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.Vitro by Jessica Khoury
Published by Razorbill on January 14th 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller, YA
Source: Penguin Canada
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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.
3 Hot Espressos