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Monday, October 29, 2012

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Origin by Jessica Khoury

Title: Origin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 4 2012
Publishing House: Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595145956
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked

Summary: 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 expectation. 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 a truth about Pia's origin - a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book) 

Perfect is as perfect does.

Before I start with the review, I just want to say that I adored the book. I loved it. There are so many things about this book that I loved and I'm happy that it's a stand-alone. Not that I don't love books that are part of a series, but stand-alones are always a welcome change. 

Set in the secret depths of the Amazon, Khoury manages to capture the reclusiveness of the research facility hidden within lush forests and surrounded by different exotic creatures. It's easy to imagine the sights, the smells, and the sounds of the jungle; it's even easier to get sucked into the secrets and danger of men in white coats on a quest for immortality. But despite being of the science fiction genre, the story manages to create an air of magic and mystery that is undoubtedly compelling and intriguing. 

The story is told in Pia's voice. She's an immortal, albeit a very sheltered one. Pia is like a child; she's ignorant, naive, and a bit spoiled. But given the circumstances, I think it's fitting. The scientists, whom she refers to as her Aunts and Uncles, allow nothing from the outside world to enter the facility so she is kept in the dark and lied to-her questions about the outside are either deflected or ignored. Pia's character was very well-developed, her emotions were so realistic, you could actually feel her wonder at meeting Eio and tasting freedom for the first time, as well as her confusion at the way her whole world was starting to unravel, and her discomfort of the choices she had to make. 

The romance in the story was very sweet and I was actually able to overlook the fact that it involved the dreaded insta-love. The circumstances in which they met and all weren't exactly the breeding grounds for a normal courtship, and I get that. And from the way Eio interacted with Pia, it was obvious that what he felt was genuine. But there is more to Eio than being the beautiful jungle boy who represents all that Pia should not want but does. He has his secrets too and is in some ways connected to the research facility.

I loved the way the secondary characters here play a role, how their actions revolved around Pia and their search for immortality; how they're all part of some bigger deception with Pia in the center of it all. It's also interesting to note the way the author managed to intertwine folklore regarding Elysia and science together. I suppose it's what makes this book so magical. When this book ends and everything falls into place, you're left with a sense of wonder and a smile on your face.

All in all, Origin is a wonderful book. It's got romance, wonderful characters, vivid world-building, mystery and intrigue and it definitely puts a new spin to the age-old quest for immortality. I suggest that this book be picked up at once. This is definitely a must-read.



  1. Eeeeeep!!!!! *composes self* Oh. Hi Nicole! I LOVE your review. Love, love, love. I've been on the lookout for this book for months! It sounds so like..The Forsaken. Well, a bit. ;) I'm glad you liked Pia. I'm looking forward to meeting her. Great review!

    Fragments of Life

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked my review. I wasn't expecting to love Origin this much, but I did. It's hard not to love Pia, I just want to give her a big hug.

      I've read Forsaken and I'm not too fond of it, there were just some things I didn't like but I'll probably be reading the second book despite that. :)

  2. Awesome review, Nicole! I'm pretty excited to read this one myself. The premise is really unique, no? And I've always loved books with a lot of adventure (preferably ones in the jungle.) The cover is lovely too and I'm so glad that you loved it! I will definitely have to look for a copy the next time I go to the bookstore. :)

    Louisse @ The Soul Sisters
    Latest post: The GODDESS of My Heart

    1. Hi Louisse! Thank you. :) And yes, I picked this up just because of the premise and you won't be disappointed with Khoury's descriptions of the Amazon. You should definitely grab a copy, I'd like to know what you think of it. :)

  3. Great review:) I am a new follower via Network Blogs:) Here's mine, I hope you will follow back!