Steph Sinclair's Reviews > Origin

Origin by Jessica Khoury
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There are a lot of things I expected from Origin. Mystery, a jungle backdrop and even a bit of romance. But, wow. I did not expect to be grabbing the edge of my seat, turning page after page in anticipation. However, this novel is not for the faint of heart due to a few shocking scenes. But carefully placed gentler moments are woven in with the call of the jungle. Between the bitter-sweet blossom of first love and the nail-biting storyline, I was robbed of precious sleep... I was captivated.

The Characters: 

Pia, our main character, is immortal. She was created and raised by a group of scientist with the intent to create a new human race at any cost. Nothing can pierce her skin. She has heightened hearing, sight, smell and speed. At first glance it may seem like she's just going to turn out to be your run of the mill Mary Sue, but Pia has her weakness, normal strength and endurance along with her stubbornness that at times really frustrated me, but I enjoyed seeing her grow. She lives a very sheltered life because she has never left Little Cam and she is curious about the outside world. Unfortunately, the scientist never allow her to know anything about the world. She's never seen a map, TV, Internet, heard music, etc. She's been told that all those things are a distraction from her destiny: To create even more immortals like her for the betterment of the human race. And for a time she believes them until one day an opportunity presents itself, she explores the jungle and meets Eio, who makes her completely question everything she has been taught.

Speaking of Eio, when we are first introduced to him he immediately reminded me of someone. Remember Mimi-Siku, A.K.A. "Cat Piss", from Jungle 2 Jungle?



Eio, the love interest, jungle boy, half Ai'oan. He's honest and kind. And unlike Pia, he sees the danger of Little Cam and urges her to abandon the facility. Even when she resists over and over, determined to remain there, he doesn't abandon her. He shows her things she's never seen, things that don't fit into her perceived perfect, scientific ideals. And while he does make a statement early on that could be seen as misogynistic (telling Pia she needed a big strong man to walk her through the jungle), to me it felt more like him trying to make a good impression and be chivalrous. He's from a culture that is virtually cut off from modern society (Little Cambridge excluded), so the intention of the statement never felt insulting. I could always tell he truly cared about her. Every time Eio spoke to Pia, I could hear Mimi's voice in my head. I could just picture his raw, honest facial expressions behind every sentence. They were so simple, but so much emotion was packed into it.
"I will climb that fence, if you ask it of me, and I will bring you out."

Romance: 

This was an interesting reading journey for me because Origin technically has a big thing that I usually hate in books: Insta-love. I can only remember one other book where it didn't bother me and that was Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tayler, which I LOVED. Books like these really affirm my belief that there isn't necessarily anything *wrong* with a story that features fast building love as long as the relationship is believable to the reader. For me it was. Even though the book does take place in perhaps a little over a week, it felt much longer than that. Pia and Eio meet in a very unique circumstance so it's hard to compare their courtship to, say, Patch and Nora of Hush, Hush. -_- Because unlike other YA couples, I felt that Eio and Pia really loved each other.

I think a big part of me believing in the romance was due to Khoury's prose. The scenes between Pia and Eio were delicately crafted and I'm a sucker for pretty prose. It wasn't the dreaded purple prose. It was simple and its subtlety in the heat of the moment had me feeling some kinda way.
I think of my eternal people. Of brothers and sisters and friends who will never die. An immortal family, untouched by pain and death, knowing only life and love and beauty. I try to imagine it, try to see their faces in my mind... but all I see is a blue-eyed boy sitting by the river, giving me the stars.

It was like watching Mimi-Siku giving Karen the pot. *wipes tear*

World building:

The beginning of Origin definitely sets the tone for the rest of the book and if the first scene bothers you, chances are this book will not be for you. There are a few animal testing scenes where animals are harmed. But the general tone of the MC and book was that this was frowned upon so it wasn't endorsed. But since Pia lives in that kind of environment where the scientist are looking for immortality, it makes sense that they would have animal test subjects. Pia hated that they ran those tests on animals and never wanted to be apart of it. Nevertheless, it is there and it is disturbing.

I love when I can tell that an author has done their homework and Khoury did just that. The Amazonian rainforest is well-developed and vivid. You can see the detail used especially when plants and insects are described. At one point I had to google one of the insects mention, the titan beetle (don't click the link if you are squeamish), and then I was like:


*shudders* I'll never look at a beetle the same way again.


 By the end of Origin I realized something about myself. I often complain and complain about how standalones are almost non-existent in YA Land, but this time I actually found myself wishing it was a series. The jungle was done with me, but I wasn't done with the jungle. So if you are looking for a Sci-Fi type mystery, I'd say give Origin a try. It just might surprise you.

ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you, Razorbill!

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
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Reading Progress

08/06/2012
30.0% "Not bad so far. The animal cruelty bothered me a bit, but scientist experimenting on animals is nothing new, I suppose. Love interest feels like MC can't walk around in the jungle by herself because she is a girl? Uh... what? She has a JAGUAR! O.o"
08/07/2012
60.0% "Oh, I love Eio." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Keertana I'm eager to see what you think of this one Stephanie! I'm planning to start this one soon, so I hope it's good! So far, the reviews have been rather mixed, so I'm a tad bit apprehensive...hopefully it'll live up to some of the more positive hype! :)


Steph Sinclair Keertana wrote: "I'm eager to see what you think of this one Stephanie! I'm planning to start this one soon, so I hope it's good! So far, the reviews have been rather mixed, so I'm a tad bit apprehensive...hopefull..."

