Review: MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

13 December, 2012 Reviews 18 comments

Review: MILA 2.0 by Debra DrizaMila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 12th March 2013
Pages: 480
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository
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three-stars

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.

I had a very difficult time rating this book. One one hand, I did relatively enjoy it. But on the other hand, it had a few issues that stuck out like an angry throne for the entire duration of the novel. So what does that exactly equate to? A big ol’ pot of “meh” for the most part, but not to the extent that I wouldn’t recommend the book.

When I first heard about MILA 2.0, I was ridiculously excited to get my hands on it. The blurb sounded right up my alley and I expected a lot of action, fight scenes, technology, government conspiracies, etc. And this did happen, which is why I believe it will make a great TV show. BUT, and here’s the kicker, it was the awkward romance – that’s not really much of a romance – that bothered me the most, along with Mila’s internal monologuing that mirrored Tris from Insurgent. *headdesk* Spoiler: That’s not a good thing.

I do want to point out that writing style and plot were serviceable and enjoyable. Mila is introduced as a 16-year-old girl who has no clue she is an android. Instead she believes she is just moving to a new town with her mother after the loss of her father. After an accident that reveals Mila’s truth, she and her mother find themselves on the run from bad guys. Unfortunately, they were later captured and Mila must come to terms with her android self in order for her and her mom to have any chance of survival. Doesn’t that sound awesome? The chase scenes and fight sequences are where Driza truly shines in MILA 2.0. She took her time and gave a fair amount of anticipation and thrill for the reader. However, a novel can’t rely on that alone. So even though I enjoyed this book overall, I have some big complaints.

The Characters:

I felt like the characterization could have really used some work. The only character that I slightly cared about was Mila and that’s pushing it due to her borderline Mary-Sueness. This is not because they were bad characters, it’s just that I didn’t feel a connection to them. There isn’t a lot of time spent with any one character besides the evil General Holland (and obviously, he wasn’t exactly huggable) and another scientist named Lucas (BTW, what are gold-tipped eyelashes??). They all seemed very conveniently placed in the story to help Mila in some way, but in actuality, we know nothing about any of them. Mila’s mom was a scientist. Hunter is a new boy at school. Lucas is a scientist that goes to MIT. General Holland is evil. Kaylee is a mean girl. They were nothing more than pawns on a chessboard. I mean, where is the depth? Why should I care about any of them just because Mila thinks about them? Furthermore, the relationships were very flimsy to me. There was no development between Mila and her mom. Or Mila and Hunter. Or Mila and Kaylee. They were just sort of thrown together and the reader is supposed to accept things for the way they are.

The Love Interest:

Okay, so this is weird for me because I think this is the first time where I actually would have liked there to have been more romance. Not because I wanted romance in the story, but because of the way Hunter’s character was introduced and later left completely left out. The beginning is set up so that you believe there is going to be a heavy romantic storyline included between the new guy at school, Hunter, and Mila. Her best friend, Kaylee, also likes this Hunter guy and they end up fighting over him. Now this makes me angry for two reasons: 1. The introduction of the love interest turns a female character into a complete bitch and female stereotype. 2. Mila turns into a complete pushover and never really attempts to repair the relationship until it’s too late. All that happens in maybe a week or so. The whole thing felt like such a setup.

So by the time Mila goes on the run, she has had a total of three encounters with Hunter (who we know nothing about), including an almost kiss. Yet, she thinks about this guy constantly throughout the entire novel. She thinks about his eyes, his hair, his “lopsided grin.” I mean, the loyalty of their “relationship” made no logical sense to me. But I tried to give the novel the benefit of the doubt. I *think* Driza was trying to symbolize Hunter as a metaphor for a certain freedom Mila desired, to be a human with human feelings that didn’t just mimic real emotions. The problem is that is his role seemed really random.

As I’m reading, I kept thinking that maybe he had a bigger role. Because why would Mila keep bringing him up over and over? I thought it was a bit of poorly used foreshadowing at first. But that wasn’t the case here and it just ended up annoying me every time Mila mentioned him. Mila would be in the midst of an action scene and she’d randomly think of Hunter. I felt like I was being pushed to care about a character with no basis.

Based on the ending there does seem to be more romance in the second book, but again I don’t feel one way or another about Hunter and I’m not sure why he likes Mila or would risk anything for her.

The Ending: 

Predictable. It was about as subtle as a grenade in a bowl of oatmeal. But it does feel like Mila has had a bit of character growth, so I think I may enjoy book two more. And then there is the blurb:

…and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

There was no cliffhanger. None. I’m not sure why it’s advertised as having one. That’s not a bad thing, but I was expecting it and the book kinda just ended very anticlimactic.  Maybe it’s left out of the ARC?

