I’m so sorry for disappearing for such a long time! Some things came up, and I kinda needed a break from blogging anyway. And unfortunately, I’m SUPER busy in May, so posting will probably be pretty irregular until summer.
But anyway, to make up for all of that, I’m doing a super special double review! I did a lot of reading over my break- and, coincidentally, two of the books I read most recently were about cyborgs. So I’m going to be reviewing them together. Enjoy! The reviews are both totally spoiler free, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the book(s) yet.
Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.
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.
Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.
Mila 2.0 was a quick read, despite its length. I finished it in about a day, and although it wasn’t really the sort of book that sits in my head for days and makes me wish for more, I did enjoy it.
On the good side, this book is totally action packed. I really do enjoy a good thriller on occasion, and Mila 2.0 was definitely satisfying. There was always tension and a question or two left unanswered- it was one of those un-put-downable books.
I also found the characters to be pretty interesting. They weren’t amazing or anything, but most of them had their own hopes, dreams, and motivations. Mila’s worries about her android side were very realistic and not brushed over. And the fight scenes were very well written- I can’t speak for how realistic they were, but they kept me at the edge of my seat and interested in seeing what would happen next, without being overly graphic.
The book had a very good balance of Mila’s internal thoughts and worries balanced with super intense fight scenes and car chases. It was well paced, and I almost never felt like things were moving too quickly or too slowly.
But I said “almost” for a reason. The beginning of this book was admittedly not very interesting. At all. Mila was very whiny and angsty. It was all for a good reason, yet I didn’t feel like I understood her or her backstory enough to really care.
And, as the cherry on top, the first several characters had a very irritating cast. Mila’s mom was the stereotypical absent parent that pops up a lot in YA, and her friends were totally irritating. I didn’t really see and form of friendship between Mila and Kaylee, yet Mila insisted that Kaylee helped her and was a good friend. And then all of that supposed friendship when- guess what- a boy entered the scene.
Now, I don’t have anything against romance (when it’s well done), but I absolutely hate it when authors neglect friendship in lieu of romance. Which is exactly what happened in Mila 2.0.
Also, I didn’t really understand what was going on with the romance. The book leads you to believe that Mila and Hunter (the boy who she and Kaylee fight over) are going to get together in the first couple of chapters, but then Hunter is totally forgotten about for the rest of the book and another possible love interest is introduced later on.
And, finally, there was no real ending or closure. I’m going to avoid any spoilers, but it felt like a lead in to the next book in the series, not its own self contained story.
Recommended for: fans of thrillers and faster books with an interesting plot (even if characters are sometimes neglected), people who are in a reading slump and what to get out of it.
Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island’s workers-soulless clones like Elysia-are immune to.
At first, Elysia’s life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island’s flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care-so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia’s mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happiness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, Beta is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a corrupted world. Praise for Beta: “A terrific premise that is equally well executed…Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff.”–Los Angles Times
Beta was an interesting book. I’ve wanted to read it for a while now, and I was really looking forward to it. But unfortunately, it didn’t really satisfy my high hopes.
On the positive side, the worldbuilding was very well done. Although the central setting of the book- a private island resort for wealthy elites- was absolutely boring, the world overall was really interesting and I never really felt like I didn’t know enough to understand what was going on. Cohn knows how to build up a futuristic world without confusing readers, that much can be said for her. The setting was lush and intricate and very well explained.
The plot also had a lot of potential to include some really fabulous commentary on artificial intelligence, classism, free will, and protecting the earth.
And that’s about where the good points come to an end.
This book had a lot of potential, as I just mentioned. But it did not follow through. At all.
The downside to having an emotionless android as your narrator- in first person point of view, may I add- is rather obvious, I would think. Elysia is boring. She’s one of the dullest protagonists I’ve ever read about, and the rest of the characters were all cardboard caricatures as well. I didn’t care about anyone in this story. They were all so one dimensional.
And that potential political commentary I mentioned? Hahaha nope. It’s brought up a couple of times, but never really developed.
The book is really slow, too. On one hand, we get a lot of detail- but on the other hand, we don’t really figure out what the plot is until the book is almost over.
And the instalove. Oh, god, the instalove.
Elysia falls in love with a similarly cardboard boy. It doesn’t work out and, five pages, maybe ten before the book ends, she meets another guy and decides that he’s, like, her second choice. What?!
But all this aside, the book was remarkably problematic. It emphasized the themes of free will, and then threw all that out the window with an ending in which the main character is forced to stay with a boy she doesn’t love and carry an unwanted pregnancy, even though it threatens her health. Oh, and did I mention that she’s only seventeen years old?
So, yeah. Good plot that’s ruined by flat characters and a blatantly pro-life ending (even after tons of discussion about the importance of making your own choices).
Recommended for: people who want to learn more about world building. That’s it. Read it for the intriguing world and don’t expect interesting characters or a well done plot.