Review: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

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|Hardcover| 480 pages|Published March 12th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books| This Edition Published March 28th 2013 by Harper Collins UK, Childrens|
I was given a copy of this book by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.

Since Phillip K. Dick asked “Do Androids dream of electric sheep” the idea that machines could possess humanity has captivated readers and movie goers for decades. One of the most enduring concepts in Sci-fi is whether the machine can evolve past its original programming and become something “more”. The most famous of all is Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Viewers fondly watched for years as he sought to “outgrow” his programming and become like his creators, to feel compassion, a Pinocchio for the 24th century. Battlestar Galactica gave us Cylons who didn’t just look human, they felt human, and they bled, cried and loved. Debra Driza attempted to do the same with Mila 2.0 and I’m happy to say she succeeded.

Mila is a 16 year old girl who’s just moved to Minnesota with her mother after a heartbreaking tragedy. The death of her father. She’s sweet, intelligent, and socially awkward at times, struggling to cope with her grief whilst relating to a new circle of friends and dealing with the tense and fraught dynamics that accompany teenage girls. There’s the inevitable intro of the handsome new guy at school who she connects with much to the chagrin of her new friends Kaylee and Parker. At times Driza hints that perhaps all is not quite normal with Mila, she’s fast, stronger at times than she realises and can hear remarkably well. It isn’t until an incident incited by her new friend’s jealousy which puts Mila’s life in danger that it’s revealed that she is not simply a teenage girl…she’s an Android.

M(obile)I(ntel)L(ifelike)A(ndroid) to be exact.

Her “mom” is her creator and the dad she’s pining for? He is simply a memory implanted in her brain.

Up until this point things are quite steady, not majorly exciting but my interest was piqued enough to keep going. When Mila discovers her true origins, the pace really picks up and I was hooked.
It was interesting to me how I really felt for Mila, I could empathise with her “pain” as she struggled to come to terms with the fact that instead of blood and veins she had wires, the heart that pulsed under her skin was simply a pump and her emotions – electronic impulses processed through one of her many software programs. Strangely I never once whilst reading really computed (see what I did there) the fact that she wasn’t human. Her longing for the boy she had a crush on, the shock and betrayal she experienced from her mom’s deception all felt “real” to me.

I forgot “what” she was and focused on “who” she was, loyal, loving and fearless.

I enjoyed the action scenes. I confess usually during fights and car chases in books I tend to skim but Driza does a great job of really enabling the reader to visualise the action and it gave me the sense I was watching a movie at times, rooting for Mila and her mom to escape the bad guys.

I was never bored reading this novel; it was hard to believe that it was almost 500 pages because at no time did the pace slow down. I found it really interesting when we learned more about Mila’s origins and how unique she was in defying her initial programming in small ways, her humour, and her snark despite not actually being unique in her make up.
The last part of the book was emotional with one scene really tugging at my heartstrings. The introduction of a fairly pivotal character towards the end intrigued me and I’m dying to know if the hints (At least they were hints to me!) that this character is related to Mila’s past or someone in it will pan out in the future books.
The ending was very sweet but strangely abrupt. I confess I thought I had a faulty copy for a minute and was looking for an extra page. I was expecting more but I guess since it’s a series, there will be; and I for one am very much looking forward to it!

Mila 2.0 is compelling, fast paced, action packed and filled with heart, emotion and above all humanity.

Rating: ★★★★

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11 thoughts on “Review: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

  1. Awww, great review! I love seeing positive reviews for this book, because I am so hopeful that it will be amazing. It’s on my TBR list for April and I can’t wait to get to it. 😀

    • Thanks! Yeah I read a few that said it was a bit boring but I really enjoyed it! Good mix of action and for once a YA book not strangled by the romance. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Great review! This was one of my favorites of 2013. I liked your status update about thinking the boys were going to be related, I had the same thought! I mean they still could be… I have to agree with you on the ending. That was my only problem with the book, it seemed like the last chapter was cut short. I can’t be too mad though because it is the first book in a series.

    Katie

  3. I read this one a few weeks ago and was blown away! So far this this recurring theme this year with andriods and it’s gotten (already) kinda boring and similar but Mila 2.0 just stood out in front of all the rest!
    great review

    Lily @ lilysbookblog

  4. I’ve seen this around on netgalley but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to request it. If it’s still there I might, you make it sound good! 😀
    Great Review! 🙂

  5. I’ve seen so many people praise this book for it’s humanity, which is truly something considering it’s about an android! I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this one; it’s moving up my list faster and faster!

  6. Pingback: Weekly Haul #7 | What Danielle Did Next

  7. LOL that you thought the last page was missing, it did end abruptly. I’m not sure about Hunter at all, can’t wait for book 2 to see what happens. Great review, I had a very similar reaction to the book.

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