By Jessica Khoury
Available 4 Sept 2012
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
This Blonde’s Review:
Pia is not your typical teenager. She has never met anyone under 30 years old. She has never left the laboratory compound where she was born. And she will live forever.
Pia was engineered to be immortal. Through careful selection and a secret process used through several generations she was born perfect. Her skin can’t be broken, her senses are sharper, and she’s incredibly intelligent. She works hard to gain the respect of the scientists around her and to become one of them. They all know she’ll live forever and work towards the goal of creating more immortals. Pia doesn’t know the secret to the process yet, but she will as soon as she passes the final test.
The story starts with her as the smart girl who does everything that is asked of her. There are things that she sees as normal since she doesn’t know better that throw up serious red flags for us, but we can’t expect her to have our experience. She is very curious about the world outside of the compound, so when a new scientist comes in she isn’t sure what to think. She doesn’t want to like her, but she casually talks about the outside world as though it’s a marvelous place Pia should want to know. When given the chance to explore she finds more than she bargained for in the form of Eio.
I enjoyed watching them get to know each other. I loved that Eio didn’t push Pia to do anything she didn’t want to do and didn’t try to force her to see things his way. He simply cared about her and made sure she knew she was welcome to come back any time. The people in the compound were such a great mix. We don’t want them all to seem great, awful, or forgettable but the author gives us a great mix of both. There are certain people that I had an instant dislike to and others that I liked right away. When it gets down to Pia’s final test and we see what they have to go through to be accepted we can’t help but wonder if anyone of them are worth liking. Despite the small environment and small number of people around her, the author did a great job of giving that mix of characters to explain how Pia could be so sheltered yet have so many normal thoughts and emotions.
When I got this one I wasn’t sure that I was in the right reading mood for it but I actually really enjoyed it. The concept was strange since there was never any conversation or thoughts on why they’d want to create a race of immortals. I also couldn’t see why they were so insistent that Pia not be allowed to know even the basics about the world beyond the compound, except to make her desire to go outside the gate more understandably thrilling for her. I did like Pia, despite her sheltered upbringing, and I liked Eio. An important first step is having characters we can like. But how can they be together if Pia will live forever and Eio can die?
If a story about an immortal girl learning what it means to live and what the price of her immortality really is sounds like a story you’d want to read, then you’ll want to get ahold of Origin in September.