A book review of “The Institute” by Stephen King

Best known for horror, King’s latest is also a science-fiction-thriller

I literally grew up reading Stephen King’s horror stories. You could say I’ve been scarred marked by them.

When I see prom pictures, I think of Carrie.

It’s impossible for me to walk down a hotel hallway without imagining twin girls from The Shining appearing in front of me.

A deep-seeded childhood fear of clowns made IT especially harrowing.

Every time I go inside an old, creepy antique store I am reminded of Needful Things.

When I went to Las Vegas all I could think about was evil Randall Flagg from The Stand, King’s post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel about the complete breakdown of society after the accidental release of a strain of the flu that kills off 99% of the world’s population.

If Stephen King wrote it, I read it.

Until something life-altering happened in my late-twenties.

I got pregnant and scary stuff, well, it troubled me more. I couldn’t sleep.

I decided “No More Horror” and that was the end. For a long, long time.

Fortunately for me, I grew out of it.

Last week I opened the door of a FREE LITTLE LIBRARY. Upfront and center was a like-new, hardback copy of the recently released The Institute.

Located in front of Fusco’s at 2900 Dreher Shoals Rd (Hwy 6) in Irmo

This book reminds me of why I loved Stephen King as a young reader.


Yes, he writes creepy stories but he’s a husband, father, and grandfather too!

What I loved about this book:

  • A large portion of the story takes place in SOUTH CAROLINA!!! There’s even a reference to the Columbia Fireflies baseball team, Beaufort, Hardeeville, etc.
  • King does not make South Carolinians look like a bunch of racist, ignorant rednecks. Yay!
  • The characters are unforgettable; my personal fave was Orphan Annie.
  • Incredibly creative plot: brilliant kids being abducted to “serve the greater good.”
  • There’s no demonic possession, vampires, aliens, or zombies.

“It came to him, with the force of a revelation, that you had to have been imprisoned to fully understand what freedom was.”

Luke Ellis, age 12 (The Institute, Stephen King)

“The Institute” was so engrossing that for five days, I literally read every time I had the opportunity. I could not wait to find out what happened next. I highly recommend this book if you need a good, long escape.

And really, who doesn’t?

Happy Reading!


  1. I plan to read this book solely because of your review and hearing how you couldn’t put it down. I bought it with one of my Audible credits and plan to listen to it as soon as I finish my current audiobook, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.


  2. I feel the same way! I was a thriller/mystery reader up until I had kids. Now I’m more easily scared than ever…..which, in itself, is shocking!

    But, I’m interested in reading this book. Your review lured in….so I’m off to check it out!


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