Review Detail

Origin FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 4809
Welcome to the Jungle!
(Updated: June 19, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
There are a lot of things I expected from Ori­gin. Mys­tery, a jun­gle back­drop and even a bit of romance. But, wow. I did not expect to be grab­bing the edge of my seat, turn­ing page after page in antic­i­pa­tion. How­ever, this novel is not for the faint of heart due to a few shock­ing scenes. But care­fully placed gen­tler moments are woven in with the call of the jun­gle. Between the bitter-sweet blos­som of first love and the nail-biting storyline, I was robbed of pre­cious sleep... I was captivated.

The Char­ac­ters:
Pia, our main char­ac­ter, is immor­tal. She was cre­ated and raised by a group of sci­en­tist with the intent to create a new human race at any cost. Noth­ing can pierce her skin. She has height­ened hear­ing, sight, smell and speed. At first glance it may seem like she's just going to turn out to be your run of the mill Mary Sue, but Pia has her weak­ness, nor­mal strength and endurance along with her stub­born­ness that at times really frustrated me, but I enjoyed see­ing her grow. She lives a very shel­tered life because she has never left Lit­tle Cam and she is curi­ous about the out­side world. Unfor­tu­nately, the sci­en­tist never allow her to know any­thing about the world. She's never seen a map, TV, Inter­net, heard music, etc. She's been told that all those things are a dis­trac­tion from her des­tiny: To cre­ate even more immor­tals like her for the bet­ter­ment of the human race. And for a time she believes them until one day an oppor­tu­nity presents itself, she explores the jun­gle and meets Eio, who makes her com­pletely ques­tion every­thing she has been taught.

Speak­ing of Eio, when we are first intro­duced to him he imme­di­ately reminded me of some­one. Remember Mimi-Siku from Jun­gle 2 Jun­gle? Eio, the love inter­est, jun­gle boy, half Ai'oan. He's hon­est and kind. And unlike Pia, he sees the dan­ger of Lit­tle Cam and urges her to aban­don the facil­ity. Even when she resists over and over, deter­mined to remain there, he doesn't aban­don her. He shows her things she's never seen, things that don't fit into her per­ceived per­fect, sci­en­tific ideals. And while he does make a state­ment early on that could be seen as misog­y­nis­tic (telling Pia she needed a big strong man to walk her through the jun­gle), to me it felt more like him try­ing to make a good impres­sion and be chival­rous. He's from a cul­ture that is vir­tu­ally cut off from mod­ern soci­ety (Lit­tle Cam­bridge excluded), so the inten­tion of the state­ment never felt insult­ing. I could always tell he truly cared about her. Every time Eio spoke to Pia, I could hear Mimi's voice in my head. I could just pic­ture his raw, hon­est facial expres­sions behind every sen­tence. They were so sim­ple, but so much emo­tion was packed into it.

Quote: "I will climb that fence, if you ask it of me, and I will bring you out."

Romance:
This was an inter­est­ing read­ing jour­ney for me because Ori­gin tech­ni­cally has a big thing that usually doesn't mesh well with me in books: Insta-love. I can only remem­ber one other book where it didn't bother me and that was Daugh­ter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tayler, which I LOVED. Books like these really affirm my belief that there isn't nec­es­sar­ily any­thing *wrong* with a story that fea­tures fast building love as long as the relation­ship is believ­able to the reader. For me, it was. Even though the book does take place in, perhaps, a lit­tle over a week, it felt much longer than that. Pia and Eio meet in a very unique cir­cum­stance so it's hard to com­pare their courtship to others. I felt that Eio and Pia really loved each other.

A big part of me believ­ing in the romance was due to Khoury's prose. The scenes between Pia and Eio were del­i­cately crafted and I'm a sucker for pretty prose. It wasn't the dreaded pur­ple prose. It was simple and its sub­tlety in the heat of the moment had me feel­ing some kinda way.

Quote: "I think of my eter­nal peo­ple. Of broth­ers and sis­ters and friends who will never die. An immor­tal family, untouched by pain and death, know­ing only life and love and beauty. I try to imag­ine it, try to see their faces in my mind... but all I see is a blue-eyed boy sit­ting by the river, giv­ing me the stars."

It was like watch­ing Mimi-Siku giv­ing Karen the pot. *wipes tear*

World build­ing:
The begin­ning of Ori­gin def­i­nitely sets the tone for the rest of the book and if the first scene both­ers you, chances are this book might not be for you. There are a few ani­mal test­ing scenes where ani­mals are harmed. But the gen­eral tone of the MC and book was that this was frowned upon so it wasn't endorsed. But since Pia lives in that kind of envi­ron­ment where the sci­en­tist are look­ing for immor­tal­ity, it makes sense that they would have ani­mal test sub­jects. Pia hated that they ran those tests on ani­mals and never wanted to be apart of it. Nev­er­the­less, it is there and it could be disturbing for some readers.

I love when I can tell that an author has done their home­work and Khoury did just that. The Ama­zon­ian rain for­est is well-developed and vivid. You can see the detail used espe­cially when plants and insects are described. At one point I had to google one of the insects men­tion, the titan beetle. *shud­ders* I'll never look at a bee­tle the same way again.

Final Verdict: By the end of Ori­gin I real­ized some­thing about myself. I often com­plain and com­plain about how stand­alones are almost non-existent in YA Land, but this time I actu­ally found myself wish­ing it was a series. The jun­gle was done with me, but I wasn't done with the jun­gle. So if you are look­ing for a Sci-Fi type mystery, I'd say give Ori­gin a try. It just might sur­prise you.
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