My love of Stephen King has been well documented. I’ve read and reviewed more of his books than any other author’s. I’ve read over half his work and when a new one comes out, I preorder it not even bothering to read the summary. I like being surprised by the subject matter and diving into the story not having any clue where it will lead.
Certain authors only write female characters well, male characters, teenagers, whatever, but King manages to tap into the characters’ psyches and write them authentically and realistically. And it’s hard to write from a kid’s perspective when you are an old man. And make no mistake, King is well removed from his teenage years. But the main character of this one, Luke, is a great kid.
Luke is brilliant. At 12, he’s probably going to start college, if his parents are on board. But Luke’s intelligence isn’t what makes him special. He can make things move. Cabinet doors shut, pizza pans shake, book pages flutter without him even trying. When Luke is kidnapped by people from “The Institute,” he’s thrown into the worst situation possible. He’s been taken to a place with other telekinetic and telepathic kids and experimented on. The sadistic guards and doctors have no concern for the well-being of the children, as long as the kids do what they are told. They are essentially tortured to enhance their abilities. Then they go to the Back Half and are never seen again. What happens in the Back Half is about as bad as you can imagine.
When it comes to King, you really never know what kind of book you will get. And although this one deals with some rather unpleasant things, it’s not true horror like some of his other works. Maybe he’s mellowing out a bit as he ages, or maybe the next book will be flat out graphic horror. That’s what I love though. You really just never know what you’ll get with him.