Origin by Jessica Khoury

Origin (Corpus, #1)
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.


Alright, Origin was a little lengthy, but believe me, you are going to relish every page and want more!

Pia is a loveable character, with her innate kindness and ability to care for others. She is also determined and strong, willing to sacrifice herself to protect her loved ones.

Eio bears a striking resemblance to his father, who was a good and brave man in his own right. Khoury's description of Eio is somewhere along the lines of hot jungle boy with sharp nose and blue eyes due to his mixed parentage.

I greatly enjoyed the myth and legend of the immortals, as told by the Kapukiri or wise man of the Ai'oa tribe, somehow I feel fascinated by folklore that is often painted in romantic colours and sometimes hard to be rationalized.

At the core of the story, I think Khoury wanted to highlight that sometimes humans can do unspeakable acts of evil in the name of science and humanity. The idea and realization of it hit at the very core of the reader's being.

Khoury did a fantastic job in creating a superb Amazonian setting with the sounds, smells and feel of the jungle. I also loved how her words flow like a never-ending river, smooth and inviting. The plot and pacing were notably good, and I loved how Khoury peppered the story with so many twists and turns.

Lastly, I just wanna say, this book's a keeper, and you will savour every page of it.

Rating   5

Monster by C. J. Skuse

At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

Set in a boarding school called Bathory which emanates old-school charm, this book is a pleasant surprise with a tinge of romance and mostly suspense/horror towards the ending. The setting and plot were quite realistic and I had no trouble imagining the scenes in my head. 

I loved how Nash was still so responsible and level-headed even when her brother had been missing for days on a trip and probably dead someone halfway around the globe. However, I loved that she had fire inside her too, which she only let go when she couldn't contain it anymore. 

The first 100 pages or so went to world-building, not much action except the occasional fights and mini-Wiki of the Beast. I think it should be slightly trimmed, cos it does get boring if nothing happens after the first 50 pages. The real action starts when Nash discovers that the Beast of Bathory was hunting them when the girls were trapped alone inside the building with limited food supplies and they had to prepare themselves for what is to come. 

The Beast was rumored to have killed several villagers and livestock throughout its reign in Bathory, but the true identity of the killer caught me by surprise. My mouth tasted acrid as I feared for my favourite characters' survival. My only complaint for this book is that the introduction of the Beast during Nash's very first sighting of it seemed a little comical - I had hoped that it would be scary or somewhat bone-chilling. 

Overall, it did give me some chills, especially towards the end of the book. I devoured this book in one sitting, and it was indeed tremendously enjoyable. Add this book to your shelf if you enjoy YA, suspense and horror! 



Enders (Starters, #2)

Enders (Starters #2)
While Hyden (The Old Man's son) was hiding a big secret, I kind of guessed it at the beginning of the novel already. Blame it on reader's instinct that develops after you've read hundreds of books. Haha.

I somehow finished the story, but Enders definitely lacked the oomph that got me hooked on Starters. It's still quite alright, but I can't decide if I actually like it or hate it.

Rating: 3