Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mila 2.0

Mila lives with mother in a boring, tiny Minnesota town. She's used to bigger cities and larger populations, but due to her father's death, her mom felt they needed a change of scenery. Mila has gaps in her memory and doesn't remember when her father died or even if she was there when it happened. Needless to say, she is overwhelmed with dealing with her emotions, adapting to her new surroundings, dealing with her overbearing mother, and coping with the death of her father. A car accident that leaves Mila injured uncovers a shocking secret that her mother tried to keep from her: she's actually an android. Now, she and her mother have to run because the government and another mysterious organization are after them. While running from people who want to kidnap her, Mila has to come to grips with her newly discovered state of being and the relationship with her mother that was essentially built on lies.

There have been a few teen series with artificial intelligence as the focus and they seem to be quite similar to each other. I had a set of expectations going into Mila 2.0 because of this, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it didn't follow the typical formula I had become familiar with. The first part of the story establishes Mila as normal teenage girl in a very emotional situation. She keeps to herself and is very shy, but has her own circle of friends. Her social life is thrown into turmoil when Hunter, a mysterious and hot boy, comes to live in the small town. Her friends turn on her when Hunter shows her more interest and this leads to the car accident and revelation of her true nature. I hated her best friend Kaylee, who dropped Mila over a random boy she doesn't even know, but the portrayal is disturbingly accurate. Although I'm usually not a fan of cliche romances, I didn't mind this one. The actual romance is paper thin and based on instalove, but the reason it is there is necessary. It gives Mila something that is only hers, not manufactured by her mother or the people who made her, and it cements her humanity. It's a small portion of the book, but gives her an anchor and something to fight for when she feels despair.

The next portion of the book follows Mila and her mother on the run. Mila finds out what she is and has to process that information. She could have just allowed her anger and despair to consume her, but she pushes through. Not only does she have to rethink her entire self image, but she also has to figure out how to use all her android programming as uncomfortable as that makes her in order to survive. Their journey also makes her differentiate how much of her memories and personality are programmed and how much are hers. The rest of the story is emotional, exciting, heartstopping, and addicting. I love the third act the most because it gives insight into one of the groups out to get her and shows how her humanity and emotions make her a unique hybrid that has the best of both worlds.

Mila 2.0 is a wonderful debut novel. It isn't perfect, but the writing flows well and kept me reading for hours on end. I can't wait for the next book in the series and I would recommend this installment to fans of science fiction and artificial intelligence stories.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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