Saturday, July 28, 2012

Origin: Languid Loveliness, Subtle Darkness

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Hidden in a secret research facility in the middle of the Amazon rainforest is a girl like no other.  Pia may look like your average 17-year-old, but she's not.  She's smarter, stronger, more indestructible than any person on Earth.  Unlike other humans, Pia is immortal.  Long after her creators die, long after everyone she knows passes on, she will live.  

Even though Pia's surrounded by a team of scientists, two of whom are—technically, anyway—her parents, she can't help feeling lonely.  She's never seen another teenager, let alone talked to one or hung out with one.  And she wants to.  Desperately.  The scientists would scold her for entertaining such human emotions, but she can't help it.  She's been promised that someday soon she will be able to help create a boy, her perfect companion.  Together, they will create a new generation of immortals.  The trouble is, she's not sure she can wait that long.

When an illicit trek into the jungle brings Pia face-to-face with a native boy, 17-year-old Eio Farwalker, she's stunned.  Even more shocking is that she wants to see him again.  And again.  And again.  Contact with the outside world is strictly prohibited—Pia can't even imagine what will happen if she's caught.  As she struggles to deny the allure of Eio and the freedom he enjoys, she takes a hard look at her world.  For the first time, she wonders and questions and doubts the laws of her own existence.  Knowing she can't live in both worlds, Pia must make a terrifying choice—and live with the consequences, deadly though they may be.

Although the premise behind Origin by Jessica Khoury (available September 4, 2012) may not be all that original, it still makes for an exciting novel.  Don't expect an action-packed thriller, though, because the author takes her time building suspense.  This isn't a bad thing.  Not at all.  In fact, her prose has a languid loveliness to it that makes the story's subtle darkness even more affecting.  Although the plot gets predictable, I enjoyed this one—even if it was more for the storytelling than for the actual story.         

(Readalikes:  Although Origin isn't dystopian, it reminds me of books like Matched by Ally Condie and Delirium by Lauren Oliver; also a little of Partials by Dan Wells.)  

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild language (no F-bombs), violence and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a printed ARC as well as an e-ARC (via Netgalley) of Origin from the generous folks at Razorbill (a division of Penguin).  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Nice review! I like books that can pull off a "slow build." They tend to have better worldbuilding. The cover on this book rocks!

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