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Book Review: The Institute

The Institute

The Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is one of my favourite Stephen King work. As usual, I found the book inaccurately classed as ‘horror’ in my local library (which worked to my benefit since this book is hot off the press). Sure, there is an aspect of paranormal as with many of King’s novels, but none of your typical aliens and beasts in this book. The true horror of King’s stories, in my opinion, usually lies in the despicable human nature of his villains, many of said nature commonly found in people around us.

The institute is a story about young children kidnapped and reared in seclusion, chosen for their special neurological functions, brain waves utilised for the ‘greater good’ of humanity. The children, under terrifying captivity, forms a unique and tenacious bond against the evil monsters who are really average adults acting very poorly due to a varying degree of denial and sociopathy.

The plot of King’s novels are mostly secondary to me. Personally I am extremely impress by how he describes the spectrum of our behaviour so acutely, in particular, at times of duress. The ‘grown ups’ of The Institute repeatedly declares how their work benefits society in vain attempt to justify their grotesque actions. Privately, many of them enjoys administering pain and exerting control over smaller and weaker beings to compensate for their unhappy existence. Such hypocrisy reminds me of so many people I know, both famous and your average nobodies.

The ending I feel is excellent. Despite the placid tone of the final chapter, it is in line with what I’d imagine would be the exact outcome in the real world. It certainly highlights the amount of faith Stephen King has with the intellect of the general public.

After racing through the hefty 550 odd pages in record time, I found myself wanting more at the end.



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