Review: Origin

Origin
Jessica Khoury
Razorbill
2012
978-1595145956

Piya lives in the scientific community called Little Cambridge, hidden away in the Amazon rainforest. She is not like other teenager girls – she is immortal, the first of her kind. Piya dreams of becoming a full-fledged scientist so that she can learn the secret to creating immortals and eventually help to create others like her. At the same time, she yearns to explore the world beyond the glass walls of her bedroom. One night, she spots a hole in the electric fence surrounding the compound, and decides to sneak out and explore the jungle. There, she meets Eio, a member of the Ai’aon tribe that lives in the jungle. As she begins to fall in love with Eio, Piya feels torn between her destiny and her desire for freedom, and she begins to discover that her life in Little Cambridge may not be what it seems.

I found Origin a bit slow to get going. Khoury does an excellent job of describing the jungle and the various plants Piya encounters and these vivid descriptions help immerse the reader in Piya’s world. At the same time, I am someone who gets bored easily with too much description so for me I found the pacing a bit slow. Fortunately, things pick up in the second half of the book as Piya begins to question her world and seeks to find answers about what is really going on in Little Cambridge. I got a little exasperated by all the obstacles she encounters in her quest for truth. It is necessary for the plot, as otherwise there would be no story, but I find sometimes the number of things that stand in the way between the heroine/hero and what they desire just becomes a bit much. Nonetheless, Origin raises a lot of important questions about biological engineering and is still a worthwhile read for sci-fi fans.

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