Hardcover: 384 pages
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Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
On Skin Island, even the laws of creation can be broken.
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. 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.
Do you want to know a secret? I loved this book a little more than Origin and I’m also a little ashame that I don’t really remember what went on in Origin other than the fact the characters were stuck in a jungle setting. I do remember a jaguar. Anyways, while Origin felt slow paced for me Jessica Khoury doesn’t waste any time with Vitro. The beginning picks up almost instantly with the action and the momentum continues throughout the novel. As soon as you know that Sophie walks in to look for someone who can get her to Skin Island you know that safe is not a word that would describe what she is about to find herself in. In fact, safe is not what I would describe this book. Skin Island reminds me of the urban legends that surrounds the Bermuda Triangle. It’s creepy and I felt chills when they actually do land on the island, not in perfect condition, but they are at least alive. Throughout this book I keep wondering if they are going to make it. They meet a mysterious boy name Nicholas and while Jim tells Sophie not to trust in the guy, she does. She follows him because he promised her that he’d lead her to her mother.
Sophie was strong and independent. Even though she learns that she’s one of them, that doesn’t deter her from anything. Lux is what Sophie could’ve been. She’s weak and clearly a damsel in distress…only she’s not a damsel in distress because she could fight. She was programmed to fight, but I liked how Sophie tells her that she doesn’t have to obey orders just as Jim does. And in the end that’s what made her strong as well. She turns away from the directions she’s been given in order to protect those that matter to her. Now there are other Vitros on the island, but more identified as psychopaths because they didn’t work out. Nicholas is one of those psychopaths because he doesn’t seem to care about what happens to anyone. He knows he wants to get out of the god forsaken island and will take down whoever necessary. He reminds me a bit of Warner from the Shatter Me series because he does become slightly obsessed with Sophie. He knows everything about her because he had access to her files and watched her grow up. But, while Warner was ever the bad boy romantic trying to redeem himself you know that Nicholas doesn’t care for Sophie that way. You want to trust Nicholas, but there’s something suspicious about him from the moment he says he’ll take Sophie to her mother. There’s no romance in this book…albeit a little, but it was more of the question should we obey just because we fall in love (imprint) with the first person we see?
I did like Jim’s and Sophie’s relationship even though they haven’t seen each other in years. Although Jim is reluctant about taking her to Skin Island, he does anything for Sophie. He worries about her when she doesn’t come back even though Sophie says he could leave. The ending about their relationship is left open ended. I’m not sure how I sit about this book on being open ending because you can’t help, but feel that there might be a 2nd novel from the way it’s ended. Oh and I loved the duo POV (or I guess 3 POVs since we get to see the inside of what is Lux thinking), but I don’t know how to feel about reading Lux’s POVs. Sometimes they felt unnecessary, but it made seeing things from her interesting and to know that she’s not robotic-like as we first see her interact with Jim. Lux is a paradox of herself. She is strong and weak at the same time.
Vitro was suspenseful and dark. There’s a bit of romance – a subtle one, but overall the kind that didn’t seem to take over the whole mystery of the novel, which made it perfect.