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.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. Quoted from Goodreads
When I first saw this book, I never thought I'd read it. Maybe it seemed more philosophical than adventure, maybe the cutout cover turned me off. Doesn't matter. Luckily it got great reviews, oh, and it kept cropping up everywhere. So I figured, why not? Thank goodness, because I found it imaginative, thoughtful, tense, and sweet.
First there's the world. It could be our world exactly. I know there are all sorts of scientists experimenting in the Amazon, looking for everything from the cure for cancer to baldness. This isn't about some secret magic hidden in the shadows, though there are plenty of secrets and shadows. Set in the lush Amazon, Jessica Khoury plays on mankind's hope of immortality, combining science with legend, to create Pia, the first immortal.
Pia is everything you might expect. She has never left the compound, known anyone her age, or watched a single movie. She is everything sheltered and logical, as she strives to be the perfect scientist and discover the secret to making more immortals like her so she will no longer be alone. When she meets Eio, he opens up an entire new world for her. I loved the conflict between everything she has ever known and the introduction of this new world with all its ideas, between trusting the people who raised her and the boy she is falling in love with. With everything thrown at her, she comes across as a very real character, one you can't help but care about.
Then there's Eio. He is absolutely sweet, and as much an outsider in his tribe as Pia is in her compound, and they fit. Their romance was believable---quick but natural---and as the story progressed, I liked him more and more. He was, as someone once said, "everything Pia never knew she always needed."
Now for our delicious villains, and they were delicious. There were some who were pure, undiluted evil, and others who were ambiguous, bad and good. I loved how everyone started out "good." In the beginning Pia trusts everyone, loves everyone, which makes it all the more heart-wrenching as she discovers who will betray her and the cost of her immortality. Plus their secrets and motivation . . . perfect. What would you do, what would you pay, for immortality?
So ignore any doubts you might have, that annoying little voice that whispers this book isn't for you, and pick up Origin. Refreshingly, it is a stand-alone, so you don't have to wait a year before the next one comes out, and it really is excellent. The writing flows beautifully, immersing the reader in Pia's jungle world and shinning with little moments of beauty.
This book absolutely deserves 4 stars. It was exciting, tense, and thought provoking, so give it a try.