All in all, even though I complained through most of this review about things that probably wouldn’t bother the average reader, I do think MILA 2.0 will be a popular novel. The storyline is good and I do still plan on continuing the series because it feels like it has potential. I was tempted to rate this book 2.5 stars based on just my feelings of “meh” and disappointment, but that feels too low for it since it’s not a bad book. So instead, I’ll say it’s an okay read for when you need a bit of action on a rainy day, but not an absolute must read.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss. Thank you!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
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18 Responses to “Review: MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza”

  1. Erin W

    I’m so glad to read a lower star review for this book. I mean, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of high star ratings here and there, so it’s great to get a different opinion of this book, a book which I have been really looking forward to reading next year, so great review! Sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the book also much. It’s a shame when that happens, but hopefully it works out better for me. *fingers crossed*

  2. cynicalsapphire

    “A pot of meh.” I’ve never given thought to where I would store my quantities of meh. I guess that’s as good a vessel as any.
    OH NO, you just compared Mila to Tris. SPOILER: That is not a good thing.
    I really hate people descriptions in YA. The eyes, the eyelashes. OY. How about you describe his sexy hands, shoulders, penmanship, PERSONALITY for a change, guys? Give the eyes a rest.
    Weird that they would promote a cliffhanger and not put one in. I mean, I don’t care if a book has one or doesn’t for the most part, but why set me up for something when it’s not there?

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      cynicalsapphire Even weirder is that even though Mila focuses on his eyelashes a bunch of times, there was never a romantic interest between those two characters. I’m not sure why she was concentrating so hard on his lashes. o.O
      The Cliffhanger thing… I just don’t get it. Why?

      • cynicalsapphire

        Stephanie Sinclair Well, I guess if I were talking to some dude and he had “golden-tipped” lashes, I would stare too, wondering wtf was up. Is it makeup? Is he an angel? Natural? Am I on drugs? So many possibilities. I mean, I know I’ve stared at guys with really long eyelashes even though I had no interest in them, but that’s pretty rare that their EYELASHES are that interesting.

        • Stephanie Sinclair
          Twitter:

          cynicalsapphire A commenter on my GR review says it happens to her when she is in the sun since she has dark brown lashes. Says mascara fixes this. I have dark brown lashes too and have never experienced it, so I had no clue it existed. But these people weren’t in the sun. They were in a building with no windows. lol.

        • Stephanie Sinclair
          Twitter:

          cynicalsapphire A commenter on my GR review says it happens to her when she is in the sun since she has dark brown lashes. Says mascara fixes this. I have dark brown lashes too and have never experienced it, so I had no clue it existed. But these people weren’t in the sun. They were in a building with no windows. lol.

        • cynicalsapphire

          Stephanie Sinclair I am politely skeptical of this GR person. I have brown lashes as well, though not DARK, and I just don’t feel like that’s a thing. Maybe he had an accident with some peroxide, like he somehow dipped the tips of his eyelashes only in there.

  3. Deb E

    I wonder what happened to version 1.0… or 1.1, or however many trials they had before they got to Mila 2.0… Did that ever get touched on?
    So, writing style and plot “serviceable”… hmmm. I don’t know. I read to fall in love with the characters. So, if the characters aren’t really there, I’m a little iffy on it…

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Deb E Yes, Mila does meet another version of herself and previous versions are mentioned too. You could always hunt down an excerpt to see if the main character’s voice works for you. It’s written in first person and I didn’t mind her, but her monologuing  got irritating from time to time.

  4. AnimeGirlAlex

    Aww, too bad this wasn’t better for you! I don’t know why but I’m very on the fence about it, I don’t know, your review kind of convinced me this isn’t really god me.

  5. Addie R

    Ughh, Mila’s best friend turns into a bitch over a guy? I HATE when that happens. >.< Judging from your review, I’m probably gonna be just as annoyed while reading this as you were. I’ll still give it a try though since the concept sounds so awesome.

  6. Realm of Fiction
    Twitter:

    I am never a fan of female characters changing as soon as a love interest is introduced. This sounds like it falls flat in quite a few crucial areas, so I think it’s wise to lower my expectations before reading it myself. Though I suppose a lack of a cliffhanger is a good thing – I don’t think I can take any more cliffhanger endings. Great review as always, Steph!

  7. readingwishes
    Twitter:

    Sorry to hear you didn’t love Mila and that you were disappointed – I hate when that happens! The premise sounds good and just this week I watched a few of the authors vlog’s which were hilarious and crazy so I’m looking forward to it but will be going in having dropping my expectations just a little. The characterization doesn’t sound too good nor the romance (ashame, I love a good romance in me novels!) and the anticlimactic ending… oh well, I ‘spose I’ll still give it a whirl. Great review, Steph!

  8. majibookshelf

    I am currently reading this book and I have to say I really like Mila.. I mean put yourself in her position.. you thought you were HUMAN when all of a sudden you find out you are a machine… built by the army to become a killing machine.. I can totally understand her monologues.. As for Hunter.. I have to say that I did not enjoy the romance (or whatever that was) in it.. I prefer Lucas (who I just got introduced to this chapter). Kinda sucks there isn’t much romance because while I don’t like an overly romantic book I do like a bit of romance in my sci-fi and dystopian novels.
    great review!
    – Juhina @ <a href=”http://www.majibookshelf.blogspot.com”>Maji Bookshelf</a>

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