Saturday, March 16, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

"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 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 expectations. 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 the truth about Pia’s origin – a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever."

I was really not expecting how good this turned out to be. I was kind of braced for a tepid, was I wrong. It was intense, and basically built in intensity throughout the course of the book. The writing was pretty spot-on, and had some very dramatic--and/or slightly graphic or emotional--scenes that may not be for the faint of heart. The whole setting of the compound and the rainforest was really visually thought-provoking, if you could say it like that. I liked that since the whole book took place in one area, you got a really in-depth and multi-layered vision of the setting. As for the characters, those were very well-developed too. Pia starts out with a somewhat self-important ideal, but it never comes across as too much; it's just the fact that she's been told so by the scientists. She slowly shows that she has a much bigger personality than the one that's been bred into her. There was good character development of most of the important characters throughout the book also. Finally, can I mention that I started this book almost at noon today and finished it roughly 6 hours later? It started easily, but the level of drama and heart-stopping intensity was kind of exponential. The plot was complicated, enough to keep me curious. I liked it a lot, though it definitely had some disturbing elements like mentioned above. Just added to the intensity. Because of them, though, I'd peg this at a book for anyone mid-high school and up. It's at Kettleson (or will be once I turn it in). Go, I tell you. Go forth!

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