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Friday, January 11, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Release Date: September 4th 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 394
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review

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.

While the premise of this story is certainly interesting and the writing was quite good, I found that the story dragged in quite a few places.  Although I understand that Pia felt cooped up in Little Cam's facilities, I felt that the story had some uneven pacing; there were quite a few scenes in Little Cam that did not add very much the plot and slowed the overall pacing of the novel down.

The writing was pretty strong in Origin; Jessica Khoury does a great job creating vivid environments--from the sterile and secretive labs of Little Cam to the jungle, filled with its promises of danger and adventures--that readers feel like they could just step into.  Of course, given how many hidden dark secrets the staff of Little Cam may have and the unknown wealth of dangers the jungle holds, readers may not want to step in!  This only goes to show what a great job Jessica Khoury did in setting the scene for readers!

That said, while the writing was good, I didn't think all of the characters were stellar.  Eio's personality did not seem particularly special, and while it seems all good and well that he's devoted to Pia, it all happened a little too quickly for me.  Sure, plenty of novels have the love-at-first-sight thing going, but most of those characters had at least had interactions with other people of their gender before their love-at-first-sight moment.  Pia being, quite frankly, a lab experiment that was locked away in the jungle for so long, had no experience with other people of her own age.  So having her fall so deeply in love with Eio so quickly made me wonder if she fell for him just because he's the only boy her age she's ever met, especially since she already had her heart set on helping make her own "Mr. Perfect Immortal" as her companion.  

Another issue I had with Origin was the build up.  I have to admit that when the big secret was revealed, I was disappointed.  I had expected something spectacular and mind-blowing since the author had held off on the big reveal until late in the novel!  It wasn't as well fleshed-out as I had hoped it would be, and given the tone of the book, I had expected something more science-based.  But in the end, it was more magic than it was science.  After the reveal, it all ended pretty quickly as well (again, the uneven pacing of the book).  That said, I will at least give credit to the author for not dragging the story or the big reveal out into several more novels!

Lastly, I found a point the novel brought up quite interesting--how far would you go for the advancement for science?  The answer that some people might give could just chill you to the bone!  It certainly disturbed me quite a bit how focused some of the scientists at Little Cam were, and how little they thought about how their methods could be harming others.  While having passion for your field is a valuable trait that could undoubtedly help you work harder, this novel also brings up the questions concerning the morals of such research and how far people should go.  That said, how scientists are portrayed in this novel should not be how you see all scientist!  Not all scientists are souless people who care nothing for morals, ethics and others, unlike most of the scientists in Little Cam! 

Overall: 3.75 out of 5
Plot: 3.75 stars
Characters: 3.5 stars
Writing: 4.5 stars
Cover: 4 stars 



Susan said...

I felt pretty much the same way about this one as you did. The premise really intrigued me, but the delivery just wasn't as good as I hoped it would be.

Thanks for the review!

Briana said...

I've heard just okay things about this book... which kind of sucks since it's sitting on my shelf.

I hate saying this but to be honest, I hate reading anything that is anything short of amazing. I want to be blown away by a book and when something falls short of that, it really sucks!

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