Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Razorbill
Format read: ARC via publisher
Synopsis via Publisher:
Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives--and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus's dangerous research.
Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.
Khoury introduces us to Sophie, a girl on a mission. After receiving an alarming message from her scientist mother, Sophie is now on her way to her mother's work base of Skin Island to try and figure out what's going on. However, once she arrives, Sophie quickly learns that there are hidden dangers around every corner, and Corpus scientists may have given life to elements that cannot be contained.
Like Origin, Khoury builds a world that immediately draws the reader in from page one. Sophie's desperate attempts to reunite with her absent mother will immediately make readers empathize with her, especially as she goes to extraordinary lengths to reach Skin Island.
Once there, Khoury expertly weaves cliffhangers, insurmountable dangers and horrifying discovers that will not only keep readers riveted, but horrified as Sophie discovers the lengths that Corpus scientists have succumbed to, in order to create cutting-edge science. I was fairly riveted from beginning to end, and couldn't stop reading.
However, Khoury's writing is entertaining, there are two issues with Vitro that more or less contributed to my decision to sit on my review. Like Origin, Khoury seems to present an anti-science bias throughout Vitro. There's always an underlying emphasis on the idea that it's science, rather than the individual scientist which allows antagonists to indulge in their worst instincts and create some of the dangerous experiments on the island. As someone with a strong appreciation for science, this didn't sit particularly well with me.
Second, similar to Origin, there is also insta-love in Vitro. Without giving spoilers away, characters seem to fall in the love at the drop of a hat. While it's plausible given the situation, it doesn't necessarily make for interesting characters. I spent a lot of time thinking, "Well. They're probably not going to stay together," while reading.
But even with these two issues, it's hard to deny that Vitro remains a highly enjoyable book. Khoury has a gift for spinning yarns that pull readers in, and completely immerse them in a world full of danger, intrigue and discoveries at every turn.
I recommend this book for fans of Minders, Mila 2.0, Elusion and The Well's End.
About the author:
Jessica Khoury wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she's dreamed of being an author.
When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and traveling the world in search of stories and inspiration.
Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of Origin, Vitro, and forthcoming Kalahari.