Saturday, April 6, 2013

REVIEW: MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1) - by Debra Driza

Title: Mila 2.0
Series: Mila 2.0, #1
Author: Debra Driza
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My star rating: 4/5


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’m having a really hard time rating this book. Because of all the hype surrounding this debut novel by Debra Driza, and it potentially being made into a tv series, I was excitedly counting down the days to its release. Did it live up to what the blurb promised? No. Do I feel let down? Yes. So for that, I want to give it a three-star rating; but because the action scenes were mindblowingly awesome (think Mission Impossible), I’m settling on a well-deserved four-star rating.

“How was that even possible? How could you have a port for a memory card in your body and not know about it?”

The first issue I had is that Mila 2.0 is being compared to the Bourne Identity books. Apart from the fantastic, adrenaline-inducing action scenes and Mila and her mom going on the run, this book doesn’t come anywhere close to the complexity and finesse of the Bourne books. They’re completely in a league of their own and the author still has a long way to go before the Mila 2.0 series can measure up to the magnificence of the Bourne trilogy. Secondly, whose decision was it to compare it to Pittacus Lore’s I Am Number Four? Come on people, has that person even read I Am Number Four? I read the book and watched the movie and it rocked! But the main character in I Am Number Four did not whine his way through the story. He accepted his circumstances and dealt with it.

“As for “Mom”—well, according to the voice, I was more genetically related to our toaster than I was to her.”

Unlike Mila who is either whining throughout most of the story about the technologically advanced android she is or not being human enough, or – and this is what REALLY peeved me – whining about how much she misses Hunter. Hunter - who she only knew for a few days and with whom she shared an almost-kiss. Honestly, if the second book is going to be about her and Hunter and his smile and his eyes and *gagging* how wonderful he is, then I’m afraid book one will be the end of the series for me. If the author somehow kills off Hunter in the second book, no tears will be shed on my part. Mila can then become the strong female lead she has the potential to be instead of turning into a lovesick, boy-crazy teenager this book is making her out to be. I actually liked android Mila better than emotional, over-think-everything-with-internal-monologue human Mila. 

With that said, let’s move on to what I loved about this book and why I’m settling on a four-star rating. Let’s see. The blurb had me at “secret computer science lab”, and besides anything relating to scientific advancement I’m also a total sucker when it comes to fast-moving action, and Mila 2.0 has truckloads of that – in the second half of the book. If you can make it through the first emo half of the story, the rest of it will blow your mind. Car chases, explosions, fight scenes, military experiments, advanced technology, gadgets…this is where the author shines! I especially enjoyed the three tests Mila had to pass to save her and her mother. That is what kept me riveted until the end. They seriously put her capabilities as an android with emotions to the test.

I couldn’t see what the connection was between her and Hunter though. He seemed really nice and all that, but I simply couldn’t understand why, in the midst of an action scene while she’s running for her life, she would think of him or his eyes or – annoyingly – any of his other physical features she felt attracted to. If his character served as a metaphor for something, it was completely lost on me. I actually liked Kaylee, believe it or not. She had more personality than Hunter. Yes, she’s the stereotypical mean girl but her character assists in advancing the plot. It doesn’t mean she didn’t irritate me when she was being mean or childish, but I didn’t really have any issues with her character either. Lucas…hmmmm. I liked him a lot more than I did Hunter. It was easier to see why Mila would connect with him than why she’s pining after Hunter. I didn’t care for Mila’s mom one way or the other, but I was happy to see their relationship strengthen and how they worked as a team while they were running for their lives. I would’ve liked to know more about Mila’s mother’s scientific background, and also why the necklace had such significance to her, but maybe the author left that storyline open for one of the next books, I hope.

The ending, in my opinion, wasn’t predictable, but it was anticlimactic and it ended abruptly. I can’t say that I’m “breathlessly awaiting the sequel” (which I think is a little presumptuous to add to a blurb), but if book two is loaded with action and has less angst and emotional drama, I’d sure like to read it. Overall, this was a good read and there were a lot of things I enjoyed about it. I won’t highly recommend Mila 2.0, but it’s a worthwhile read and definitely not a waste of time.



Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza has 298 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Debra Driza is a member of the teen lit blogging group the Bookanistas and a former practicing physical therapist, who discovered tormenting her characters was infinitely more enjoyable. These days you can find her at home in California, adding random colors to her hair and wrangling one husband, two kids, and an assortment of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Mila 2.0 is her first novel.


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