest case of his career.
Publisher: London :, Hodder & Stoughton,, 2019.
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY
Characteristics: 485 pages ;,24 cm.


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The annual Locus Awards were first presented in 1971 and recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy literature. The Locus Awards break up their nominee lists into Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, First Novel, YA, Novelette, Short Story Collections and more including Non-Fiction and Illustrated and Art Book. There are so many fantastic books on the Locus nominations list its… (more)

From Library Staff

If you loved Stranger Things, you'll devour this! In the dead of night, intruders creep into Luke Ellis' home and murder his parents. Luke wakes up in a place that feels strange, yet familiar - a room just like his own, only lacking the window. This unnerving place is the eponymous Institute, and... Read More »

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no ... Read More »

For a guy who has published around 65 novels, 7 under the pen name Richard Bachman, and 200 short stories, King is not slowing down anytime soon...In fact King is releasing two novels in 2021 (more on that later). The Institute is a science-fiction novel about Luke, a young boy who is abducted an... Read More »

This was the first Stephen King book I've gotten around to reading, and it was fantastic! I would definitely describe it as more thriller than horror, and it reads a bit like X-Men crossed with Stranger Things. Children with mild psychic powers are going missing (read: kidnapped) and shipped away... Read More »

Ben: First came 'Firestarter', which inspired Stranger Things, which has now apparently brought on The Institute. King revisits familiar territory here with a heart-wrenching tale of children with psychic abilities being kidnapped and experimented on for the ‘greater good’.

From the critics

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Mar 18, 2021

This is a very engaging King read with some disturbing parts for sure. My only reason for not giving 5 stars is IMO is just took way too long to bring the story full circle.

Mar 01, 2021

This was my first Stephen King book and I wasn't sure what to expect - but I loved it and now I can't wait to read more of his work.
This was more of a thriller than a horror, about kids with special abilities who get abducted and forced to have experiments done on them in a brutal institution and how they come together to overcome their situation. It gave me stranger things vibes and I loved all the kids that were apart of the story. Over 500 pages and I was sad when it was over! Definitely recommend.

Feb 19, 2021

i think this book is 5 stars not 3

alburke47 Feb 17, 2021

**Audiobook Warning**

So, we’ve got telekinetic kids, a small-town cop (actually, two) who is more than meets the eye, shadowy agents, numerous references to Maine and a Scooby Doo ending. Yes, people, we are in Stephen King territory. To be fair, apart from the first two books in the Dark Tower series (loved book one, not so much book two), this is my first foray into one of his books in over twenty years. Like most of you, I loved the classics, but I drifted away somewhere in the 90s. I saw this audiobook in my library and thought it sounded pretty good. Which I guess it was. The plot revolves around a hyper-intelligent 12-year old who gets kidnapped and taken by a dodgy government organisation where he is the subject of brutal experiments. Along the way, he meets a ragtag group of misfits that help him escape and so forth. Here are my thoughts on the audiobook:

Characters – I liked the two leads. There’s the “socially awkward” junior genius (Luke) who’s smarter than the rest of the cast put together, and manages to plot his escape without making it look too easy. The ex-cop turned security guard was also likeable and one could feel some sympathy for his plight. Most of the bad guys were mere little more than stereotypes, but the director of the titular Institute was quite delightful in a panto villain fashion.
The Plot – Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before. It’s quite similar to King’s earlier novel Firestarter (which I heartily recommend), but less exciting. The first half of the book, which was set in the Institute, was okay at best, the scene where Luke escapes is really well done (Stephen King can actually write) and the first ending, set in a small town in South Carolina, is great. Then there’s the dreaded second ending, where the big bad guy comes and reveals all. I’ve heard from fellow nerds about King tying all his books into one big multiverse, and this is the first time I’ve spotted it. In that sense it was interesting, but it was more book-dropping (not by me) than a cohesive giant plot.
Urban Dictionary – When I first started reading SK, I liked how he threw in the odd idiom here and there that made me chuckle. Maybe this was an audiobook thing (more later), but I felt like he went overboard, trotting out turns of phrase far too often. I’m Irish, and we speak idiomatically almost as a rule, but this felt like SK was trying to impress us with his knowledge of slang. I just felt like it broke the flow of the story.
Narration – I liked the narrator for the most part. His pacing was good, you could distinguish the characters easily without a need for peaking at names and he hit the humorous moments well. Except…it was like he delighted in reading out the constant barrage of cliches, like someone trying really hard to be funny. I would like to hear him read something else, just for comparison.

Not one of the classics, but certainly not one of the author’s worst.

Jan 14, 2021

As a fan of Stephen King I would rate this book highly - but the ending could have been thought through a bit more. The pace of the book was wonderful right up to when Luke had to survive not one but two automated weapon shootouts. Jumped the shark for me.
I would still recommend it.

Jan 10, 2021

Perfect, a mix of thrill, violence, phycological horror and adventure. 5/5

Dec 08, 2020

Couldn’t put it down. King’s got a way with capturing the essence of childhood, the struggles of maturing and how the loss of innocence is the greatest hurdle in our lives.

Dec 04, 2020

There is something exciting about picking up a new King novel and feeling the weight of the almost 600 page book in your hands. Because you know you are not about to simply read a book. You’re about to step into a world so detailed and complete, that’s it’s going to play out all around you.
The Institute is one of my new favorites.
I couldn’t put it down, I wanted to devour it. I flew through it, then was sad when it was over.

Another fantastic King novel that you won’t want to be over.

Nov 03, 2020

This book was very interesting, to say the least. It was not a horror book, I hoped it would have a little horror aspect, but skipping over that, this book was an amazing thriller. It was very fun to read, definitely one of the better books I have read and I am very picky on books, I only read what I really like. King might have made a masterpiece with this one, it had loads of surprises that made me sad or shocked or worry about the main character.

Oct 07, 2020

King brings us another tale of youth confronting injustices, similar in tone to that of IT. However, this tale does not hold any of the traditional "horror" elements of his previous works. The horrors encapsulated in this novel are that of a more tangible nature versus that of the supernatural. Overall, a pleasant enough read for an afternoon or day at the beach. Not as heavy of content as some of his other works, as well.

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Age Suitability

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Mar 18, 2021

dwlueth thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Nov 03, 2020

MohammedHasnain thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Nov 28, 2019

Heatherf74 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 12, 2019

007Gatsby thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

May 13, 2019

007Gatsby thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add Notices
Aug 12, 2019

Coarse Language: Obviously a bit of profanity, since it's a Stephen King book.

May 13, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Minor Frightening Scenes

May 13, 2019

Violence: Minor violence

May 13, 2019

Coarse Language: There are swear words since it's a Stephen King book, but that should NEVER stop children from watching or reading something, as long as they are smart enough to know not to repeat those words.


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