Yeah, I hope so too! It seems like my kind of book.


Anastasia [I'm Wonderstruck...] My friend knows the author, so I've heard a lot about this one. I have also seen rave reviews on it. Can't wait for your opinion!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Reading it now and it's not going so well for me. How are you faring?


Steph Sinclair Kara wrote: "Reading it now and it's not going so well for me. How are you faring?"

I'm still in the very beginning. I've been reading Revealing Eden, but I'll probably take a break from that and pick this back up today.

What issues are you having?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm bored. The dialogue is really unnatural in places. And the 2 scenes (so far) of animal testing haven't helped. And then there is the misogyny from the love interest. Have a blast. ;)


Steph Sinclair Kara wrote: "I'm bored. The dialogue is really unnatural in places. And the 2 scenes (so far) of animal testing haven't helped. And then there is the misogyny from the love interest. Have a blast. ;)"

Oh my. That does not sound good at all! I'm past the first testing with the bird and that really bothered me. :(


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, there's another scene. Not as violent but still disturbing.


message 9: by Missy (new) - added it

Missy LaRae Sounds interesting. I <3 books that have animals who are somewhat human characteristics in them.


message 10: by Brandi (new)

Brandi Me, too! Can't wait to read your review, Stephanie.


Giselle Yay!!


message 12: by Steph (last edited Aug 12, 2012 07:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Steph Sinclair I'm the outcast with this one, it seems. I really enjoyed Origin!

It feels like that time where I loved Wither and Fever and everyone else hated it. LOL.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stephanie wrote: "I'm the outcast with this one, it seems. I really enjoyed Origin!

It feels like that time where I loved Wither and Fever and everyone else hated it. LOL."


i feel this, i'm scared to even bring up wither in conversation for fear of my fellow book lover spitting fire at me. maybe i'll end up liking this one too then shiftyeyes.gif


message 14: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Stephanie wrote: "I'm the outcast with this one, it seems. I really enjoyed Origin!

It feels like that time where I loved Wither and Fever and everyone else hated it. LOL."


I thought it was really well-written and nicely paced! I just didn't like the themes & shiz. Could def. see why you liked it, Stephanie! :)


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Gosh, you made some really great points. I had not thought about the fact that he was cut off from the rest of the world and so his misogynistic comment was truly what he believed because he had not gotten the chance to experience other viewpoints. Never thought about it that way. This is WHY I LOVE you. :)


Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Kara wrote: "Gosh, you made some really great points. I had not thought about the fact that he was cut off from the rest of the world and so his misogynistic comment was truly what he believed because he had no..."

That did actually occur to me. What bothered me more, though, was Pia's acceptance of it. She's been raised to know that she's able to protect herself and has a ridiculously high opinion of herself. I would expect her either out of pride or from her education to set him straight. Instead she's like 'ZOMG, HE THINKS I'M A GIRL! SURE, PROTECT ME, STUDLY!' *facepalm*


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I kinda disagree, Christina. She was raised in a lab and never was privy to outside influences either. I don't think anyone ever told her that men couldn't try to protect her. She knows she can take care of herself, yes, but I'm not sure she knew someone else trying to protect her was not acceptable.


message 18: by Steph (last edited Aug 12, 2012 04:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Steph Sinclair @Sarah, hahaha! That's the feeling!

@Phoebe, I just read your review. I can totally see where you are coming from. To me it felt like since that group of scientists were apparently shunned from the rest of the scientific community because of their methods, the overall message wasn't that scientific curiosity was bad. It was just the means of which they chose to go about doing so that led to their downfall. Especially when Pia was repeatedly told *their* research was frowned upon by their peers. At least, that's how it came across to me.

But you brought up a great point about the stalling at the end. He could have just told her!

@Kara, what really convinced me that it wasn't derogatory, but that he was just showing off was the fact that she was traveling the jungle with a jaguar. Lol. I'm pretty sure she would have been fine with her jungle guardian! I was sad he pretty much disappeared in the second half of the novel.

@Christina, I thought she just accepted it because she thought he was cute. There are plenty of other times in the novel where she mentions she doesn't need his assistance, but agrees to it because she liked having him around. And I don't remember anyone teaching her how to protect herself. Maybe I missed that? Why would she ever need to when she was immortal and never to leave Little Cam?


message 19: by Missy (new) - added it

Missy LaRae Awesome, definitely adding to my TBR pile.


Steph Sinclair Missy wrote: "Awesome, definitely adding to my TBR pile."

:D I hope you like it!


message 21: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie Stout Okay, I'm really glad you liked this one. I'd read some negative reviews and was afraid it wasn't any good (which would suck since I was really looking forward to reading it!). So whew! Glad someone I trust enjoyed it :)


Eva Rose I LOVED this book, its one of fav's for 2012. A wonderful debut to be honest, I want to see what else Khoury will write.


Selena Yukino (The Lioness: hear me roar) It was an amazing book for me! But, that link for the Titan Beetle...


Steph Sinclair Hehehe.


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