Mila 2.0: Unrealistic Premise Undermines Everything

Mila 2.0 is written by Debra Driza. It was published in 2013 by Katherine Tegen.

Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past—that she was built in a 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. Evading her enemies won’t help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life.

I had two main problems with Mila 2.0. The first is that Driza’s writing style, at least at the beginning of the novel, is a style I dislike. It’s overly descriptive; not in a “purple prose” type of way, but in a just “this is useless information” way. Example: Driza has Hunter pick up a “red North Face backpack,” when really all we need to know is that it’s a red backpack. Brand names don’t do nearly as much to describe as people think they do. You don’t need to give readers specific brands unless you’re trying to make some sort of point. Doing it just to establish description is just overkill. Luckily, Driza backs away from this as she gets further into the book.

The second problem I had is the entire premise of the book. I just don’t buy it. I don’t buy Mila and I don’t buy her situation (you don’t go into supposed hiding from the government and then continue to use the same name for the thing you’re hiding. Why Nicole called her Mila and everyone knew her as Mila while they were in hiding, when the project, and thus her name, is Mila, thus making it even easier for her to be found, is beyond me). And I certainly don’t buy whatever it is that Driza is trying to imply about what makes people human. I’m sorry, but what makes someone human is not the fact that they feel emotion. Animals feel emotion, or at least some limited range of it. But they’re not human. Then Mila states further in the book something about pain, “the one thing that had made her more human.” What about those who can’t feel pain? Are they somehow less human because of it? In addition, animals feel pain; it doesn’t make them human and it doesn’t make them “more” human, whatever that means.

Let’s face it, emotion is not what makes us human, and so Mila 2.0’s entire premise crumbles because of it. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Also, love triangles are overdone and I am tired of them. Driza should have kept Hunter on the bus she put him on.

Rating: 2/5

Recommended Age Range: 16+

Warnings: Some really iffy implications about what constitutes a human, swearing, violence.

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

All three of us stared at my arm. And stared. And stared. It was like none of us could believe what we were seeing.

My arm wasn’t bleeding at all. There was a huge, gaping tear in my skin, but no blood. No blood. No blood because instead of blood, a thin film of red had ruptured, allowing some disgusting milky-white liquid to leach form the wound and trickle down my elbow.

And it got worse. Inside the cut, inside me, was this transparent tube with a minuscule jagged fissure shaped like a row of clamped teeth. And inside that? Something that looked like wires. Tiny silver wires, twisted like the double helixes we studied in biology.

Overall Review:

Mila 2.0’s premise is really iffy, and as a result I could not immerse myself in the book. I know science fiction, more often called speculative fiction nowadays, is supposed to be just that, speculative, but I simply cannot get behind the whole “what makes us human is our ability to feel emotions” idea. It seems too problematic, and not at all reflective of actual humanity. Being human is composed of more than just having emotions.

You can buy this here: MILA 2.0

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