Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review : Origin by Jessica Khoury

  • Publication Date: September 4th 2012
  • Pages: 393
  • Genre: Science Fiction 
  • Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
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.
Going into Origin I was excited for one big reason; this is a stand alone novel. Since I started blogging the only non-contemporary stand alone novel I've read is Entwined by Heather Dixon and that was a while ago.

When we are first introduced to the Pia, the immortal girl raised and created by scientist, I couldn't help getting anxious. I was excited to see how this girl's unusual story could be told in a single book format. It's a different experience reading a book knowing there is only one chance to meet  and grow with  the characters and Origin holds up pretty well.

 Pia's world is confined to Little Cam, a secret research compound hidden deep in the Amazon jungle. Pia is the first of her kind, an immortal race whose origin (title drop !) is found in the secrets and stories of the elysia flower. When an Ai'oan boy, Eio, from the outside finds a way to free her from her caged in life, Pia learns the truth about her destiny and the life she thought was hers.

The novel does a good job of crafting this stoic and rational world of the Little Cam compound and how it contrast with the chaotic and energetic lives of the Ai'oa tribe.  Usually claustrophobic settings don't work for me but there was so much description and intricacy to this jungle setting that I didn't notice how little movement there is.

I was mostly drawn to the supporting characters because they have the most stakes in the plot, even more so than Pia. They have  immediate sacrifices, hopes and aspirations that rely on Pia creating the next generation of immortals. Due to the nature of Pia's condition (being immortal) at times hard to relate to her because there is no immediacy. This concept is explored in the novel by Pia and is one of the reason a contrast like Eio is necessary to propel her story forward.

It's also worth noting that this novel is based entirely on the Science Fiction genre. It is based on the question of"what if" you could live forever. It stands out because it doesn't focus on society or a big brother like in most Speculative and Dystopians

Origin is a refreshing change to the current YA landscape and I certainly hope it starts a trend of more stand-a-lones.This novel is perfect for those suffering from series fatigue and looking for a science fiction novel with a twist of romance.

Book Trailer

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