May 17, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury


Title: Origin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 394 pg


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.

"The jungle hides a girl who cannot die."

I love Origin! 
The story takes a special place in my heart merely because the setting: in a deep forest of Amazon. Just by imagining the setting is already enough to make my heart flutters with excitement :-D
But thankfully, it's also accompanied by a good, interesting plot.

For seventeen years Pia had been locked out in Little Cam, a big laboratory located in the Amazon jungle. The scientists have created Pia as perfect as a human could be: stunningly beautiful, intelligent, flawless memory, strengthened hearing, vision and all. Nothing can hurt or pierce her skin. And more importantly: Pia's immortal. She cannot die. And this is the actual goal of the Little Cam's project: to create a race of immortals.
Pia, being the first successful trial of immortal, is given a lot of knowledge as a scientist. Mention her a name of plant and she could tell you everything about it: its biological name, its family, kingdom, species, and all that. But she's isolated from the real world. She doesn't know any names of cities, places, how to get out of Little Cam, where it's located, or what's outside the Little Cam. Now already seventeen, she's of course has a lot of curiosities.
The plot thickens upon the arrival of Dr Harriett Field and Pia finding a hole in her room that could connects her to the outside. Guess what did she find on the first time she's there? Of course, a jungle boy. Eio, a boy from the Aio'ans that live in the Amazon. After that first time, just like any other teenagers her age, Pia tries to find a way to sneak out into the jungle everytime she can. This also involved some help from Dr Harriett (seriously, I love this quirky Dr Harriett!). From those 'outings', Pia discovers a lot of secrets. Secrets of Eio, of the Aio'ans, of the Little Cam projects, which somehow are connected together.
Soon Pia has an internal battle between herself: to believe the scientist in Little Cam, stay there and keep going on making the race of immortals, or to break out into the real world?

“No one should live forever," I whisper. "Isn't that how it goes? There must be a balance. No birth without death. No life without tears. What is taken from the world must be given back. No one should live forever, but should give his blood to the river when the time comes so that tomorrow another may live. And so it goes."

Plus points:
+ The author, Jessica Khoury, is good at describing the setting and situation.
The sophisticated Little Cam, the jungle (she described a lot of big trees and plants along the Amazon area, exp: the kapoks which I've seen  a lot in internet but never actually know the name. Also the animals), characters' physical appearance. The movie that was playing in my head while I was reading came out clear.
+ I can feel the suspense. 
And Pia's confusion through a lot of events or news she found and received. Hatred toward the evil scientist too (most of all, Uncle Paolo! Grrrr). I can also feel Pia's loneliness, how she's the only immortal between the only people she has ever known - in a few years they will all be dead, deceased, while she's going to live forever with no companion. Hence, the emergency of making other immortal beings, but the process won't be started until Pia's ready. Problem is, Pia's not sure if she can ever be ready.
+ The book also had me thinking about science and human nature.
Origin recited not only science's positive, amazing sides, but also the dark, evil sides of it. Like how it could make human greedy (wanting to live forever, so they try to find a way to create an immortal), and it could also make them inhumane toward other living creatures. (One of Pia's weaknesses that had always delayed the project is that she couldn't stand any scientific trials using animals, or other human)
+ Lovely scenes like where Pia & Eio roamed around the depth of the jungle, or the Aio'ans traditions... I love them all. The story also included some myth and legend.

Minus points:
- In the first few pages (about 50 or so?), the pace was kinda slow.
Jessica took her time to really planted us the knowledge and describe the life of Little Cam, Pia's daily life and lessons with her 'uncles'... It was ok, actually, but I found myself skimming some parts of it.
- Pia. 
Sometimes she's really frustrating, going back and forth between the scientist and Eio. Especially after the talk with Uncle Antonio & Eio where she decided to just go back to Little Cam's side after that (like, whoa wtf gurl?). For such an intelligent human being, she's such a kid. She can't figure out what's actually good for her or take which side she's on. I had my moment of 'Aaaaargh you stupid girl! C'mon why can't you see the obvious truth out there?!' or something like that.
- The romance.
While I can't complain much about the romance (imagine yourself in a date with a hot jungle boy named Eio and a white tiger named Alai... Or the fact that the boy fought a cobra to save you!) Eio doesn't talk much, but when he does, oh the cheesy lines. They made me cringe a lot :)) Probably because it's insta-love. But well, it's a YA afterall...

But in conclusion, I really enjoyed reading Origin and if you want to try another good sci-fi YA book that involves some fun times in Amazon (heheh), you might want to read it. It's a nice mix of romance, sci-fi, adventure, fantasy, and legend all in one book. And the science-fantasy side is not boring! (At least, for a social student like me... So that must be a good thing, yeah?)

“Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”

About the Author:
Pretty! :)

Jessica Khoury is of Syrian and Scottish descent, and was born and raised in Toccoa, Georgia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. Origin is her first novel. She still lives in Toccoa with her husband Ben, where she writes and coaches youth soccer.


Check out Origin's book trailer here.

By the way, Jessica also has a book titled Vitro coming out in 2014.
Here's the summary from Goodreads:

"On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings--the Vitros--have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.
Sophie Crue is determined to visit Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.
In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach."

PS: The cover of her books ARE gorgeous, right? I totally love both!
PSS: While reading, you might want to google some things. But don't google the titan beetle! Just don't. lol.

Until next review! :)


  1. Wonderful review, Tirta! I actually met this author at a signing a few months ago and she was very entertaining, smart, and super nice! Such a great accomplishment for someone so young! Glad to see you enjoyed this. And, yes the covers are lovely! :)

    1. Lucky you, Rachel! I would like to meet so many authors but sadly I live far away...

      Thank you for reading & commenting! :-)

  2. Hai Tirta! salam kenal! ^^ this book sounds amazingg.. beli dimanaa? :D nice review btw ^^

    1. Hi Kezia! Thank youuu, ini baca ebook hehe :)


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