This latest from King is more psychological thriller than horror, which is fine by me. The children in the story really come fully alive on the page, and the setting of the Institute seems very real and believable, despite how dark, twisted and far fetched it could have seemed, in less capable hands.
Twelve year old Luke is kidnapped by intruders and wakes up inside a bedroom that looks similar to his own. He’ll soon find out that he is trapped inside The Institute with a group of other kids with special talents like telekinesis and telepathy. And at The Institute, “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
The staff at The Institute poke and prod Luke and the other kids, giving them shots and various other treatments in an attempt to gain control over their minds and abilities. As kids start disappearing to the Back Half, never to be seen again, Luke realizes that he must attempt what no child there has ever accomplished — an escape.
For me, this book got off to a slow start and had a slow finish. The story really came fully alive once Luke was introduced, and we started on his journey. Granted, King is such a masterful writer that even a slow bit of storytelling is interesting: still, I think it would have been tighter and possibly more effective without the first fifty or so pages and the last fifty or so pages. But outside of that, the remainder of the story was gripping, intriguing and un-put-downable.