Origin by Jessica Khoury
Release date: September 4, 2012
Summary: Pia is immortal. She was raised in a scientific compound buried deep in the Amazon jungle. Once Pia passes a sequence of tests, she will be able to work with the scientists who created her—she will be able to help engineer more immortals like her. But the tests become increasingly difficult for Pia because they demand that she put her humanity aside. This is particularly hard, since Pia has been sneaking out of the compound to meet with Eio, a local villager who makes her forget about immortality.
My thoughts: There’s a reason Origin is part of Penguin’s Breathless Reads campaign: the book literally takes your breath away with its heart-pounding storyline. Origin is an adventure: one full of chase scenes, dangerous experiments, and murderous intent. If you’re a fan of fast-paced novels, Origin will be right up your alley. It’s a very difficult book to put down because of its almost tangible suspense. If there’s one thing Jessica Khoury is good at, it’s making readers bite their nails.
Pia, Origin’s protagonist, is a difficult character to connect with because of her arrogance and haughty attitude. I like this choice: it allows for so much growth as the book progresses. Pia never really reaches the point of relatable, but that’s the point: we’re not supposed to fully connect with her; we’re merely supposed to enjoy watching her change over time. I did enjoy reading Pia’s story, and for the type of tale she’s telling, her character works.
Eio, on the other hand, is easy to love. His genuine and unrestrained affection for Pia is too adorable not to fall for.
Something that prevents Origin from being a five-star read is the writing style. Khoury is fond of simple, abrupt sentences, and while this keeps the pace moving, it doesn’t make for a beautiful read. Considering the lush jungle setting, I would have expected more from the writing style. Still, since Origin’s selling point is its addictive story, Khoury’s to-the-point writing is effective.
Pick up a copy of Origin if you haven’t read a thriller in a while. It will remind you why fast-paced books are always fun.
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For those who like: mad scientists, immortality, jungle boys