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The Institute

Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Combining the suspense of The Outsider with the childhood camaraderie in It, The Institute is a powerful new novel from Stephen King which is destined to become the number one blockbuster of autumn 2019.

Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts - telepathy, telekinesis - for concentrated effect. 

Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He's just a regular 12-year-old, except he's not just smart, he's super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use.... 

Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local Sheriff. He's basically just walking the beat. But he's about to take on the biggest case of his career. 

Back in the Institute's downtrodden playground and corridors where posters advertise 'just another day in paradise', Luke, his friend Kalisha and the other kids are in no doubt that they are prisoners, not guests. And there is no hope of escape. 

But great events can turn on small hinges, and Luke is about to team up with a new, even younger recruit, Avery Dixon, whose ability to read minds is off the scale. While the Institute may want to harness their powers for covert ends, the combined intelligence of Luke and Avery is beyond anything that even those who run the experiments - even the infamous Mrs Sigsby - suspect.

Thrilling, suspenseful, heartbreaking, The Institute is a stunning novel of childhood betrayed and hope regained.

©2019 Stephen King (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great naration, and of course .... excellent story

- The story is in best King style. Great characters, Life just bursts out of the fabric of life. One story starts it all, and another unfolds, in a completely different setting, and you can't wait, for the two stories to collide. Beautiful narration. -and of course ... Thank you again to Mr. King, truely one of the great storytellers of this time and age.

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Not the same as the Stephen King I remember.

Seems that the dude has a serious with God lately, that alone is a deal breaker for me. This story just doesn't get going and I would probably not finish it.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another incredible novel by the master.

Loved this from cover to cover. Great performance and even though it is fiction it’s somehow believable. Talk about messing with your mind.

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  • Carol
  • 10-12-19

Disappointing

I usually love Stephen King books, but this one just wasn’t for me. At first it was hard to get into but after the first few chapters it got better. The first half/two thirds it’s interesting enough to keep listening. The last half/third though is a slog. I just lost interest and it took so long to get through it as I wasn’t paying attention or I would fall asleep. When it finally ended I was left feeling disappointed and kinda like I wasted way too much of my time on it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 09-13-19

Great things Turn on Small Hinges


Stephen King is a very clever author, he made his name with Blockbusters like IT featuring typical good vs supernatural evil, classic horror tales. Obviously he’s progressed since then but this one shakes things up a bit again. Not really a horror as supernatural gets a role reversal in a mysterious Institute that experiments on kids with special powers. The evil is in the human heart and is as awful in its way as anything King has conjured before. But is it that straightforward ? A question that stays to the end.

The book starts slow maybe, but it’s also very strong with trademark King story-telling as we get a lengthy introduction to Tim Jamieson one of the key characters in the book. ‘Great things turn on small hinges.' Writes King as he documents the series of odd chances and decisions that guide Tim to a small East Coast town. This concept of great things being controlled by small hinges runs through the core of the book from the off and is absolutely key to how the characters respond right through to the explanations at the end.

Foremost amongst these ‘small hinges’ are the children of course. Cannon fodder in a greater war they are reminiscent of the gang in IT, varied characters given quite some depth by the author. In some ways King didn’t seem to show quite the same empathy with the condition of being a child as in IT but these are not ordinary children so maybe that explains it. In fact Ben himself, the lead protagonist is something of a child genius so was always going to be a bit different.

Handling the tough job of narrating all this is Santino Fontana, a new narrator to me personally. He does a fine job of giving the characters a multitude of voices and accents and I very much enjoyed listening to him. He did seem to have an odd habit of occasionally reading whole sections including the narrative and the dialogue in the relevant character’s voice. Whether this was a direction he received or his own initiative it seemed a little odd especially as the narrative described the character externally rather than it just being their thoughts.

By the end of the Institute I once again felt like I had spent time with a master storyteller. All of the characters from the children through to the staff and doctors at the institute were given, depth, personality and a strong sense of identity. There is evil, there is friendship there is bravery and sacrifice as well as cowardice and duplicitousness. Most importantly there is a great story that kept me wanting more.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jody
  • 09-13-19

The master story writer at his very finest.

Utterly brilliant.
Clear your schedule because you will not be able to stop listening.
It’s as perfect as a book can get.

The narrator is wonderful

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary P
  • 09-10-19

Pure addictive Stephen King

I have been listening to The Institute straight for 2 and a bit hours and I have had to turn it off for a while just to get some work done! Stephen has introduced some of the main characters so brilliantly I feel as if I could invite them over and chat about their lives. The story has just started to kick off (no spoilers) and I just want to sit and listen with no interruptions and no breaks. Up to now this is Stephen King at his addictive best.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ciara
  • 09-12-19

Slow start but stick to it, classic King awaits

if your hoping for true king style of fast-paced character switches between chapters, as seen in king classics such as Mr Mercedes/the stand & the outsider - then this book will take you a little while longer to warm up to. The institute has 2 key storylines/characters but rather than jumper from one to the other like we are used to, king gives us a longer introduction to each. This isn't a put off at all, frankly the opposite. I've fallen in love with these characters in the same way that I did for Bill in the Mr. Mercedes trilogies - king has captured Tim and lewis in one book, in the same way, it took 3 books for Bill Hodges or 42 hours worth of reading in the stand.

