by: Jessica Khoury
Pia has lived her life in a secret compound deep within the Amazon rainforest. She has never ventured outside the electric fence that keeps her protected from the dangers of the jungle outside. She is the culmination of decades of work that has resulted in an immortal being. Her skin is tough as steel, and her intellect is sharp. In a word, perfection. When she discovers a hole in the fence and ventures outside, she is faced with the reality of what the outside is really like, and also the dangers that lie within the fence.
The first 15 pages or so of this book are phenomenal. I was definitely drawn into the action and excited about where the story would take me. Ultimately though, the fabulous premise boiled down to a vehicle for a insta-love romance.
About the time of the first meeting between Pia and Eio, I started to slip off the hook. Their initial meeting was awkward, with very clunky and juvenile dialogue that didn't seem to fit two teens talking together (both around 17 years old). Instead, it felt like much younger children meeting together and talking. Their relationship, of course, gets off to a fast start, with only a few short meetings being enough to completely throw off Pia's determination to become a member of the head team researching Immortis. Pia displays some moments of curiosity, but it seemed implausible that someone as intelligent and scientific as herself wouldn't question more of the world that surrounds her. She takes an awful lot for granted about her existence which just isn't consistent with the way scientists operate.
But, my major gripe with this novel is the age-old battle between scientists and natives. The scientists are cold and calculating, bent only on results and crafting an immortal race. They will do anything to preserve the project. The natives are peaceful people who only want to live in their village unharmed by the scientists that live nearby. It isn't a new concept, and frankly one that I have grown weary of.
The concept was incredible. I loved the Amazon rainforest setting, a few of the supporting characters that had great depth. And much of the writing was smooth and enjoyable to read. I just wish I would have had more depth to the villains and the heroes.