Origin by Jessica Khoury

OriginOrigin by Jessica Khoury
Published by: Razorbill on September 4, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 372
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Rating: ★★★

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 originโ€”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.

Origin wasn’t a perfect book, but I found it to be a really enjoyable and intense read! I got through it really quickly and was never bored! But that being said, I can completely understand how this is a love it or hate it kind of book. The overall conflict isn’t very original, it suffers from insta-love, and I thought there were a lot of plot holes with the science/immortality aspects.

The story of Origin is really cliché. It’s like Avatar: really cliché plot about the scientists vs. the natives, but then loaded with creativity. If these kind of “typical” overarching plots bother you, then Origin might not be for you. But personally, cliché plots don’t bother me! As long as the story is good and there are interesting elements, I have no problem with a scientists vs. indigenous plotline.

At the beginning, Pia was not at all a likable character. She always talked about how she was “perfect” and “immortal” and “never forgets anything.” Any time anyone made a comment like “Did you forget you had this assignment today?” she’d scoff at them and be so insulted that anyone could accuse her of forgetting. Because she’s perfect and has a perfect photographic memory. And then she started referring to her wild side as another person. This brought back some unpleasant memories of Ana’s “inner goddess” in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Wild Pia whispers that she has no intention of doing so, but I ignore her as best I can. She’s brought me this far, and that is enough. ARC of Origin, Page 72

I always think it’s weird when people refer to a different side of themselves as a whole other person.

Luckily, Pia improved as the story went on. By the end, I didn’t love her, but I no longer disliked her. It was more of a neutral, accepting feeling. The romance between Pia and Eio is a little bit of insta-love, but it’s not as bad as in some other books. By the end of the story, I think they’ve known each other for like 2 weeks and they’re professing their undying love and risking their lives for one another. As a result, I wasn’t totally in love with the romance. I never giggled with excitement or swooned at the thought of it. It was lacking an extra layer of depth and emotion. Not to mention the fact that they’re going on about how they love each other when they never even kiss.

I think what stopped me from enjoying this book more is how it seems to be half science, half fantasy (because there were a lot of myths about gods/immortals and the science was iffy), and I don’t usually like that mixture. I love reading about science stuff and believing that it’s real, but I had a hard time with that in Origin. I just didn’t buy into a lot of the science, and that was disappointing for me. It wasn’t believable. And there were a lot of things that seemed downright impossible. For example, the elysia flower is what was used to create Pia—an immortal girl. But the elysia nectar is lethal until it is mixed with a catalyst. But at one point in the book, Pia and several others throw a bunch of elysia flowers into the river—which I assume is a water source for both people and animals. Wouldn’t that then kill everyone who drinks from the river? And there were a lot of plot holes or unanswered questions with the immortality itself. What happens if Pia is stuck underwater for an hour? Can she breathe? Does she even need to breathe? What if she never eats? How does her body keep functioning?

I feel like this review has a lot of negativity, so let’s focus on the positive things! Despite my gripes, Origin was a really intriguing read with some interesting, intense themes. This book is heavy. It’s basically about what people will sacrifice for the sake of immortality. Therefore, we’re faced with morals, murder, sacrifice, betrayal, love, and more. This book is also filled to the brim with mystery! Throughout the story, we get the sense that things aren’t quite what they seem at Little Cam, but it takes a while to figure out the disturbing truth.

Honestly, this book also made me think a lot about the corporations in our world. How many corporations are out there doing illegal things and getting away with it? How many people just have zero respect for human life and run around killing people and animals like they don’t matter? Maybe there is some corporation out in the Amazon trying to figure out the secret to immortality.

I think Origin was about what I expected it to be: a good, interesting read, but not a perfect book and not one of my favourites. It lacked the extra layer of depth and I never felt like I had a full and complete understanding of how the immortality worked. But still, I’m glad I read it!

The Verdict

okay

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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8 comments

  1. I see a lot of middle ground reviews for this one. I’m not sure that it would really be for me, especially with the plot holes. And insta-love is never good either. Happy you could still enjoy it despite your issues though. Great review!

    Jenni @ Alluring Rea recently posted: Embrace Review
    1. I totally get why this wouldn’t be for you. It’s not a fabulous book. I still enjoyed reading it but I’m sure you have a lot of “fabulous” books in your TBR pile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Fantastic review, Ashley! I was unimpressed by this one and much like you, I wished that there was more of an emphasis and discovery of the corporate politics that went on in this novel. Furthermore, the blend of fantasy and science that you mentioned didn’t sit well with me either. Pia was also irritating at first and her romance with Eio was unremarkable. I love the concept of this though, so perhaps it’ll be done better in the future! We can only hope! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Keertana @ Ivy Book recently posted: Showcase Sunday (#16)
    1. Yeah it’s too bad this book wasn’t better, because I absolutely adore the idea! There were still a few things I enjoyed about the book, but it could still be improved quite a bit!

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