Book Review - Origin
by Jessica Khoury
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
Why I Picked This Book: I saw it listed on Breathless Reads, and instantly knew I wanted to read it.
My Thoughts:Pia was created to be perfect. She has been told this since the moment she was born, and she will live forever. Perfect. Hidden in a little science camp in the Amazon, she is trained from birth to be a scientist, with one goal in mind: Create more like herself. But what will happen when she discovers the secrets teeming under the surface of Little Cam?
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Mankind has always been in the search for eternal life. Holy Grails. Fountains of youth. You name it, we have looked for it. The idea that, in Origin, they found it in a flower tucked away in the Amazon, and managed to create a perfect human being over generations, is awesome.
Pia, as the main character, was an interesting read. She starts out the book very, very confident in herself. She knows she is perfect. (Mostly due to the fact that every single person in Little Cam has told her that nonstop since she was born.) She knows what she will do with her life. (Work with the scientists to create others just like her.) And she seems pretty happy with it all.
Then of course, life takes a twist.
In come a new scientist, who Pia instantly hates. I was not sure if it was jealousy issues because this scientist was gorgeous and all the older men fawned all over her. Or if it was because it was a new person, being as most people in Little Cam were born there. Did I mention that Pia is the youngest there, by I am assuming at least eighteen years? And very, very sheltered?
Next thing you know, Pia is sneaking off into the jungle. Breaking rules. And doubting almost everything she was raised to believe.
Her character does grow through the book. She is very much a teenage girl, wanting to believe she is the best to ever exist, but coming to learn that she is just another human fighting to live.
Enter Eio. The half-native boy who lives in the jungle and captures Pia's heart. While I did enjoy this character, he also did tend to bug me. He, like Pia, is very self-assured. He is attractive, strong-willed, and obviously thinks highly of himself. Is there something in the Amazon that causes too much self-confidence?
While I am not one to fight insta-love, this one did slightly bug me. Talk about love at first sight. Yes, they are both hotties. And yes, Eio does give Pia something she has never had: Life beyond the fences. I guess I would have liked to see at least one more day of "Hello, who are you?" before they were planning their fairy tale wedding and he was claiming her to be his forever.
Now, as for the scientists. Though it does get old that most scientists are perceived as cold, work-devoted drones, I liked it in this novel. These are scientists who have willingly devoted 30 years (or more) of their lives to this project. Of course they would be drone-ish. They hide away any evidence of life outside the fence, in hopes it will help keep Pia focused. And of course, they hide away secret after secret about what they are truly doing. I was intrigued with the scientists, and oddly felt myself rooting for them.
While parts of this book did get at me, I liked it. Khoury created a world that I can say I would not want to be part of, but was intrigued to dive into. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light science fiction read.
(3 out of 5 stars)