Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence. Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do. Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life. Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel. Hardcover, 480 pages Published March 12th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Three stars: A book with a good premise but a little underwhelming in execution.
Mila closes her eyes desperately attempting to recall the scene of the fire that ultimately killed her father a month before. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot remember what happened that fiery night. A month later, she scrunches down into her father's worn flannel shirt, the last remnant of her former life that she desperately clings to in her new surroundings. Mila has started a new life in a small rural town in Minnesota with her mother. She has made a few friends, and she is trying to be happy. A new boy, Hunter, enrolls at her school and her heart flutters at the prospect of having a boyfriend. Mila's dreams come crashing down after a frightening car accident, when she learns that she is not exactly human, and her fragile world explodes when danger comes stalking in. Can Mila once again escape from the people who created her?
What I Liked:
- I, like many other bloggers, excitedly clamored to get a copy of Mila 2.0 when I read the premise about a human girl who is really an android. Even though the book wasn't as riveting and exciting as I was hoping, it wasn't a flop, either. This ended up being a solid read that I enjoyed despite a few flaws. It is packed full of action that kept me entertained. Ms. Driza does an excellent job creating exciting chase scenes and frightening tests that Mila must undergo or die. Once the action hits, it is pretty much non stop until the end. If you like dramatic chase scenes and riveting survival scenarios, you will enjoy this one.
- Mila was a difficult character for me to connect with at first as she is a moody, brooding teenager, who allows herself to be pushed around by her so called friend Kaylee as she tries to acclimate to her new life after her father's death. Then it is revealed that she is really an android in hiding, but her dramatic behavior continues. I did not enjoy all her melodramatic tantrums. Then about a third of the way in, the book, thankfully, takes a big turn and Mila's attitude drastically improves once she realizes she is in a fight for her life. She becomes determined and strong, and I actually found myself rooting for her, and sympathetic toward her plight. Her android abilities start kicking in, and I really enjoyed all the sci fi, high tech stuff that she was able to do. By the end, she undergoes a complete metamorphosis, and I found that I really liked her.
- This book presents a complex question of what it means to be human. Mila is an android, but she is capable of thought and feeling and she has appropriate human emotions. She appears to be a normal teenage girl, who wants to have friends and experience her first kiss. Just because she is a machine, does that stamp out her ability to express and experience human emotions? What does it mean to be human? Time and time again, Mila wrestles with this very troublesome question. By the end of the book, even I didn't have a concrete answer. I liked that Ms. Driza makes you reconsider your notions of what constitutes being human. I am very interested to see how Mila will continue to grow and change as she learns to come to terms with being an android.
- After reading the description, I was fully expecting a dramatic cliffhanger, but, believe it or not, this book doesn't end with a jaw dropping cliffhanger. Instead there is a thrilling climax and then a somewhat satisfying conclusion as Mila escapes and beings to plot her next moves. It does leave a whole slew of unanswered questions, but it is not a cliffhanger. I was relieved that it didn't resort to a ridiculous cliffhanger.
- This is Ms. Driza's debut book, and though it wasn't mind blowing and amazing, it proved to be a solid and entertaining read. I can honestly say that her writing is pleasing and she shows real talent. I will certainly be watching to see what she does in the future.
And The Not So Much:
- I did not like the romance at all. It felt forced and out of place. Mila meets the new boy, Hunter, at school and they have a brief encounter. Basically, they have an awkward lunch where neither says much, but somehow they come to an understanding and then they are exchanging phone numbers and it progresses into what I consider insta love. Now I remember what it feels like to be a teenager and the romance is very much in line with how quickly a teenage romance develops, but it occurred much too quickly for my taste. Mila continually pines for Hunter throughout the book, even though their time together was brief, and Hunter is absent for the remainder of the book. The romance felt like it was an afterthought. Personally, I don't see how a romance is going to even be possible with a human and an android, it is a bit unrealistic. I was fully expecting Hunter to be left behind in the dust, but that isn't the case, and I thought Hunter's behavior at the end was ridiculous and unbelievable.
- Aside from Mila, none of the characters really felt developed to me. You have Mila's mother, who obviously is hiding some big secrets, but you you never learn what drives her. Hunter, is this mystery boy who shows up at school and all you know is that he is quiet and used to live in San Diego. Seriously, this boy has no depth what so ever. The villain is not particularly scary and you don't get a full picture of his motives, either. Lucas, a teenage MTI student appears to be sympathetic to Mila, but once again so little is known about him and what his true intentions are, and at the end I wondered if I will ever know more about him. The only other character that I liked was Three. Her android emotions and such were more in line with what I expect from an android.
- While the story has an interesting premise, it lacks detail. There are so many unanswered questions by the end of this book and I felt like I didn't really get anywhere. Mila was supposedly created for military purposes, but what did they intend to do with her? How did they make the androids and why were they so human? Mila was worried about the scientists using human parts to make the androids, but there was no indication that they used real humans. What was the deal with the emerald that Mila's mother wore all the time? Why was Lucas being blackmailed? Who was the mole? Now I understand that this is a planned trilogy and, of course, unresolved questions are expected, but I felt like I didn't discover any truths by the end of the story and that was definitely a disappointment.
Mila 2.0 ended up being a book that was a highly buzzed but didn't fully deliver. It has an entertaining story line with lots of adrenaline fueled chases and action scenes, but there is little else in the plot. It has a promising premise that ends up falling flat due to lack of development and resolution. This is not a bad read at all, but I felt it just didn't live up to the hype. Ms. Driza does show that she is indeed talented, and I would like to try another one of her books in the future.
"A place where, according to Kaylee, the sole listing under Yelp's Arts and Entertainment section was Mount 'em Taxidermy."
"One of the first things I'd learned in Clearwater: no one ever looks good with truck hair."
"But when I looked at my arms, my hands, my legs, I no longer saw the limbs of a normal teenager. All I pictured was a human-shaped container. A machine, built for holding sequences of raw data."
"There was more, so much more....but how did you tell someone he, and he alone, made you feel human?"
"I'd been so focused on the horror of being less than human that I hadn't stopped to appreciate the humanlike qualities I did possess."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.