Sixteen year-old Mila Daily and her mother have recently moved to a small Minnesota town following the death of her father. After surviving an accident that should have proved fatal, Mila is forced to confront a difficult truth. She isn’t a normal girl. She isn’t, in fact, even human.
This was the December pick for my monthly book club and overall, I enjoyed it. It’s well paced with an engaging heroine who behaves with all the impulsiveness of any teenage girl. I loved the descriptions of Mila’s “bonus features” which point out both the positives and the negatives of having something like Terminator-vision. The action sequences were well-written and easily to follow, which is a lot harder than it sounds. The most interesting scenes take place when Mila is talking with Three, her counterpart.
I finished this book in about a day, and it kept my attention the entire time. I wish I could rate it higher, but at the same time there were a few glaring problems that kept me from truly submerging myself in this fictional world. MILA 2.0 sometimes feels like an alphabet soup of common YA tropes. I picked up strong hints of Divergence with Mila’s constant internal (whining) monologue. The author, Debra Driza, has a habit of ending every chapter on a cliff-hanger, which is one of the reasons I eventually stopped reading The Maze Runner books. I also found some of the characters to be a little implausible. Hunter, as the generically perfect romantic interest, is introduced and then almost immediately left behind. The military general was unnecessarily evil. I get that the military does shady things for shady reasons but at least there are reasons. Whereas this guy seemed to be a dick just for the sake of being a dick. The bond between Mila and her mother is awkward. One minute, it’s a normal mother-daughter relationship with typical angsty rebellion. Then it’s wild anger and betrayal, followed way too quickly by forgiveness and undying loyalty. Also the character of Lucas was obviously a plot device; from the moment he showed up it was painfully obvious exactly what role he was there to fulfill.
I wish that the science part of the science fiction had been given a larger voice. We discover pretty early on that Mila isn’t human. Let’s talk about that! This novel had the wonderful opportunity to explore the essence of humanity and to question the existence of a soul. Instead, too much of the book is given over to lengthy chase scenes and internal monologuing.
With all that, I still did enjoy the book. It was a fun and uncomplicated read. I will probably pick up the other books in the series at some point.
My rating: 3/5
Happy Holidays everyone!