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Posts Tagged ‘telekinesis’

Tim Jamieson is an ex-cop on his way to a new life in New York, when he decides to literally go in a different direction and ends up in the small South Carolina town of DuPray and finds himself a job as the local Night Knocker (if you’re wondering what that job is, so was I; I Googled it and all the results were Google searches by other readers of this book! It appears to be a job whereby someone just walks around the town and checks that everything is in order, businesses etc are all locked up and safe – a nightwatchman for the entire town effectively).

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, child prodigy and telekinetic Luke Ellis is kidnapped in the middle of the night and taken to an isolated, secret building in Maine. He wakes up in a bedroom identical to his own at home – except that there is no escape from this institution. He and other remarkable children like him are prisoners here, and the evil director Mrs Sigsby and her sadistic staff are determined to wring every last bit of these children’s special powers for their own purposes. The children who enter the institute never get to leave it – but Luke is determined to escape.

The stage is set for a showdown of humungous proportion…

I generally make a point of reading at least one Stephen King book a year, at least for the last few years. I tend to prefer his later works, and always find myself totally drawn in. The Institute was no different – starting with Tim Jamieson’s story and then moving on to Luke and his fellow captives in the Institute. Inevitably the two stories collide later on in the book, for the thrilling ending.

However, as much as I enjoy Stephen King’s work – I always find that the first 75% of his books are better than the last 25% and I do think that was the case here too. That’s not to say the ending was disappointing – far from it – just that the journey is usually more exciting than the destination. I don’t see how he could have ended this story differently really, but what really drew me in was the all-too-scary vision of life in the institution.

I really liked Tim’s character and also the character of Sheriff John, albeit the latter was not in the story as much as I hoped. The main children in the institute all had their own distinct personalities as well, and it would be difficult not to like and root for Luke.

Overall, a thrilling book which I found hard to put down, and always looked forward to picking up again. Definitely recommended for Stephen King fans and people who like horror or dystopian/speculative fiction.

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Stephen King’s first novel shows that he had the power to grip and enthrall viewers from the very start of his career. The story probably needs no introduction, but in essence, it concerns Carrie White, a teenage high school outcast, the subject of cruel taunts and jokes, with a religious zealot for a mother.  But Carrie has the power of telekinesis – a shocking and vengeful trait.

After Carrie is mercilessly subjected to a locker room ‘hazing’ one girl feels remorseful enough to get the most popular boy in school to take Carrie to the Prom.  But darker forces are at work, and events result in mass death and lots of bloodshed.

I enjoyed this more than I had hoped to.  Stephen King may not win many literary awards, but he is certainly able to crank up the tension and keep the pages turning. He himself describes his early work (and this was his debut novel) as “raw” and while I would agree with that, the story in this novel was exciting, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

While the story is mainly told in the third person, excerpts from books, newspapers and interviews told retrospectively attempt to understand the events that took place and make sense of them.  These parts of the story give clues as to how the tale unfold, but rather than spoil anything, they simply tease the reader and make them want to read on.

The characterisation however, is fairly poor.  Carrie is obviously the most developed character, but most of the remaining characters are stereotypical, especially the perpetrators of Carrie’s distress.  This doesn’t detract from the story though – this novel is more plot than character driven.

Stephen King is probably the most famous horror writer of his time, and this book shows exactly why.  Very enjoyable.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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