The Institute by Stephen King

October 1st, 2019 Kimberly Review 20 Comments

1st Oct
The Institute by Stephen King
The Institute
by Stephen King
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Length: 18 hours and 59 minutes
Genres: Horror
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x

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 window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

SUSPENSE thriller Small-town HORRIFIC

The Institute by Stephen King was one of my most anticipated audiobooks this fall. Narrated by Santino Fontana, this addictive and twisted tale pulled me in as only King can.

As is typical of King he takes his time setting up the world, fleshing out his characters and giving us a sense of things before plunging us into the twisted darkness that awaits us there. He makes you think as he unravels a tale that seems both horrific and yet strangely plausible. For me, this felt like old school King and I slipped in letting the outside world float away. 

Like most of King’s books I went into this story completely blind with nothing more than the cover to guide me. We meet and travel with, Tim Jamieson, a former police officer with several commendations. He is traveling to New York to begin a new career and through a series of events ends up in Dupray, South Carolina.

We then meet young Luke Ellis, a twelve-year-old genius living in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Aside from Luke’s intelligence he appears to move things unintentionally when he is excited or stressed. In the middle of the night an SUV enters his quiet neighborhood and three strangers dressed in black quietly invade his home. He awakens to a noise to see a strange woman in his room then everything goes dark. When he awakens, he is is in his room… only it’s not his room. He is thousands of miles away in rural Maine at a place known as the Institute. And so it begins.

Holy Mindbenders. Secret government compounds, experiments, creepy doctors, front rooms, back rooms, tests, changes and more await you. I will not say more. I don’t think this was scary horror, but it did cause the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end a few times particularly in the back half. We meet a group of kids varying in age from ten to I think sixteen and what they are put through is horrifying.

*whispers* Fans of Stranger Things think Eleven.

The two threads merge and it’s one heck of a ride. The audio is nineteen hours long and I finished in two days. It left me bleary eyed with a book hangover. All I am saying is this… It was worth it!

Santino Fontana delivered with the narration giving voice to a wide range of characters and age groups. All of them felt authentic, and his female voices were spot on. I think he enhanced the villians and strengthened Lucas’s journey.

2 days. 19 hours. I helluva hangover. So worth it. The Institute by Stephen King #audio Narrated by Santino Fontana #MustListen Click To Tweet

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

20 Responses to “The Institute by Stephen King”

  1. Carla

    This sounds like it was an amazing listening experience. Not really liking horror, I will pass, but it certainly sounds like one horror afficienodos will enjoy.

  2. Olivia Roach

    I so need to read my way through Stephen King’s fiction already! I just got It from my library so I am going to start there, and I have a list of ones recommended to me. I am going to add this one to my to read list as well! Sounds like you absolutely loved it.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: September Wrap Up [2019!]
  3. MarthaE

    Sounds like another intense horror/thriller. I’ll be looking to get this down the road.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Anne

    I’ve enjoyed some of his work and I’m glad you did. But horror is not for me.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  5. Chanzie

    I am still yet to read a Stephen King book! It is sad I know. I have bought 2 of his books that are patiently waiting to be read on my never-ending TBR pile.
    This book sounds intense and possibly a tad to scary for me *closes eyes*. This could be the reason his books are still on the TBR shelf…
    Great review as always Kimberly 🙂

  6. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I haven’t read any King this year. That’s hard to believe because he’s one of my favorite authors. I’m excited for The Institute, so I’m glad you liked it. The synopsis reminds me of Firestarter. I’m interested to see how similar they are.

  7. Ailyn Koay

    Not surprised to see a King rated 5 cups. I would actually read this one, not IT or any other scary horror. but this I can handle