I saw Origin by Jessica Khoury on an endcap at Barnes and Noble as I was on the hunt for another book and was drawn in by the cover. Upon reading the blurb I decided I needed to read this book. Just enough science fiction in it to make it entertaining without stretching it too far. A good light read.
Pia, our 17 year old main character, is the result of five generations of careful selective breeding. In 1902 scientific explorers found an area of the Amazon rain forest that held rumors of immortal warriors and cures for every disease known to man. What they found instead was Elysia flowers which collect a nectar so powerful that even a sip will kill you unless it is mixed with the Catalyst. Experiments with rats lead to the making of an immortal rat named Roosevelt and that was when they switched to human trials.
Fast forward five generations and you are left with Pia, the only immortal human in existence. As the subject of Project Immortis, Pia is subjected to various tests. No needle can prick her skin and while she still feels pain she never bleeds. Trapped in Little Cambridge, a scientific camp surrounded by an electrified fence, Pia is completely isolated from the outside world. Pia can name the genus and species of any bug, plant or animal, but she doesn't even know where she lives. Pia is a curious teen but isn't allowed outside of Little Cam, not even in to the surrounding forest.
One day a tree falls outside the fence creating a small hole that Pia and her pet jaguar Alai can crawl through in to the rain forest. While scared of the outside she starts to explore eventually running in to Eio Farwalker, a local village boy. They are the same age but have been raised extremely differently. And of course a romance develops, even though Eio isn't her perfect man. A point that is brought up frequently is that Pia is 'perfect' and that before 'the Accident' thirty years ago there was to be an immortal man born to be her perfect man.
I really liked this book. This is one of the few books where not only is it acceptable for a character to be a bit of a Mary Sue, it was an integral part of the plot. Origin had enough science fiction/fantasy to it to be entertaining without getting too technical for the science part. While it did have fantasy aspects, like the Elysia flower, it does seem like something that could happen, at least the genetic experimentation. Over all a pretty good book.
I would rate this book a 4 out of 5.
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson - While these characters are left with a bit more of an extreme appearance, they are the results of genetic experiments. It is for a younger audience, but it is an entertaining read. There are eight books in the series, I have only read the first three.
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong - The main character, 16 year old Maya, is raised in a medical research community by her adoptive parents on a small island. This book leans a bit more towards the paranormal but still has the medical experiment element. The Gathering is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy.