Review: Mila 2.0

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Mila 2.0Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Series: Mila 2.0 #1
Published by Katherine Tegen on March 12, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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.

First Sentence: “Beyond the eastern border of Greenwood Ranch, orange poured across the sky, edging the clouds like flames.”

I’m not going to lie to you: my deep desire for MILA 2.0 was entirely superficial. I mean, can you blame me? Look at that cover! It’s the cover that The Adoration of Jenna Fox was trying to be. As soon as I saw this cover, MILA 2.0 went to the top of my WANT WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS pile. Still, I’d been burned before by books from this pile and was naturally hesitant. Well, lucky me, because MILA 2.0 turned out to be a fast-paced thrill ride.

MILA 2.0 is about a girl who discovers she’s a robot. That premise pretty much can’t fail to make me excited. I really like the way Mila’s abilities are handled in here. Sure, there are things where I wasn’t entirely sure about whether they would be possible, but it wasn’t hard to suspend disbelief. Driza’s not trying to heavy science fiction on her readers, so she gives you just enough information, without ever feeling the need to over-burden you with technical terms or infodumps. Obviously, this might be a disappointment for hardcore science fiction readers, but it was perfect for a person like me, who has a rather tenuous grasp on science.

Driza does a great job with her action scenes. They’re clear and concise, easily distinguishing between commands issued from other people, from Mila’s programming, or from Mila’s own mind. Some of the robotic features could have been confusing, depending on formatting and handling in the text, but they’re really well-integrated, and not used so often as to be annoying. The real focus of the plot is on the action, which is great. I love when a book knows what kind of a book it is and runs with it.

Mila makes such a great character and is one of the best robot/manufactured main characters I’ve read. Most authors feel the need to make the character read as robotic, giving them stilted ways of speaking and limited vocabularies. Driza did not fall into this trap. Mila acts like a completely normal person, which is precisely the point. Since Mila is nigh indistinguishable emotionally from a person, it highlights the question of whether she has humanity. What makes a human human? I’m not going to pretend this is an original theme or even treatment thereof, but it’s well done, and way less preachy than most. Also, Mila is hardcore. She does some things in here that really took me by surprise. Let’s just say she’s willing to get her hands dirty.

The main weakness in MILA 2.0 lies in the more realistic side of the story. The opening where Mila thinks she’s just a regular student moves a bit slowly. Though I did find her dramas with her friend Kaylee very believable and unfortunate, I would have liked to see that element pulled out as something she learned from. On top of that, there’s a new boy in school (of course), who is immediately drawn to Mila (surprise!). They bond way too quickly. While I do understand her obsession with whom throughout the book, since he’s the only real, positive link to her human self, his side of things does not make sense to me.

Though I’m not completely sold on what, admittedly little, romance there is in this first book, I’m looking forward to the developments in the next…I hope. There’s a possible love triangle brewing, and I really hope so, because I’m rooting for Lucas, whether that’s happening or not. I would love to see a romantic hero with a limp because of his club foot. All kinds of people can be hot! Also, he probably wouldn’t feel the need to protect her, since he knows himself and his limitations so well.

MILA 2.0 is out today, so, if you enjoy fast-paced books with a lot of action and science fiction-y goodness, go out and find a copy! Now I just have to wait a full year to find out what happens next. C’est la vie.

Favorite Quote:

“‘No two people ever view the world from exactly the same perspective, understand things the same way, human or not.'”

26 responses to “Review: Mila 2.0”

  1. KM says:

    I got a copy of this one from Edelweiss but haven’t read it yet. I wasn’t all that intrigued by the idea, as I’m not usually into soft sci-fi (isn’t that what you call it, when it’s just a little sci-fi thrown in?), but I’ve heard great things about it…so I thought I’d try it out. I’m still a little unsure, though, but we’ll see! I’ll just have to be in the mood for something like this.

    • Christina says:

      Thank you for reminding me to put my review on Edelweiss. I was totally going to forget.

      Do you prefer harder science fiction? I would not have guessed that. Think of it as an action novel or something like that. If you want adventure and fight scenes, that’s the time to pick this up.

  2. Amy says:

    Yes!! I am hoping that Lucas will come back into the picture too and be a love interest!! I really like him. I think Hunter is obviously working for someone who knows about her being an android. Lol, I love how we are review twins today and we both start by saying that we are essentially cover whores and that’s what made us want the book. And I didn’t even think about the fact that it’s not super scientific, which is good because I would have been so lost! Great review chick!!

    • Christina says:

      He totally should, review twin! Release day reviews are the best! Hunter is totes shady. We really are totally saying the same thing, which is hilarious because I think we usually have really different taste. *highfives*

  3. Heather says:

    This cover is awesome! I want this book so badly! haha

  4. Kelly says:

    I read the prequel short story online, Origins: The Fire, and was surprised by how quickly Mila was able to analyze everything and plan her route of escape. Now that I know she’s part robot, it makes a lot more sense! Lol

    I like the sounds of intense, clear actions scenes, and philosophical/ethical questions that don’t preach, though the love triangle (really!?!) is throwing me off a little.

    • Christina says:

      Ah, I didn’t read the prequel, because I turn my nose up at them. You should have read the blurb for MILA, because it totally gives that away.

