Book Review: Origin

Title/Author:  Origin by Jessica Khoury

Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance

Published:  September 4th, 2012 by Razorbill

Hardcover, 394 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  Honestly, the whole new race premise seemed really interesting, and I liked the jungle cover!  So I made an effort to pick it up.

Book Jacket Blurb:  “Pia has always known her destiny.  She is meant to start a new race, a line of descendants who will bring an end to death.  She has been bred for no other purpose, genetically engineered to be immortal and raised by a team of scientists in a secret compound hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest.  Now those scientists have begun to challenge her, with the goal of training her to carry on their dangerous work.

For as long as she can remember, Pia’s greatest desire has been to fulfill their expectations.  But on the night she turns seventeen, she finds a hole in the seemingly impenetrable fence that surrounds her sterile home.  Free in the jungle for the first time in her life, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village.  Unable to resist, she continues sneaking out to see him.  As they fall in love, they begin to piece together the truth about Pia’s origin–a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, electric new way to look at an age-old desire:  to live forever.  But is eternal life worth living if you can’t spend it with the one you love?”

My Review of the Work:

I’ll be honest…it has been a while since I actually finished this book.  Somehow, this review got lost on the wayside.  But the GOOD NEWS is that I actually wrote out a lot of my thoughts in a draft for this review, so I am not starting from scratch!  This will probably be shorter, but I will address the things that I found to be important, so it’s a good trade-off I think.

The book jacket blurb above does a good job of explaining the essence of this novel without giving a lot away, so I really don’t need to address the plot.  What I want to start with is the cover itself.  I love it when the cover sets the mood and tone for a story!  The jungle is such an integral part of this story, and I love the fact that it is the primary focus on the cover.  Rather than put the generic girl in a party dress (which they could have done because that happens in this story), they displayed something a lot more meaningful to the overall story.

Pia is an interesting main character.  The entire novel focuses on the moral choices surrounding eternal life.  Her development centers around her learning to see past what she are told to look at.  The more she learns, the more she realizes she doesn’t know.  But her emotions are very realistic throughout the entire story.  I found myself really admiring her curiosity and inquisitiveness.  Both of these qualities lead to the strength she needs to survive in Little Cam.

Something that I really appreciated with Origin was that, not only does it have good characters, but it also has a great setting.  The Ai’oa culture and mythology is well-developed and quite beautiful.  I don’t know if Khoury researched a specific amazonian tribe or kind of made it up, but they were so believeable and rich in cultural detail.  And then there is Little Cam.  Little Cam shifts from a magical place purposed for good to an evil place hiding horrible secrets.  As the novel progresses, we see a perspective shift that is effectively done, making this novel stand out to me.  I really love it when a setting becomes a character all on its own.  It really allows for the novel to develop on a higher level.

There is a lot of cheese (and some instalove, but not the super annoying kind. I wasn’t bothered with it, actually).  But with the topics addressed in this novel, there was kind of bound to be some cheese.  A balancing act between right and wrong.

I thought that the ending twist could have gone a couple of different ways and the way that was chosen was the easiest, and it almost seemed like a cop-out to the point of I was upset.  But then I read the epilogue.  And guys, I thought the epilogue was a beautifully perfect ending to this novel.  It was so unexpected but so appropriate that I dare call it a perfect ending.  And it makes up for any other plot choices I thought could have been better.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  It kept a quick pace from beginning to end, and I really came to love the characters and the setting of this novel.  This is a solid standalone!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book!

This book is a lot to digest. There were a lot of things I really loved about this story. Very interesting ideas are developed through the character development of Pia. The more I think about this book, the more I really enjoyed it. There were some plot choices that I thought could have made the story better if she took a slightly different path. But at the same time, the epilogue ties this whole story together beautifully. A solid stand-alone read!  I’d give it 3.75 Stars!

Love and Nature’s Own,


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