Author: Jessica Khoury
Publish Date: September 4, 2012
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
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.
Pia is anything but your ordinary teenage girl. She’s been raised in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in a small community where scientists were determined to find the flower capable of bestowing immortality. Pia is their first perfect immortal, and the rainforest is her one true protection – hiding her from the prying eyes of the rest of the world. Her confines are smothering though, and when a chance arises for her to get out, she does what any teenage girl would do…she leaves. But life in the wild is harder than she imagined and dangers lurk in every corner. Then she meets Eio, the one boy who might be able to help her understand her existence if they’re not too late.
Holy sci-fi lover’s dream, kiddos! Origin is pretty much a combination of everything that makes sci-fi great – dastardly science experiments, moral dilemmas and heart-wrenching decisions. I was sold on this one from the first time I read the premise. Jessica Khoury has crafted a vivid debut novel that is alive with complexities, powerful imagination and world so lush and tangible, you might very well lose yourself in the pages. From start to finish, we’re sent on a journey with Pia in which we must uncover our own hidden agendas and mental binds that keep us from buying into the perfect, flawless and immortal race.
There are so many things I loved about Origin, but I have to say the most poignant and powerful to me was how intricately the moral issues are woven into the storyline. Rather than feeling preachy, we’re just gently prodded along the way to understand the nature of Pia’s existence right along with her. By creating a truly likeable, albeit vulnerable character, we’re presented with the unique chance to step in her shoes, feel her emotions and learn to listen to both our hearts and our minds. The scientific nature of Origin is well-thought out, but the emotional side of the novel is almost more important, to be honest. We’re given a complex, sci-fi scenario, but we’re bombarded with issues of family, love, trust and the need to be oneself and have your own identity, as well. The world within Origin is probably one of the biggest highlights to me. The settings leapt from the pages, and I could actually see a true mental picture of every place Pia stepped foot due to the author’s incredibly rich writing style. I will, however, say that I felt Eio was never really fleshed out, and I couldn’t become invested in his character. Perhaps it wasn’t intended, but my lack of a connection with him made me more connected to the reality that Pia brought to the novel.
Overall, I thought the Origin was an extremely strong debut, despite a few flaws here and there. I think it was vivid and extremely refreshing, and many a YA reader will fall for it. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.