Aug 24, 2012

Origin by Jessica Khoury Review

Origin by Jessica Khoury
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill; 372 pages

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost.

Origin is a standalone book about a teenage girl named Pia who lives in the Amazon rain forest.  For starters I must say it was a nice change of pace for me to read a standalone book.  I usually read book series, where you have to wait for the conclusion to the story.  It was nice reading one book with a standard beginning, middle, and ending in one book.

Pia is immortal.  Immortality has been achieved by the scientists she lives in the rain forest with.  Pia is the first immortal.  Pia's dream is for other immortals to be born, and to live in a world without sickness and death.  Pia lives in a sheltered environment.  She's not allowed access to the outside world, and without her realizing it she basically lives in a cage.

The concept and plot of this book is very intriguing.  As a fan of the tv series Lost, I did notice a few similarities.  But the story is pretty much it's own.  Immortality is something that everyone has probably thought about once or twice.  But would anyone truly want to live forever?  Pia has to face that she will never grow old, and she will have to see her family and extended family grow old and die.  I don't think that's something I would ever want to do.  Death is a part of the life cycle, and to live forever would be cheating death.

You start to see a change in Pia when she finds a way to sneak outside and meets Eio.  Human nature really starts to take over for her even though she is immortal.  You can lock someone in a cage, but curiosity starts to take over.  Teenage emotions as well.  Pia is so sheltered, and without even realizing it she wants adolescence.  She gets excited over simple things such as a birthday party.

I did think that the romance in the story fell a little flat.  I just couldn't feel much of a connection between Pia and Eio.  I feel that Pia was so desperate for a companion her age that any boy would have sufficed.  Even though there were scenes with the two of them that did make me smile, overall I didn't feel much of a bond between them.

Origin is the story of a girl who finds out what she thought she wanted in life isn't really what she wants.  I think everyone has had that happen to them at least once or twice.  In Pia's case, she figures out that this was what she was told to want.  Love changed things for her, and opened new perspectives.  I liked reading Pia's story, and would recommend it to anyone with a love of sci fi.

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