“Entertainment. Entertainment. Entertainment.” this famous dialogue the from Bollywood film, The Dirty Picture best describes Stephen King’s latest work, The Institute. Needless to say, this novel had me hooked within the few first pages.
It came to him, with the force of a revelation, that you had to have been imprisoned to fully understand what freedom was.
The Institute is a secret facility which is run by big bad wolves. These people, who control the facility, kidnap children with telekinetic and telepathic powers. After landing there, the children are tortured and forcefully made guinea pigs for various tests. Obviously, every story has a hero, ours is the super-intelligent Luke Ellis. He teams up with Avery, a powerful mind-reader, and together they contact the other “conscripts” while planning to bring down this shady facility. These kids are helped by a cop, Tim Jameison about whom we are briefed at the beginning of the novel.
The story tends to get exciting with the turn of every page and as a reader, you want to devour every twist that comes in the way. Amidst this constant drama, Mr King’s detailed character sketch brings each one of them to life. Through these characters, he also doesn’t hold back in communicating his annoyance with the current American government.
The Institute is a delicious blend of humour, heart-touching friendships and action-packed drama. I, personally, loved Luke’s witty comebacks, Avery’s innocence, Kalisha’s strength and Nicky’s never back down attitude. While existing in this place, you see children whose childhood is forcefully snatched away from them as they are pushed to think like an adult. You slowly come to realise the malevolence human beings are capable of. This whole story reiterates what my favourite childhood cartoon Scooby-Doo taught us- Humans are the real monsters.