      Well, it’s really not a love triangle at this point. There hasn’t been anything between Lucas and Mila. I just want there to be. Also, I want Hunter to be evil.

  5. I totally agree that the romance in was way too fast paced and sudden for my taste but overall I didn’t mind the beginning and I’m seeing that I am definitely a black sheep there. I’ve seen a few people who weren’t fans of the beginning but I thought it helped me care that Mila found out she wasn’t human so I liked it. I’m so happy that you had as much fun reading this as I did. I do hope that the romance gets more fleshed out in the next one.

    • Christina says:

      The beginning wasn’t a huge issue for me either, but I know it will bore other people, so I mentioned it. Also, I didn’t care about her drama with Hunter. I thought the Kaylee stuff was more interesting. It definitely only got more exciting as it went along.

      Yeah, she really does need to improve on the romantic plot line.

  6. First of all, you have a better grasp on science than you think. You are one smart cookie, lady! I remember our Rootless discussion! Second, so glad you enjoyed this one because, ME TOO!

    I really liked Lucas too, I just have to see how the author builds the chemistry because I am not completely buying it at the moment. But…I do like him a lot so I hope we get more of him. For now, I am team Hunter. I could change though.

    This book was so much fun! Glad we both enjoyed it!

    • Christina says:

      Mmmm, cookies. No, I’m not good at science. I know this and accept it.

      Lucas is awesome! Yeah, there’s not chemistry there now, but I totally ship it in advance. Just accept it. Haha. I’m surprised that you would like Hunter.

  7. I’m currently reading Mila 2.0 and so far I totally agree with your review. I almost gave up because of slow start and it looked just like every other ya there but soon there was action and I was hooked. I especially like the part with Mila’s android functions, I liked that in Cinder and Mila 2.0 is even better. And it makes you think about those eternal questions: what makes us human (I always like books who ponder that).
    So far so good, I hope I will like it until the end. 🙂
    Great review!

  8. Renae M. says:

    As a reader who has a lot of problems with action scenes (they bore me to death and then I skim them and miss important details, like the fact that the protagonist’s best friend got stabbed and is now bleeding out—true story).

    Well, yay, I’m glad you liked this! There seems to be a lot of middle of the road opinions, which can’t really inform me one way or the other. Since it IS so action intensive, it’s probably not the book I should rush out and buy immediately, but if I see it at the library I’ll be sure to pick it up.

    • Christina says:

      Hahahaha, I skim some action scenes too, ngl. It’s not my favorite genre, but I don’t read much of it, so I can appreciate the occasional action book.

      This probably won’t be a great one for you, but at this point I basically say that about everything, since that will probably make you love them.

  9. Oh no, there’s no romance? WHAT WILL I DO?!? Just kidding. I can handle that. I’m really excited to read this book and I’m glad you liked it. I’m glad it’s not science fiction heavy because there’s only so much I can handle. I didn’t know there was a next book, either. Thank goodness for reviews that tell me this kind of stuff so I can be ready for it beforehand.

    • Christina says:

      Hahaha, there’s not much, but there are people to hope will be couples, which is good enough for me. Hahaha, you are welcome for all of the info.

  10. Molli Moran says:

    I’m VERY curious to see what happens in the sequel/s. I have to say of the two guys, if something WERE to develop between Mila and Lucas, I wouldn’t say no. Hunter was sweet but very “blah,” for me.

    I LOVED that Mila was such a human characters. It makes you wonder just HOW human she is/if there’s more we’ll learn about her. I read another review where someone quoted a reviewer who said Mila was more human than a lot of other YA characters, and I think that’s it in a nutshell!

    Great review, Christina! You’ve really done a great job with it, and I’m sure if I hadn’t already read this one, your review would convince me!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    • Christina says:

      I’m still holding out hope that Hunter will be evil, even if only one other person picked up on that possibility.

      Ah, that’s pretty sweet. She does have more to her than your garden variety heroine from the Bella Swan School.

  11. Amanda says:

    That is good to know that the author knew that she wanted to write a more action-y book and stuck with it. It’s so disappointing to read a book that goes off in too many different directions and isn’t clearly defined. Although I prefer to watch super action-oriented stories rather than read about them, I have read some great action books. The premise sounds addictive and Mila’s characterization seems to be well-done. I’ll definitely have to keep this book in mind for when the mood strikes me to read an action-oriented book!

    • Christina says:

      I think sometimes authors want to make their book be too many things or feel bad that it isn’t deep enough, but there’s nothing wrong with an unapologetic action novel or romance novel. I generally prefer to watch action-oriented stuff too, like I can’t read shounen manga, but I enjoy the animes.

  12. Kat Balcombe says:

    Who could NOT love that cover? Seriously….

    Although I’m very anti-insta-love I actually didn’t mind it show much, because it doesn’t overshadow the whole book, and yes, that love triangle would be interesting, I’d also be backing Lucas 😉

    The level of science was just right for the majority of people who will read this book, so two thumbs up to Ms. Driza there.

    • Christina says:

      It’s just so well done!

      True. She did at least keep the romance to a minimum, so it’s not like I think back on Mila and immediately think of the instalove.

      No more science than is necessary. I like that.

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