Monday, December 9, 2013

Origin (Origin #1) by Jessica Khoury

Origin by Jessica Khoury
Series: Origin #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 394
Published by Razorbill on September 4, 2012
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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 read the first 116 pages of this book out loud to my family and their Australian friends on Black Friday while we were driving around, and let me tell you, I enjoyed reading out loud a lot because it forced me to slow down and process each and every sentence separately and understand it for what it is. It took me a lot longer to get that far (I could've finished Origin that day, but instead I only made it through 1/4 of the book), and I sort of appreciated that.

The first thing I realized that I didn't like about this book was the romance between Eio and Pia. Now, don't get me wrong, Eio was awesome and Pia was a bamf, but I just felt like they shouldn't have fallen in love. And if they did fall in love, I doubt they would've fallen in love in such a short span of time. What was it? Three, four weeks? I'm sorry, but a month and they fall in love...that just doesn't seem realistic to me. I have to admit that Eio was incredibly sweet, and even though their love was rushed, that boy--ahem, man--made me swoon.

The second thing I realized that I didn't like about Origin was the fact that the entire thing was very anticlimactic. The majority of the book is set on Pia wanting to know the catalyst for elysia, the plant that produced the liquid that was used to create the injection to make a person, after five generations, immortal. And when Pia discovered the catalyst, I didn't feel very shocked or awestruck. No, I hadn't guessed the ending, but I just felt like the way that Khoury decided to go with how the injection was created was very halfassed and not very surprising. The entire book, I spent knocking my head against the wall, figuratively, trying to think of ways that the injection could've been created. It's just that by the end of the book, I had wanted so badly for the catalyst to be something surprising and cliffhanger-worthy, wasn't.

But those are the only two things that I didn't like. Everything else? Amazing! That's why I still gave this book four stars. I loved Pia's character. She was distinguishable, and that intrigued me so much. She had a distinct voice, as did the other characters, and she was real because she had motivation for her actions; they weren't spontaneous and not expected. Pia was a calculated girl, and everything she did came down to a science. And when she did do something out of character, she justified it in her own way. And everything came down to her being a scientist and wanting to know the truth, to seek knowledge.

Eio didn't have as strong as a voice, and he didn't exactly have a very high character arc, but he still maintained a distinct voice. He could say something without the speaker tag, and I'd know that it was him just because of the way he spoke to people as well as Pia. The same goes for Pia's mother, Uncle Paolo, Uncle Antonio, Aunt Harriet, etc. The characters were my favorite part of Origin.

The overall plot was great, too. The science aspect was clear and was very easy to follow. Like I said at the beginning about how it was anticlimactic, the beginning was very interesting, and I was compelled to read more. Although the ending was...unique...I don't regret reading Origin. At all. This book had a lot of potential as a plot, and I think that Khoury, although the big surprise could've been better, executed the idea quite well.

I'd recommend this book to my friends. In fact, three are already going to be borrowing it! I definitely recommend this book to anybody who liked adventure, animals, science, boys, or just the wild in general. This book isn't fantasy, though. Everything that occurs in Origin could very well happen in real life, which is something that I particularly enjoyed about this book.

Khoury's new book, Vitro, comes out next year, and I can't wait to get my hands on it once it gets released! I'm sure I'll love it just as much as I loved Origin.

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