Stephen King’s newest horror novel “The Institute” leaves fans on heals


Creative Commons image by John Robinson through Flickr

The new Stephen King book, released Sept. 10, features main character Luke Ellis from Minneapolis. King's new book 'The Institute' is his 61st book.

Morgan Hildreth, Social Media Editor

Graphic by Julia Xiong

Horror story lovers and Stephen King enthusiasts are ready to dive into the new book, The Institute’, released this month and written by King.

The new King book, ‘The Institute’, hit shelves Sept. 10. This is King’s 61st book published, and his third book released this year. ‘The Institute’, which is a staggering 576 pages long, is his newest horror fiction book.

‘The Institute’ follows 12 year old Luke Ellis from Minneapolis on his journey to survive. One night, Luke’s house is broken into, his parents murdered and he is drugged and kidnapped all in the span of two minutes.  Ellis awakes in his bed in a room identical to his except there is not a window and the door leads to a hallway with other doors.

Ellis is not just exceptionally smart, but he also has a minor psychic ability. Ellis is not the only child at the Institute. Every other kid at the Institute also has some sort of ability. The director, Mrs. Sigsby, forces children to perfect their abilities. If they cooperate, they get tokens for vending machines and if they are bad they get sent to Back Half. No one ever comes back from Back Half.

Stephen King is notorious for writing hard to read, gruesome horror stories and this story is not any different. ‘The Institute’ is not meant to be scary, but yet it still leaves some readers feeling unsettled with the treatment of children. ‘The Institute’ is horrifying in the sense there is not any mythological creatures or creepy clowns roaming the pages, but rather just some kids with exceptional abilities trying to survive and some mostly normal adults who do sinister things they did not know they were capable of.

“They should recognize that he is not afraid to have really strong imagery of violence or really creepy, sometimes spiritual stuff that may feel threatening to the reader,””

— Kim Thompson

“They should recognize that he is not afraid to have really strong imagery of violence or really creepy, sometimes spiritual stuff that may feel threatening to the reader,” English teacher Kim Thompson said. Sophomore Abby Howe added that some of the scenes are very intense and could possibly trigger someone.

Stephen King books are not meant to just scare people. Similar to reality, there is always a silver lining or message in King’s books. In ‘The Institute’, King’s words teach the reader about the importance of friendship, bravery, courage and strength through the eyes of 12 year old Luke Ellis and the friends he makes during his time at ‘The Institute’.

Thompson said King is “just more complex than other writers in that he accepts our darkness and still sees the beauty in the world, which is something a lot of people don’t do. They tend to deny the dark, fear it or run away from it, whereas he embraces it, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have like the capacity for goodness or hope in his characters.¨

All books are worth reading to find out if the potential reader actually likes the book or not. People wanting to begin reading Stephen King or horror books should read “The Institute”. There is not too much gore or hardcore supernatural entities, but there are plenty of cliffhangers to keep one on the edge of their seat. Thompson also explains it is not a “cumbersome trial to get through his books. It’s fairly fluid and easy to get through but it’s still intelligent.”