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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Shoshana Zuboff, Nicol Zanzarella

The Institute

The Institute - Stephen King, Santino Fontana

It's difficult to write about this book without spoilers. I feel as though the blurb even has too many spoilers, and I'm glad I didn't read it before completing the book. (I started to read the first sentence of the blurb soon after starting, but then backed up, as it was telling me more than I wanted to know.)

The book features a sinister place in (of course!) Maine, The Institute. The residents of The Institute are children with psychic abilities--telekinesis or telepathy (sometimes both). They are kidnapped from their homes and subjected to tests and procedures. If they are not cooperative, they are punished with physical abuse. The children begin in "front half," and before too long, they are graduated to the mysterious "back half." What they are told is that after their "service" in back half is concluded, they will have their memory wiped and be sent back to their families to live happily ever after. It does not take the children long to be skeptical about this.

What is going on in back half? Who is in charge of The Institute? If anyone found out what happens in that place, who would believe it?

I don't want to give away more than that, but I'll make a few spoiler-free comments about the structure. The book opens with one character, and then after following him for a while, switches to another, who ends up being the book's central character. When I realized this, I wondered how the first guy would fit into the narrative. Don't worry--he shows up later, and then the beginning makes sense!

This book has some serious kid power. It's also got some seriously evil adults who hurt kids, which is disturbing. But Stephen King delivers a satisfying arc and conclusion.

Oh, and if you are thinking about Carrie at the mention of the telekinesis, I'm with you! I think Carrie could have dismantled the entire place, and the book would have ended five minutes after she got there. And while I am on other SK titles--there is a fun reference to twin girls in the institute reminding a character of an old horror movie. Must be The Shining!