In the remote Amazonian Forest a team of scientists are trying to create a new race of immortal people. Finally, after five generations, they have succeeded in creating Pia who is, as she is constantly reminded, "perfect". Or is she? Pia is now seventeen, living in a glass room in a secret compound called Little Cam surrounded by an electric fence. Her one ambition was to create companions for herself, people who understand what it is like to be her. But everything changes when she finds that hole in the fence. And sees Eio for the first time. And discovers the truth about Little Cam, and herself...
My favourite character in the book was probably Ami, even though she wasn't a main character. She was independent, and really nice. I also liked Dr Harriet, because she was nice, willing, not brainwashed, and she taught Pia how to be free.
Pia was a goo heroine in all, but she was a bit stuck-up (and being told she was perfect all the time didn't help). Like, when she first met Eio, she kept feeling the need to remind him that she was perfect. Although she did get more accepting as the book progressed. I didn't really feel all that much for Eio. I mean, I'm glad that the romance isn't overwhelming the book, but we didn't really see much of him, he was just "that cute guy" for a lot of the book, and I didn't see the point of some of his choices.
I also think that Jessica needs more description. I mean, all I can clearly picture is the field of elysias, and the fence. There was barely any description of what Little Cam looked like, and although I appreciate authors not having two-or three page descriptions describing every inch of the room (*cough*Eragon*cough*), I would have liked at least SOMETHING telling us what we were supposed to be imagining.
I was a bit unsatisfied with the ending. (SPOILER ALERT) Is Pia going to die or live forever, just being able to bleed? What happened to Dr Harriet after that? Did Pia ever get to see the outside world? (END SPOILER) and so on. So many questions...
Other than those things, the action and the plot was perfect. I was just swept up into this story. I definitely recommend it.
Origin is about Pia, the first immortal human born in the depths of the Amazon rainforest, one of the major secret hidden in the vast jungle. She lives in a small community called Little Cam, and was raised by the scientists who created her, the same ones who keep her hidden away from the rest of the world. Then on her seventeenth birthday, a hole appears in the secure fences that surround her home, and she steps out into a new world that has always been just beyond her reach. With freedom at last, she discovers the truth of her very existence.
The other immortality books that I have read are either about gods and goddesses, or about humanity trying to discover it, but Origin is different because Pia was born into it, and it wasn't her fault to have it in the first place. SPOILER. And at the end of the book, she fights to get rid of it, something I have never encountered before.
The characters in the story were great, but you could see that there was something fishy about them from the very beginning. Pia was a good heroine, and she was written in the way that was exactly like her upbringing, caged and brainwashed. Pia was a bit snotty, and being told that she was perfect all the time didn't really help. Although she become less stuck-up, some of her snobbishness lingered throughout the entire book. I really didn't feel anything about Eio, he seemed nice, but we never really got to see him much, and he was just that guy in the forest for most of the book, nothing really happened. Although I was happy the love didn't overwhelm the story, I think there was a bit to little. If Pia had more love to fight for, she would of been a stronger character. The one other important character in the story was Dr. Harriet. She was great, even though she hardly knew Pia, she was nice, willing, and taught Pia how to be free.
I think there was too little description in the story. There was barely anything about the inside of Little Cam, other than the horrors of what was going in it's depths. The rainforest had a bit more, but not much. We only ever got to see vague details about what it looked like, a good description has all the senses in it, not just one.
Origin is a great book about immortality, one very different to a lot of other ones. The characters are brilliant, and the plot is just perfect. This book teaches us about freedom, and what it is to being truly human.
Not among my favourites, but pretty darn good. Jessica Khoury shows promise.
(Updated: February 27, 2013)
Origin is a story of Pia, a perfect, immortal human created through generations of hard work, discovering how to live life and how much her immortality was worth.
Immortality isn't as controversial of a subject as some others are, mainly because it's basically impossible right now. Everyone's been trying ways to make themselves look younger for a longer period of time, or lengthen their life expectancy, but to live forever is something that scientists have only found in one peculiar species of animals. Anyways, the way Jessica Khoury incorporated the setting into her idea was very smart. It's no secret that the Amazon holds countless secrets, so there could very well be the key to cheating death inn the middle of the vast jungle.
However, as much as I admire Khoury's incorporation of the Amazon, I can't help but feel that it was a bit lacking in the world-building department. I want to see, hear, smell, feel, taste the Amazon, and even Little Cam, the research lab. Khoury did do a pretty okay job in the jungle bit, but I didn't fully feel immersed in Pia's world.
Some improvement that could be made? The plot. Things fell really tidily into place, I mean like, really? A hole in the fence right on her seventeenth birthday? How very convenient. As well, lots of things moved a bit too fast, like Pia and Eio's relationship, and Pia's character development. Linger on the details, make it subtle and fleeting. Draw it out. Wreak havoc upon my emotions, please.
As for the characters, they truly weren't bad. Pia did come off as a bit rude from time to time, but I want to cut her some slack because she genuinely didn't have the sort of upbringing that'd allow her to learn the sort of interaction that we use in our world. That sort of skill was perceived as next to useless at Little Cam. Nevertheless, I found Pia's narrative quite refreshing, and new, because of the environment she grew up in. However, I felt like I didn't connect all that much with Eio, her male counterpart. Maybe it was because there was less of him in the story? Perhaps, but it could very well be a good thing, since the romance wouldn't overwhelm the story and swallow it up. NOM. One character who did stand out more than Eio, however, was Aunt Harriet (spoiler alert: she's not Pia's aunt), a.k.a. Dr. Klutz. It was Harriet who taught Pia to act like a teenager, who sneaked her out of the lab to see Eio, who's doing all this despite the danger it poses to her job. This time, I'm not cheering for a dude in the story. I am whole-heartedly Team Harriet. With a dash of sass.
To tie things up, Origin had an intriguing idea, a fantastically chosen setting, and a wonderful cast of characters. While Origin didn't blow my mind (I wanted more expansion on the sci-fi), I enjoyed reading it very much, and found it to be a stunning debut from Khoury.
Meet Pia. No last name and isolated from the world, which is the entire globe, except for a small village, full of all kinds of scientists, called Little Cam. This facility is located in the Amazon jungle (she doesn't even know that). Did I mention she's immortal? Maybe not. She's the first of her kind. A five-generation work that finally sees the light. She can't bleed, she's immune to any kind of disease somebody could think of and she has an eternity to live.
She's perfect, or so everyone thought because she has one of the characteristics that make us human beings. Curiosity. And it will get the best of her…or the worst. When she notices a hole in the fence and finds herself watching the world she lived in for seventeen years from the outside, everything changes. For the first time she's free to wander the Amazon jungle, where she meets Eio, a local who belongs to the Ai'oa tribe. But the thing is, he doesn't look like anyone in his tribe. He looks like the male version of Pia.
"His eyes are startlingly blue and as wide as papayas. I have never seen such blue, blue eyes."
Eventually he falls for her and wants her out of Little Cam forever. But she wants to become the newest member of the Immortis team and create more of her kind. But in order to accomplish that, she has to pass one last test that is against everything she believes in.
"Go now or lose your chance forever, Wild Pia's voice whispers in my head"
And it's only the beginning…
I really liked Origin.It's not the kind of story we're used to reading and that's what makes it a unique.