Friday, January 11, 2013

Origin - Jessica Khoury

Summary:  Pia has always known her destiny.  She is meant to start a new race, a line of descendants who will bring an end to death.  She has been bred for no other purpose, genetically engineered to be immortal and raised by a team of scientists in a secret compound hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest.  Now those scientists have begun to challenge her, with the goal of training her to carry on their dangerous work.

For as long as she can remember, Pia's greatest desire has been to fulfill their expectations.  But on the night she turns seventeen, she finds a hole in the seemingly impenetrable fence that surrounds her sterile home.  Free in the jungle for the first time in her life, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village.  Unable to resist, she continues sneaking out to see him.  As they fall in love, they begin to piece together the truth about Pia's orgiin -- a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.  (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:   Pia is a genetically engineered Immortal – the first of what researchers hope will be many – living in a secluded research laboratory in the middle of the Amazon.  Although her life is restricted to reason, science, and the confines of the compound, Pia is still a curious and lonely 17-year-old girl who doesn’t want to live forever alone and hopes to participate in the research that will duplicate immortality and generate for her an eternal companion.

One night, Pia’s burgeoning curiosity gets the better of her and she slips through a hole in the compound’s otherwise electrified fence, leaving behind the cold, sterility of the labs for the mysterious and lush surrounding area.  There she encounters a striking young man named Eio, who guides her through the jungle and to the local Ai’oan village.  Pia’s fascination with the native people and her growing attachment to Eio make it impossible to stay away and they stumble headlong into love, despite the complications of her immortality and the clandestine nature of their relationship. 

When the chief scientist, Pia’s mentor, asks her to do the unthinkable in the name of science and immortality, she must make a decision that will alter the course of her life:  Should she stay with the only family she has ever known, and lose her soul in the name of science, or give up her hopes of an immortal companion and run away with Eio?

I read the first 100 pages of Origin while I was visiting family.  I didn’t get a lot of reading done, though not for lack of trying, so when we got home I begged, pleaded, and cajoled my husband into running interference with the kids so that I could spend some quality time with this book.  He kindly consented.  It was heavenly!

Origin lacked the furious, unrelenting intensity of The Hunger Games, a standard to which many YA books are currently being held, but it still thoroughly captured my attention with a creative premise, that contained both mystery, romance, suspense, and several interesting characters.   I was also thrilled to discover that it was a completely stand-alone novel, bucking the current trend of YA trilogies.  Hooray for not having to wait years to read the whole story.  Thank you, Jessica!

I must confess to reading a majority of the book a bit smugly, certain that I knew how it was all going to end, but I did not.  I love that!  As long as I like the ending, anyway.  Origin had both the ending that I subconsciously longed for and the one that I didn’t expect.  I had a great time reading it and I think any fans of romantic, slightly mystical, lightly dystopian science fiction will enjoy the read as well.  

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Clean romance.  Some instances of violence, including death, murder, and suicide.  Not terribly graphic.  Two instances of "biblical" profanity.

Sum it up:  A lovely escapist read (with an ending I did not expect).

1 comment:

Book Flame said...

This is the first time I've actually taken the time out to really pay attention to this book and after reading your review it sounds like something I would love to read, I like the idea of it being set in the Amazon. Great review!


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