The theme for ‘The Institute’ seems to be that great events turn on small axes. For decades, children showing TP (telepathic) or TK (telekinetic) abilities have been stolen from their homes and transported to the Institute Facility, and subjected to tests and experiments to increase their powers. To escape, they must learn to work together to overturn the evil that captured them.
It’s an interesting premise: Junior lives with his wife Henriette, far from anyone else. One day, a strange man comes to the door and tells them that Junior has been selected for a space program, and together they all need to prepare his life and his person to go away for a while. But unfortunately, FOE doesn’t live up to the hype. More than that, it was actually a struggle to finish.
This book contains more people getting shot than you can shake a stick full of black-tar heroin at, and all the reviews I’ve read about this ‘classic thriller’ are singing its praises - but once I’d read the first 50-odd pages, I got bored. And then I got more bored. And then I had to drink an energy drink to get through the last bit.
I had SUCH high hopes for this novel. The premise sounded great. The world has ended in nuclear war? YES PLEASE. Survivors are holed up in a hotel, and a body turns up? HELLA POIROT, GIMME. The race is on to find the killer? I’M THERE. The cover and the blurb activated that little part of my brain which said ‘ooooh’ and I’d plonked it in my basket during the final four seconds of waiting in line at Waterstones. A choice I regretted almost immediately after reading the first few chapters.
Ghost Wall is a highly acclaimed, multiple prize-winning novel that’s been described as a ‘short, sharp shock that closes around you like a vice as you read it’. It’s a story about a modern family reliving the Iron Age; about family, about abusive situations, about friendship. But for me, it fell far short of the dazzling, ‘burnished gem’ of a book that I’d been promised.