This book does have very strong stand by me vibes, mixed together with the otherworldly story of stranger things.

another king classic

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alice
  • 10-19-19

only thing scary in this is the unnatural dialogue

If this were written by anyone else but King, an editor would have culled hours of it. The long drawn out, repetitive dialogue just grates on you after each new hour. A key plot point that's been to the fore the entire book does not need another connect the dots explanation after 15hrs. Conversation in this book is like reading an academic article. Has he forgotten how children speak?
The overall plot is good but it's not well crafted unfortunately.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard Crawshaw
  • 09-15-19

Fantastic: King at his best!

Loved it. King at his best. Laughed, cried and was horrified in equal measure. Great, thought provoking story, and a terrific performance by narrator.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Shugenja
  • 10-20-19

Little Disappointed

Narration was very good however I thought the story was formulaic, which I didn't think I would ever say about a King novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • steven booth
  • 09-18-19

Superb

The king of storytelling seems to get better with age.
Worth the wait after the brilliant 'The Outsider'
Superb narration and storytelling. 10/10

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirsty
  • 09-17-19

Another winner from The Master!

excellent performance
King at his best
thought provoking
difficult to switch off
sad to come to the end

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-19

Narration was amazing!

Santino Fontana immediately immersed me in this incredible world.
This story was a perfect mix of The Losers Club from It, and everything I wanted to know more about in Firestarter.
The story started to lag towards the end, but this was an amazing journey.
Characters were 10/10 as per usual for Mr King

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sonja
  • 09-20-19

awesome read

The institute is probably one of my favourite Stephen King books ever. so well put together and hard to put down. I listened to the audio book when ever I had a spare minute. excellent 6 stars if I could, and I've bought the paperback for my mother-in-law.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • mightypandabear
  • 09-30-19

Great Book

Loved this book, couldn't stop listening to it.
Highly recommend.
Narrator did a great job too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ST
  • 09-13-19

King's still got it!

I love this book. It's a good premise, tightly written and it's classic King. If you like his "psychic kids" books like The Shining, Dr Sleep or even It (I know that's different), then you'll probably dig this.
I found his recent Bill Hodges Trilogy detective books a total snooze-fest. I don't know why he wrote so much in that world recently, it doesn't play to his strengths as a writer at all. I'm very glad he's back working on something he's good at with The Institute.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sofia MV
  • 10-09-19

Not a bad book but also not King's best.

I enjoyed the story, although it lacked a bit of that thrill that other King books have.
Mr. King remains my favourite author.

The narration was a bit weird, doing the characters voices when it should have been just the narrator's voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-19

Not the best King

I loved the concept of this book and I can imagine it making a great movie but there was times that had too much unnecessary dialogue and there were ALOT of characters to wrap your head around and some weren’t even overly important. Very different to other king novels I’ve read.

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  • jeremy heard
  • 12-02-19

GRIPPING FROM THE GET GO!!

Stephen King has done it again. The story and characters will draw you in from the very beginning.
another great title from the master of macabre.

The narrator does an amazing job voicing the many different accents as well as the ages of the plethora of characters throughout the story.

The only thing that may be considered by some listeners as potentially distracting is that the narrator sometimes gets stuck in the voice of the main character involved in the later chapters and reads the whole chapter in that voice.

but this isn't that bad if you can get over it. all in all the narrator did an amazing job keeping Up with the many different voices for the characters.

please don't let this little mishap deter you from experiencing the journey of "The Institute"

highly recommended

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  • Audrey B
  • 11-29-19

Very immersive & great value for money

Another great book from Stephen King and very well narrated by Santino Fontana (I give 2 thumbs up for Santino). This book audiobook is great value for money as it is 18 hours and 59 minutes long with no long drawn out passages or any boring repetitive dribble. I was totally engrossed and riveted throughout the entire book. If you have not read/listened to a Stephen King book before and are looking for a new author to start following then I highly recommend that you read this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-19

A Good Story

The story was good - a lot of detail in the plot itself
I did find it took up to 5 hours in to get into the 'cant wait to hear what happens next' phase
Some of the phases used as part of the characters conversations I found a bit lame
The narrator was good - but there were a few parts where there was a general narration - he used the character voices - which I am not sure if it was intended or by error , however i found it a bit confusing

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  • Mr Stephen L West
  • 11-26-19

I couldn't stop listening to it

Santino Fontana is an excellent narrator to an excellent story. It is very highly recommended