Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

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I received this book for free from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Vitro by Jessica KhouryVitro by Jessica Khoury
Series: Origin
Published by Razorbill on January 14th 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller, YA
Source: Penguin Canada
Buy on Amazon

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.

In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

Closer to a 3.5 star.

While I didn’t like this one quite as much as Origin, it was still an exciting read set on an isolated island full of secret experiments and shady operations. Even if you haven’t read Origin, this is not actually a sequel; both are independent of each other. You could even say Vitro is more or less a refitted version of Origin. They both have a similar setting and mirroring scientific conspiracies. And Sophie, after a distressing email from her mother, gets trapped into its web of genetic alterations and unethical experiments.

What I found to be the best part of this novel is the vividly detailed setting. You get fully transported to this island that quickly becomes the heart of the story, and the claustrophobia of being stuck on this tiny piece of sinister land holds your attention throughout. The atmosphere get increasingly darker as the plot races on, twisting itself into a freaky, spine-chilling story. I did suspect most of the twists this book had up its sleeve, but I was still disturbed by the confirmations, and because it’s told through several point-of-views, we’re given a complete view of the happenings on this island which makes it all the more fun to read.

The writing is one that has such an easy flow to it you suddenly realize you flew through the whole thing. The characters is where I wish more time would have been dedicated. I found they were just shells of the type of cast wanted for this book. You have the childhood friend, the girl with abandonment issues, the psychopath who seems to be behind it all, but nothing that really solidifies them. It’s possible the third person narration is to blame, but I never could get a true grasp on the characters. I also found some of it had to be taken with a grain of salt – similarly to action-oriented films. For instance, it only takes a couple of obscure sentences via email for Sophie, a teenager, to fly to an island that seems to not even exist. Plus, a blind mouse could see this was a setup!

All in all, with a rich setting and a twisted, action oriented plot, Vitro is a fast read that can fill up a few hours with entertainment.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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17 Responses to “Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury”

  1. Rashika

    I haven’t read Origin but this one kind of keeps on popping up where ever I go. Scientific experiments gone wrong actually sounds something right up my alley but then again characters are very important to me. I cannot enjoy a book at all if the characters are flat :/
    Great Review Giselle! 🙂

  2. Molli

    I’ve been curious about both of the author’s books, and I haven’t managed to read either one. This one I guess pinged my interest a little more than the first one. It’s awesome this was a fast-paced and entertaining read! Too bad about the characters though.

  3. Bonnie

    Good to know that you don’t have to read Origin to appreciate this one… although I think I’ll still read Origin first. Haven’t heard the best things about that (mostly because of things that are done to animals?) but it’s on my shelf so, someday. I do love this cover!

  4. S.Huston

    Hmmm.. I really hate it when characters aren’t fully developed so now I have some reservations about this book. Maybe I should read Origin instead?

  5. Candace

    I didn’t love Origin, but I did love the setting of it. I’m glad that was the case for this one. I’m not sure that it’s a book for me since I wasn’t the biggest fan of Origin but I’m glad you managed to enjoy it.

  6. Pili

    I haven’t read Origin but I think I need to read it and this one, fast reads are sometimes really welcome and scientific settings are much more to my liking than fluffy contemps!

  7. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I’m sorry the characters weren’t up to par, but when I read Origin I felt the same thing about the characters in there. But I’m happy that the setting was realistic, also the multiple POVs must be great to give the book omniscience and heighten the creepy atmosphere. I really do like when the setting is really well-thought out, though, it almost always adds to my overall enjoyment 🙂

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  8. Greg

    I’ve actually wanted to read this one since I first saw the blurb, and the cover kinda drew me in too. I like the whole isolated island/ dark experiments thing. 🙂 So it’s good to see a review of this… I’ll go into it with lowered expectations on the characters so that’s good to know. Thanks for the review!