The Institute

The Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The Institute” is a dark vision of psychic power and how it could be abused by a shadowy organization that transcends any one government — people who believe they are doing massive good for the world while actually inflicting tremendous evil on the children they are using.

Like most of Mr. King’s work, it’s a page turner. Once the story picked up speed I got obsessed with it and felt compelled to read the last third of the book as fast as I could. Unfortunately, the first half of the book is oppressive. I believe King really wants us to feel how miserable the conditions are for the kids — but this part is so long, it drags a bit, and I found it was making me frankly depressed.

Lots of fun to read by the end though, and plenty of spooky (and exciting) action to keep the story charging forward in the last couple sections. And the reader is left with some interesting thoughts about the power that psychic abilities could have, if they were real — as well as some chewy moral considerations about what’s acceptable and what’s not, when your goal is to save the world.

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