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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mila 2.0 (Mila 2.0 #1) by Debra Driza

No one suspects what she's made of.

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.

Released: March 12th 2013          Pages: 480
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperTeen)         Source: ARC won through Goodreads first reads giveaway
First Look: ***** All I really needed to hear about this one was "girl android".  Thank you to Goodreads First Reads and Harperteen for sending me a copy.

Setting: *****
Much of this was set in Clearwater, Minnesota, which is indeed a real place.  I've never been there, so I can't nitpick anything about that specific town.  (Trust me--I enjoy nitpicking when it comes to books set in Minnesota.  I live here, so I had way too much fun pointing out Maggie Stiefvater's mistakes in The Wolves of Mercy Falls.)  My brief Google Maps stalking (can you stalk a town?  Is that a thing?) tells me that Clearwater does have the Dairy Queen that the characters went to quite often, so the author seems to know what she's talking about. 

My issue, though, is this and other authors' attitudes towards small towns, in Minnesota and everywhere else.  Everyone always hates living in the small town, and everybody can't wait to leave it when they graduate.  Why do authors have this impression?  I live in a small( 20,000 people small?) town in Minnesota.  And I like it, actually.  I don't have a pressing desire to get out and go to the city.  I don't believe my friends hate living here, either.  It annoys me that every single character hates their small town and wants to leave. 

Characters: *****
I will give the author some points for writing a love interest who is actually likable and decent and isn't either a jerk or a stalker.  He wasn't overly developed, but at least he and Mila had the beginnings of a healthy relationship.  Or as healthy as insta-love can be, anyway.

At the beginning, Mila bothered me.  Why did she hang around with Kaylee, who I absolutely hated?  Kaylee obviously wasn't a good friend, but Mila stuck around her.  I never got much emotion from Mila, and never got a good sense of her personality.  She seemed quiet and maybe a bit shy in the first part of the book, and daring for the rest. 

Kaylee and the others were not realistic at all.  No one says "Mila, that is so uncool."  That is a stereotypical "snotty popular girl" thing to say.  Kaylee was just one big walking stereotype, and I hated it.  It was absolutely ridiculous.  How do stereotypes like these pass for characterization?  Why do people just accept them?

Plot: ***** Again with the stereotypes.  The beginning was so cliché that for awhile I wanted to throw this book across the room.  The first hundred pages or so were maddening.  Quiet girl moves to dinky little Nowheresville, is "friends" with snotty girl, falls in love with the new popular hot guy...this book is hitting on every ingredient to the beginning of a bad paranormal romance.  You could separate this beginning and slap it onto countless other books and there would be absolutely no difference. 

 After the action finally started happening, the book got better and stopped making me angry, for the most part.  While the ending, especially had a lot of action, it all felt over-the-top.  I don't see why all those "trials" were necessary, and to me it didn't really make sense.

Uniqueness: *****The whole girl/robot thing was unique, but I can't forgive its stereotypical beginning. (see above)

Writing: *****
INFODUMP.  This book had one of the most blatantly obvious infodumps I've ever read.  We're going to tell her about her robot-ness through an iPod?  An iPod?  Really?  Was there really no better way to do that?  If I recall correctly, there were several other patches of undisguised infodump (just an FYI: disguised infodump is still infodump, and it's never okay). 
As for the rest of it, I didn't have any opinions about the writing.  It was just...there.  Neither annoying nor anything that particularly wowed me.

Likes: I could really connect with the horseback riding scene at the beginning.

Not-so-great: I wish the author would've delved more into the "What does it mean to be human?" question that the back cover mentions.  Mila hardly thought about it.  She spent more time thinking about why her mom lied to her than whether she was human or not.

Overall: The majority of this book ended up being just okay, for me.  The characters and plot were just "meh" after the first hundred pages or so.  And yet, this book doesn't get three stars, because I can't forgive it for its incredibly maddening stereotypical beginning.  I can't justify giving this book three stars when it started out making me mad.  I don't plan on reading the rest of the series. 

Similar Books: It deals with the I'm-part-machine (or I'm-not-quite-human-maybe) thing kind of like in The House of the Scorpion (okay, he's a clone, but still) and like Incarceron does, to a small extent.  It also reminds me of Unearthly for some reason.
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1 comment:

  1. People have either completely loved or hated this book. I'm one of those readers who gets really bummed out when I don't enjoy the first chapter of a story and after reading the first ch. of Mila 2.0 I'm unsure if I want to continue reading the rest or not. :/


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