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Book Review: MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0 #1)

MILA 2.0 Book Review

Rating: 3 stars

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.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t completely sure what to make of it. The pacing was slow, the characters you as the reader were introduced to were annoying, and the storyline didn’t flow together quite as smoothly as you’d expect. As you continue reading, however, the story gets more invigorating, the main character becomes much deeper, and the plot becomes even more intense. It’s as if Debra Driza’s writing became more focused and she knew exactly what direction she wanted to take her readers.

And for me, it worked. The story came together, started making sense and I liked what I was seeing overall. I enjoyed it because while it started off slow, I still found myself wanting to continue reading to find out what happened next. I wanted to see what happened to Mila, how she’d deal with learning the truth about herself and what she’d do next.

I gave this book a chance because my grandmother recommended it to me. And I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. What I enjoyed when reading MILO 2.0 is that it’s unlike any other book I’ve read. What I mean to say is this is the first book I’ve really read that’s focused on a character who isn’t quite human. She’s an android with unusual abilities who questions her humanity and what it means to be human. Yet, has the capacity to feel deep human emotions that makes it much more difficult for her to survive the tasks she encounters throughout the story. And I enjoyed every minute I learned more about her abilities.

What I also enjoyed when reading this book is how Mila’s character questions what it means to be human. She questions everything she’s dealing with in her life and refuses to do anything that’ll make her even less human. I like this aspect of her character because she wants to fight to be alive and free from what’ll happen to her when she’s caught.

MILA 2.0 Book Quote
Via Epic Reads.

I also like that MILO 2.0 is very action packed. As the story continues moving along, it gets even more intense with each page the reader turns. One minute, Mila is enjoying her normal life as a teenage girl. The next, she’s having to flee from those who are trying to catch her. She doesn’t completely understand what she’s running away from, just knows that if she gets caught, her life will get a whole lot worse than it was before.

However, there are a lot of things with this story I don’t completely like. For starters, the first half of the novel like I said before moved at too slow a pace. It was like Driza was struggling to write, figure out where she wanted the direction of this story to go. Everything was a complete mess that desperately needed to be changed. Especially the plot because I have a hard time believing they were found out because of an accident in a car.

Part of what made the first half of the story not as good as the rest were the characters. In particular, the girls Mila had become friends with when she moved to small town Minnesota. They were all just sort of snooty, rude, mean, not the type of people she should’ve been friends with when she moved there. I know part of the reason she was friends with them was because the leader of their group Kaylee welcomed her into the fold since she was new there, but overall, I didn’t see any other valid reasons for her to continue interacting with them, especially when Hunter came into town.

Speaking of which, I hated the instant attraction Driza made Hunter and Mila feel for each other. While I overall like Hunter’s character (what we see of it, I mean), I feel like their romance is completely rushed. They’ve only had a small amount of interactions with each other, yet they’ve almost kissed a couple times and Mila is constantly thinking about him while she’s on the run and when she gets captured. It feels like infatuation instead of love to me and I wish she’d given their interest with each other more room to grow. Or I would’ve been perfectly fine if there was no romance at all throughout the story. I know it’s in there to show that she’s capable of having human emotions, but I do feel like it doesn’t need to be there. And I don’t know, I have a feeling it could be the death of her at some point in the rest of the books to come.

However, I overall enjoyed reading MILA 2.0. Despite its flaws, it was a book unlike any other I’ve read and I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of the books in this trilogy to find out what happens next to Mila. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s willing to push through a book to get to the juice of a story and to people who love young adult science fiction novels that center around a teenage android.

 

Book Review: Armada

Armada Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and video games he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed reading it a whole lot more than I did Ready Player One.

For one, I felt like the plot of Armada was developed a whole lot better. I felt like the whole story made more sense and Ernest Cline didn’t make too many overwhelming science fiction references to the reader. I also could relate to Zack’s character on a more personal level. Like Zack, my father also hasn’t been a part of my life. While some people are fortunate and have both parents in their life, not everyone is quite so lucky and not having that figure around can impact a child’s life. For Zack, it caused him to question the world around him and made him obsessed with video games and the stuff his father left behind. But it also resulted in anger issues that could’ve developed into something more serious if it weren’t for what happened in Armada.

Besides being able to relate to Zack, I also enjoyed reading this book because I felt like the other characters were a little more developed. The reader can see this in the story with Zack’s interactions with the other recruits and the close knit relationship he has with his mother. I also appreciated that the small amount of romance in this novel wasn’t pushed. Whenever I read books with a main focus in one particular genre, I sometimes get fed up when romance is constantly forced into the story whenever it’s not really needed to make the plot move forward. While I do love reading romantic scenes, it’s not always needed. Especially in a novel like this with heavy emphasis on science fiction. So I appreciated that Cline didn’t force Zack and his love interest together and that she was more of a minor character who helped save Zack whenever he needed it.

I really enjoyed reading Armada because the story felt real. I felt like I could imagine everything that was happening to Zack in his world as he tries everything he can to save humanity. He remained focused on what he needed to do, even when things got really tough and lives were lost in the process. I also enjoyed it because I felt like I could relate to Zack’s struggle. Before the events on Armada unfold, Zack always dreamed of being whisked away on an adventure, of something happening that would take him away from his ordinary life. So he lived in his own fantasy world, spending his free time playing video games whenever he could. I often had this type of experience myself too where I wished something extraordinary would happen to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has. In many ways, his struggles in the world are something everyone faces, which makes him even more relatable to anyone picking up this book.

The one issue with Armada I have, however, is the ending. To me, it was very emotional and I was upset at the direction Cline decided to take the story. I knew we were going to get an explanation for why these alien beings were attacking Earth, but I found the reasoning for it to be filled with so many holes that it made me really mad. I didn’t like the way Cline decided to take it because it felt like he killed off characters that I didn’t need to be killed. I was pretty upset because he killed off one of my favorite characters in Armada and it made it difficult for me to be happy with how the story ended. I also just expected there to be a bigger explanation for why everything happened and was disappointed because I didn’t get one.

Despite this one problem though, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was just the right story for me to read and had characters I could easily relate to that I’ll definitely be rereading Armada in the years to come. I look forward to see what other works Ernest Cline will create in the years to come since I enjoyed the two novels he’s written so far.

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