Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 3/12/2013
Genres: Science-fiction, Young Adult
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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.
\r\nMila 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.\r\n\r\nNow 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.\r\n\r\nMila 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.
24, Terminator and Pinocchio walk into a bar, meet a pretty young lady, then take her back to their hotel room for some hot, raucous book-making and out pops MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza.
MILA 2.0 is action-packed and thrilling, with a grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-throw-you-around plot that doesn’t give you up to another book. I don’t think those words even do it justice! Let’s just say this is one of those books that was made for my DVR, and I can’t wait to watch the show.
Mila thinks she is just an ordinary girl that was uprooted by her grieving mother from Philadelphia to Clearwater, Minnesota (donchuknow!), with no memory of the blazing fire that took her father’s life. All she knows is the lingering scent on his flannel shirt she refuses to stop wearing, that her mother continues to remain distant, and she isn’t allowed to do anything even remotely dangerous. Like take a horse for a nice afternoon trot. Oh yeah, and she has weird dreams sometimes, too.
Driza spends a lot of time building up MILA 2.0 with the personalities of the characters: Mila is a bit of a wallflower, grieving and just wanting to blend in to her new home. She’s made friends with the cooler kids, but some of them are less accepting of her, while others only like her because she’s someone new in a small town, I suspect (I shall call this the Bella Swan Syndrome! Don’t worry, the books are not even remotely alike, so you are safe, Twihaters). Her mother, Nicole, is distant but always the concerned parent, at least for the first half of the story, scolding Mila for going faster than a walk on the horse, or any number of other things that might get her daughter hurt. She often left me scratching my head, because I wanted to know WHY this was so important. Hunter is the prerequisite “New Boy” in Clearwater, moving into town right after Mila does. He seems to really like her, and he does seem genuine, but I am suspicious of him for a number of reasons.
I enjoyed the parent-child dynamic between Mila and Nicole. It was obvious that there was something “off” (like, I dunno, someone isn’t a real human, perhaps?) but it was also very apparent that Nicole cared very deeply for Mila, as if Mila were her own.
I did not like Kaylee, but I suppose she served her purpose. In fact, I didn’t like her in a good way, she was one of those Mean Girls from high school. Will we get to see more of her, since it’s pretty much her fault that Mila’s and Nicole’s cover gets blown? Oh the intrigue!
Lucas is someone I want to know more about. I get the feeling that Driza is creating a love-triangle somewhere along the way here, maybe in the second book, and I think it could really work with this story, and the dynamic between Hunter, Mila and Lucas. Lucas is also imperfect, physically, and I really enjoyed that he wasn’t a dreamy guy, there to save the day. He felt real.
“I just want to be a real boy!” Well, Pinnochio, Mila just wants to be a real girl. When Mila finds out she isn’t human, but a very sophisticated Android engineered in a secret lab by the government, she focuses solely on the fact that she isn’t a real person. She can’t believe she doesn’t have a heart, or veins, or organs, but still feels emotions like any real person would. Her skin feels like my skin, her eyes look like my eyes. In fact, my only quibble with this book is with her engineering. Nicole asks her if she is sure she wants to cut her hair, because it doesn’t actually grow. Say what?! You mean to tell me that she has fake skin that feels, smells and looks real, eyes that look real, fingernails, and everything else, but they couldn’t engineer hair to grow? Yeah right. Anyway, I digress. Maybe the only thing extraordinary about her (I mean, other than that she’s a sophisticated robot) is her exceptional beauty. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…. She realizes that she feels things and this is what matters. This is what makes us human. Perhaps she’s far more human than some of the human characters in the novel.
Driza did a fabulous job narrating the internal voices and commands that drive Mila throughout the story. Often Mila sees threats and has to use her Android functions, and I think this could have been hard to do in a first-person novel, but MILA 2.0 reads effortlessly.
This is a science-fiction novel, but a lot of the action is saved for the latter half of the novel. MILA 2.0 is filled with fight scenes, sophisticated government ops, and even a car-chase through D.C. (my stomping grounds, ya’ll!). The build-up from “Am I a human or a robot?” to “I am going to kick the ass of every person in this room because I feel things” is OMGEPIC and I can’t wait for the next book.
I scrambled out of reach. “Why? Why even steal me in the first place, if you were never really going to let me live?” I whispered. Just before I turned and bolted for my room.
This ARC was provided to me by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. The quote used here may change with final copy of the book upon publication. If you purchase through the link provided, we do receive a small, monetary compensation that helps fund this blog.