#ATBR2019 – The Institute by Stephen King

More King for the #allthebookreviews duo!

THE INSTITUTE – Stephen King (Released September 10th, 2019)

We joined in on a huge buddy read/discussion with Dennis (of @scaredstraightreads) and that group chat was so much fun. You’ll have to take a peak at all of the posts we’ll be sharing at the end of the month here and join in on the discussions.

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 4.5/5 stars

This is the first time I’ve read a King book so close to release date in I don’t even know how long.  And another first, I read reviews and had conversations about different perspectives before I even cracked the book open.  I typically don’t do this because I don’t want it to influence my feelings about the book as I read in any way.  This is what I love best about books though – the different perspectives and how we process them.

One reader commented on the likes and dislikes of a child that age in this day and time and it didn’t make sense and I didn’t quite understand that until he made another valid point and then I kinda got it.  Weirdly, I didn’t even think about it again until after I was finished reading the book and somehow didn’t pick up on what he noticed AT ALL.  A lot of readers say this reminded them of Stranger Things and it did not, in any shape or form, do that for me.

While 561 pages is pretty much a short story for King, I do believe this could’ve been pared down just a bit and still made the same impact.  Certain parts felt long, while others felt a rushed with things happening extremely fast.  Though, to be fair, I always thought King could get a bit long winded and over detailed.  However, I do find more of an appreciation for it reading at 44, then when I was reading him at 8.

I know a lot of people have a tendency to complain about his endings, and it seems no less different for this one.  However, I disagree and really enjoyed the ending of this one.  It just felt *real* to me in the terms of the story and how things probably WOULD end up over all.

King, as usual, builds this world that sucks you right in.  The  brutality of treating these kids as guinea pigs, the cruelty of the doctors and workers.  The shining moments of humanity.  The view through a genius kid’s eyes as he tries to navigate through this brutal situation he was unexpectedly and quite rudely put into. I quite fell in love with Luke, Avery and the rest of the kids… and am ever thankful for Tim (and even Annie).

While I closed the book feeling fully satisfied, I wasn’t completely wowed like I have been with some of his other works.  I’m grateful that as one of my favorite authors, he has been churning out books my entire life and I hope he continues to do so for many more years to come.

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

This book got me out of my slump of nothing but 3 and 3.5 star reads for the month of September. When I saw that THE INSTITUTE was taking place in Minneapolis I got really excited – not many books are set in Minnesota so it’s always fun reading about a familiar place. If there’s something that King does well it’s the coming of age stories and getting us to connect with the kids in the story. From the beginning you get so invested in their struggles and trying to fight along side them.

I know that it’s still relatively early to be getting reviews out for this new book, so I don’t want to get into too much detail and run the risk of spoilers, so I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. This 500+ page door-stopper only took me 3 sittings to read (mainly because I made myself stop at 2am two of those times). King is always able to set the scene for the readers and transport you there instantly. Despite there being a lot of characters, everyone has their own distinct voice and they don’t get lost in the shuffle of things. Even some of the more minor characters King was able to connect you to them.

I’ve seen some other reviewers make comparisons to X-Men and Stranger Things and I couldn’t agree more! It’s amazing what powerful kids are capable of and I think this would be a really good one for those new to King. This mammoth had me hooked from the first chapter until the final page and I have been reminded why I love King’s books.

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