Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

When I realised that this was going to be a book about a girl android, I was over the moon. Finally, a decent sci-fi book from a girl’s perspective. For some reason most of the sci-fi books I’ve read are from boy’s perspectives and are Children’s books.

In any case, Mila is an android. Or at least, that’s what she discovered, by accident. After a fire killed her father, she’s started a new life with her mother in a small town in Minnesota. Her relationship with her mother isn’t what it used to be, and the two are a bit distanced, but all in all, she has a fairly normal life. Queue the cute boy, an almost fatal accident that forces her to realise her true identity, and some bad guys chasing after her, and her normal life goes out the window.

The most Mila has ever had to deal with are boy troubles and bitchy so-called friends. Then an attack turns her life upside down and she’s running for her life with her mum. That’s when things get interesting.

Pacing

There are a number of things I liked about this book, but the pacing at the beginning could have done with a bit of improvement. I think it’s quite difficult for anyone to know how long is needed to introduce a character and show their lives before the big CHANGE and introduce that PROBLEM. Whilst I did appreciate getting to know Mila before her life spiralled out of control, I think Driza focused on a number of mundane things that made me get a little bit fed up. But when the conflict occurs, things really get pumping and this is when the bad-assery begins.

Romance

I don’t know whether this counts as spoilery but I will tell you that I was rather dissapointed by the romance in this novel. The character that was introduced as a love interest remained a mystery. He wasn’t a person. He was a stencil. He was the same-old mysterious, brooding outsider type that I’m used to reading about. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him. Or what little I knew about him. But Mila spent half the book yearning for him and it made her seem weak. Surely he shouldn’t have been seen as one of the things that made her more human when what she had with him was more of a crush than a romance. I just felt that Driza should have either taken it a step further with the romance, or should not have even included it.

Plot

There is not a lot I can say about the plot. Driza mentions two organisations that are after Mila. One is a government group (The CIA I think), and the other are alluded to be an illegal organisation. Mila spends a third of the book being an ordinary girl, two thirds being an android and 99% of the time wishing she wasn’t. She goes around running with her mum in the hopes of finding some semblance of safety, and when she is captured, she does all that she can to survive. Sadly, there really isn’t much of a plot beyond simply surviving. There is no great mystery except for the one about Mila 1.0 and yet this doesn’t seem to have much prominence at all.

And yet what I really enjoyed about the book was Mila’s voice. Some readers on Goodreads have complained that Mila was annoying because she wouldn’t accept being an android and she refused to use them even when they could have meant the difference between life and death. Yes, that does seem a bit stupid but in all honesty, I completely understand. Why would you want to be anything but human if it is what you have always firmly believed? Mila’s reaction, though at times a disappointment, were completely understandable. To me it give her layers. She was such a well though out character and I loved her. I just wish everyone had been given this kind of attention.

Driza does however excel at her action sequences. I was definitley rooting for Mila through all her trials and tribulations. She was a different kind of bad ass. In some ways she is more relatable than bad asses like Tris and Katniss. From the beginning it is clear that she does not want to survive at the risk of losing her humanity. For Katniss, this is a revelation she seems to realsie as she gets closer to Peeta, but for Mila, her humanity is something she doesn’t take for granted. It’s a tenuous argument when her survival hinges on her hiding her emotions, of course.

My Rating: 3 stars

Brilliant voice for the main character, but there lacked a great mystery in the plot and some of the characterisations fell flat.

Either way, I am definitely reading the sequel, so all is not lost. I’m rooting for you Mila. I’m rooting for you, Driza!

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