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Origin - Jessica Khoury Goodness! This was… Whoa!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Origin was… pretty spectacular!

It is hard to believe now, after I’m done, to think that I wasn’t even planning on reading it anytime soon. In fact I was completely skeptical towards it. I don’t know what it was, really, that made me hesitate. All I know is that after I saw the book trailer I thought: why not? I could give it a try. In fact, damn! It was a good book trailer, alright? It caught my attention and it got me to read the book, and I’m so very glad I did.

So, on to the book now.

Pia is perfect. She’s beautiful beyond belief, she’s incredibly intelligent, her skin is impenetrable, her memory flawless, her senses acute, and her life endless. Pia is immortal. The one and only of her kind. Humanity’s most precious possession. But she’s locked away.

She lives in a compound in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with a group of scientist, hidden away by the thickness of the forest. There, in Little Cam, they run tests after tests. Their goal: create a race of immortals, and Pia is the key to their success.

But they need her to be ready for the day she will run the place. She’s immortal, they are not. She’s the only chance they have of ever creating more like her. The thing is, she’s not ready. They run test after test on her. How good her senses are, how fast she can run, how much she can learn, and how emotionless she can be. Because that’s what they want of her, objectiveness, not an emotion driven creature. They need her to be undistracted.

And she complies. She does all the tests they want of her; she gives them all the answers she knows they want. But inside her head, inside her heart there’s another story.

She might have the intellect, but if you don’t give her something to learn, then it’s a waste. Pia might know every single tree species known by mankind; she may know every single plant in the forest by its scientific name. But that’s all she knows. She never left the compound; she has no knowledge of the outside world. She doesn’t know what cities are, she doesn’t know how big the planet is, she doesn’t know a shred of history. She never watched tv, or listened to music, she doesn't know about internet or cellphones. She knows nothing, and no one besides the scientist that created her, that raised her, and what they allow her to learn.

Pia doesn’t know better, so she complies. They are her family, what they say and do is all she knows. And as far she they tell her, it’s what’s right.

But there’s a war within her. She’s fighting against what she knows as right, and what she feels is so. She’s fighting against her need to go outside and discover the world. No! That’s wrong, you can’t do that! The rational part of her brain screams at her to stop thinking about it, she needs to focus on her dream, on her goal (but is it her goal?), create more immortals so she won’t be alone forever. But the other part of her is pushing, demanding attention and giving her the chance to know the outside world.

So when she sees a hole in the fence she let’s go of her rational side, and goes outside. Just for a little while, just a peek, she tells herself. There’s not much out there other than the forest anyway, or there wasn’t. Not until she runs into a boy.

I liked Pia for so many different reasons. She was strong, and even though she gave in sort of easily sometimes, she was determined, and kindhearted. I understood her, too. She had no one. Wait, she had her “family,” but knowing that at some point everyone you know will die and you will be left alone… well I would have done anything to have someone just like me, someone that could live forever too. But to do that Pia needed to know the secret, the secret behind Little Cam, the secret behind her origin.

How to do it, though? How to find the secrets when everyone around them was so keen on hiding them from her?

She had two choices. Either wait until she was ready, wait until they thought she was ready to know and so they would tell her. Or she could find them herself. A little help won’t hurt either.

Meet Eio. The jungle boy.

Uh, swoon? Hell yeah! Wait, I know ‘jungle boy’ might not sound so swoon worthy, but trust me he is. Oh, he is!

Eio lives in a nearby village called Ai'oa. Drawn by the sound of a jaguar deep into the forest, he follows the sound and runs into Pia. She’s beautiful, and so unlike anything he’s ever seen. You see, the thing is that Eio, in a way, is an outsider in his own village, just like her. He’s different, not the immortal kind of different, but still. He’s a part of the jungle, just as much as the jungle is a part of him. He blends in it, he breathes it. And he knows far more than he lets on.

So one night when he finds this beautiful girl wandering in the forest in a pretty dress, who knows nothing of his world he’s intent on showing it to her. He wants her to know everything she’s missing by living her life in a cage, because whether she sees it or not, that’s how she lives. And so a bond is formed.

I admit I found myself skimming through the pages at the beginning. I was an anxious (and a little impatiently bored) wreck for around seventy pages, until we meet Eio. No need to scold at me, though! I just wanted what the trailer had sold to me, and that was… well, Eio.

So. I was skimming through the pages, and waiting anxiously for Eio to show up. I think it (the bored/anxious part) might have been because of the science terminology and endless experiments. I despise biology, I truly do. It probably has to do with the fact that most my family is somehow involved with it, so I developed a bit of an aversion to it. Anyway. When he came along the story started getting exciting. And not only because he was there, mind you. But because the action was picking up, and yeah, Eio wasn’t on every scene, so no accusing me of anything here!

Boy! There was so much suspense in this book! I really wasn’t expecting that. The suspense and secrecy, the action and romance. It was so good! The last hundred pages were the hardest ever. Honestly, I didn’t expect this book to have me on edge for so long, nor did I expect it to make me gasp so much! It was crazy, and full of surprises!

Now, can we stop on the romance a little longer? I hope you don’t mind. Because… swoon. Eio was so sweet! So very sweet, and he had a way of saying things that just completely melted me. I was a giggling fool sometimes.

But then we have Pia and her need to push him away. She had a dream, a porpoise to fulfill, and she was really blind to what was happening around her. Well, she was seeing it, she just didn’t want to accept it; she didn’t want to believe it. And she knew she couldn’t have both, she would either stay in Little Cam to achieve her dream –whatever that entailed, or she would stay with Eio and the Ai'oans (that’s how people from Eio’s village are called), and discover a new life.

And I loved the fact that, even though she pushed him away –and broke my heart in the process –he never gave up on her. He had promised to protect her, and he would do everything in his power to keep his promise. The moment when he tells her that he would never leave her, that he would climb the electric fence over and over, just to save her if necessary, because he loved her… It melted me!
"Trying to push Eio out of my heart would be like trying to hide a shadow by turning off the light. The harder I resist, the deeper he falls into my heart."

Origin is a very intense book. It has some strong scenes, scenes that were very difficult for me to read. It was frustrating and infuriating sometimes (mainly when the scientist where involved. I was surprised at the anger I felt towards them). It was sweet and heartwarming. It was filled with surprises and turns. It was fascinating.

If you’re anything like me, then I would encourage you to ignore whatever voice in your head that’s telling you not to read this book, because you won’t like it. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it. It will break your heart and make you cry, it will surprise you and make you wish you could read faster. It will have you on edge and wide eyed. Because if you’re anything like me you’ll feel for this characters as they face their fears, as they face the truth, as they fall in love.

Because if you’re anything like me, you won’t let this book pass you by. It is definitely worth a try.

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