Title: Origin [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Jessica Khoury
Release Date: September 4, 2012
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: It’s different and intriguing, but it didn’t hit the mark for me.
About the Book: 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.
I really wanted to like Origin. The plot sounded cool and different. The setting, mysterious and dangerous. I was expecting a thrilling tale of deceit, action, and love, but while there were aspects of each in the story, I just couldn’t connect to it all. There was no pull at any point in the book for me, no drive to want to keep reading except to see how it all ends.
Origin tells the story about Pia, a genetically engineered immortal girl who has lived her whole life on this lab compound, unaware of what the outside world looks like. All she knows is what the scientists teach her and what they allow her to know. She does have a mother and father, both are scientists in the compound, but there’s no real connection there and she’s only really close to this other scientist, Antonio, who works there too. I didn’t really care too much for Pia as a character, she was pretty clueless and stubborn. She was definitely kind-hearted and tough, but I didn’t connect to her at all. After Pia’s first trip into the jungle, things start to unravel in Little Cam (the lab compound) and Pia soon discovers all secrets and lies the scientists are hiding.
Probably my favorite aspect of the book was the twisted plot involving the scientists and their financial backers. Throughout the whole book you can feel the underlying evilness that enveloped the compound, especially when it came to Pia’s mom and the head scientist, Paolo. They were pretty demented and if anything, excellent villans in an otherwise lackluster story. Each of the scientists had to do some pretty crazy things in order to work in the compound, and they did some even more crazier things while working in the compound (especially in a particular set of hauntingly creepy rooms). I also liked how Jessica developed the scientific aspect of creating an immortal being, and although a bit confusing and complicated at times, it was interesting.
I wasn’t really a fan of the love story though. Pia and Eio’s relationship had no depth or substance, and this one was a serious case of instalove, defined. Of course, there’s always that initial attraction, but you’re supposed to build on that and develop the relationship. There was none of that here. I didn’t see what was so special about Eio, except that he is a good guy and brave, but he was also careless at times, which kind of bugged me.
Origin was definitely one of those books I felt “blah” about. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It’s a decent read and I don’t think I wasted my time with it, yet on the other hand, I could’ve done without it. While some readers will enjoy this try at a scientific thriller, I felt like it was missing that special appeal and it missed the mark for me.