Book Review – The Institute by Stephen King – I wish I loved it☼

Hello Bookworms, I am warning you guys because in the next few weeks I am going to ~try~ to clear out my drafts and post all the reviews that have been SITTING there. Am I the only one with an unhealthy number of drafts?? The problem is, I come up with more ideas than I post, and the number keeps growing😱… Anyways, The Institute was the first book I ever read by Stephen King and I was so thrilled to be reading it. I cannot wait to read more of his writing, and The Stand has been on my tbr for AGES so someone please yell at me to read it(I am weak.)

The Institute (novel) - Wikipedia

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Publisher: Published September 10th 2019 by Scribner

Length: Hardcover, 561 pages

Summary:  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.


I’m going to start by saying that a more accurate rating of the book would be : 5 stars for the beginning and middle, and 1 star for the ending. I was in LOVE with this book until about 3/4 way in. The ending ruined most of the book for me because it seemed rushed and stripped away most of the love I had for the book. Now ONWARD!!!(what was that.. am I a pirate?)


The characters CARRIED this book. I fell in love with Luke from the get-go. All the kids from the Institute had such marvellous qualities which made reading the horrific events that much harder. Stephen King did an amazing job of letting their individuality shine through the writing. 

The only character I was not able to relate or connect to at all was Tim. We are introduced to Tim right off the bat, and his journey ties in considerably with the kids from The Institute. But he was just so “forgettable“. He seemed bland, average and a typical “good guy”. Overall the characters were a huge part of this novel, and added greatly to the storyline. 


The first half of the book delivered everything I was expecting and more. I couldn’t put the book down, and the plot just kept getting darker and darker. Unfortunately, towards the middle of the book, where the plot kept escalating the writing style seemed to drastically change. Maybe it’s just me, but the urgency and suspense had vanished. The book seemed to shift from a fast-paced thriller to a plain contemporary novel. And I HATED that. After that, the plot became almost predictable and it’s safe to say I was no longer on the edge of my seat. The plot fizzled out and to put it simply the ending was anticlimactic.

All in all, I’m glad I gave The Institute a read because I LOVE Stephen King’s writing style. Even though this book wasn’t my favourite, it won’t stop me from checking his other books out. I would recommend this book to the ages of 16+(due to the horrific events). But if anyone is reading this and is on the fence about the book because of my review, I urge you to read it. Everyone’s experience is different, and if you have never read Stephen King before, this is a great place to start.

Also! There is a tv series in the works and I could not be more excited. When I was reading The Institute I kept thinking about how good of a movie/tv show it would be.

A little about the author:  Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

Praise for The Institute

The Institute, is another winner: creepy and touching and horrifyingly believable … casual description of the looming unknown is emblematic of what makes King’s writing, and this book, so effective … In some ways, The Institute reads like a re-working of Firestarter for our times … It is also a tad long-winded. It’s always lovely to have more of a King novel to read, but this one could have lost some pages … That’s a minor complaint for a major work, however. The vast bulk of The Institute is essential—plot and characterization working hand-in-hand to create an intimate picture of horror.” – Simon Clea, The Globe

Thanks for reading! Have you read The Institute? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.


13 responses to “Book Review – The Institute by Stephen King – I wish I loved it☼”

  1. I really want to read some Stephen King but I have no clue where to start – apparently not with this though 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m planning on reading The Stand! It sounds like a good one so let’s cross our fingers🤞🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  2. erin from rinsreads Avatar
    erin from rinsreads

    I read this last December, and I totally get what you mean about the ending!! It felt so creepy and sinister when they were in the institute and we weren’t really sure what was going on, but as things progressed I felt like I was reading a standard “runaway” novel and I was honestly super bored! Love this review! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never read anything by Stephen King haha. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the ending💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His writing saved the book☺️. You should check him out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will! Do you have a favorite King book?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This was the first book of his I ever read. But I’ve been wanting to read The Stand for so long.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, okay!! I’ll have to look into that one!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. My friend recommended it to me, but I put off reading it during quarantine because the plot was apparently really similar to the corona stuff going on😳. It’s a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel so it’s not thatttt similar, but still creepy😉

            Liked by 1 person

          3. OOF really…? Lol maybe I’ll take a tiny raincheck on that one!!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Oof I was going to start this soon but I keep hearing bad things lately

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty harsh in my reviews, but this book does have a lot of good things too!

      Liked by 1 person

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