Sept. 4, 2012
My Copy: eBook, 308 pages
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest. She was raised by a team or 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 had quite a bit of hype around it and the synopsis sounds very interesting and unique. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with it on the whole. That’s not to say I didn’t like it per se, but I didn’t love it either. The story is about an immortal girl, Pia. She’s the only one of her kind and wants desperately to join the Immortis team of scientists so she can help create others like her. That is her dream for the majority of the novel. But, she is somewhat of a prisoner in her own community. She is not allowed outside the fence or to really have any knowledge of anything that is on the other side. She is very sheltered. But, eventually, curiosity takes over and she escapes to the other side. What she find is another community of people, the Ai’oans. In this community is also a handsome boy, Eio. After these events, Pia spends the rest of the novel in a cycle of indecisions, not sure what to do or what she really wants.
I found the characters to be underdeveloped for the most part. None of them were very memorable and I assume that in a short time I will forget them. Pia was likeable enough. Though, I found her indecisiveness a bit annoying at times. I mean, I am indecisive as well when it comes to big decisions, but Pia spent the better part of the novel back and forth, even after learning some things about her little community of Little Cam. Eio is Pia’s love interest and a very forgettable character. I don’t feel like I ever really got to know him on the inside. Not much to say about him at all.
I found the romance between Pia and Eio dull and not very believable. It also bothered me that, once Pia found out that the necklace Eio gave her symbolized his claiming of her, she merely accepted it and called him ‘sneaky’. I guess she did grow up very sheltered, so she may not know anything about feminism and such things, but still. To have someone claim you without your consent doesn’t seem right to me.
The writing of Origin was good. I thought the images portrayed by Khoury of the rainforest were beautifully described. I’m also stoked that this book is a YA Dystpia and it’s a stand alone! That’s refreshing. Oh, and I love the room that Khoury gave to Pia! I want this room: It’s almost like not having walls at all. I love waking up and seeing the trees overhead. Sometimes I’ll sit on my bed for hours, staring out to see what animals will pass by my window.
I didn’t care for the ending very much. I found it predictable. I also still had a couple questions that were unanswered.
Finally, I’m not sure I would recommend this book. It was nicely written and was original, but I didn’t find it all too enjoyable. Wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good either.
A Peek Inside:
I pick up a scalpel from Uncle Paolo’s tray
of tools. Dr. Klutz’s eyes widen. “Pia…”
“Just watch.” I run it down my arm, pressing
as hard as I can. It stings, but only mildly. I can
feel pain, but not as intensely as other people. A
faint white line is the only evidence of the
blade’s touch, but it disappears in seconds.