Sunday, 6 October 2019

#17/2019 The Institute


I was bitterly disappointed with King's last couple of novels so I approached this one with caution. At first it felt like good old Stephen King but the familiarity I initially found comfort in soon turned into something else. It's hard to put my finger on what that is exactly but as I kept on reading I found myself rediscovering familiar tropes, characters. While it made me feel comfortable as a Constant Reader, it didn't feel refreshing. Over the years and dozens of novels written by King that I've read, I've come to appreciate him for two main skills. Building an atmosphere and using meaningful stories for characters who don't play major role in the story. These small additions were often very memorable. Brother of one of main characters from "The Dark Tower" who replied to all questions by saying: Johnny Cash, people who survived the initial wave of virus in the Stand only to have their lives cut short (the runner, the girl who locked herself up in the icehouse). They really helped with setting the right tone. And these appear here in a way but they don't have that kind of impact...
The story begins in a small town of DuPray. Tim Jamieson, a former cop who was forced to quit his job due to an unfortunate accident, starts working as a night knocker there (a kind of security guy who works at night). After this initial start, the plot shifts to Luke Ellis, a young prodigy who is about to begin a new chapter in his impressive education career. Hi life changes drastically as he is kidnapped and locked in "the Institute", an under the radar place where children who may have telepathic skills are kept. As he tries to survive there, he soon discovers the real reason behind keeping kids with psychic powers there. This leads him to a decision that will affect not only him, but also potentially the entire humankind. 
"The Institute" is a solid page-turner, by far better than couple of King's recent books put together. It lacks elements that a person who's read more than 60 books by King could find surprising and innovative, and it's nowhere near as good as his best books like "Green Mile" or "The Stand", but it is a good read nonetheless.

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