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Bibliophilic Monologues

MILA 2.0

MILA 2.0 - Another emerging trend in North American YA lit is the exploration of the boundaries of humanity. In other words, an investigation of what it means to be human. There has been an influx of books containing protagonists who discover themselves to be clones, cyborgs and, in Mila 2.0, an android. All of them question the meaning of being human. All of them wonder what quality it is about a person that makes them human. This debate is probably a reflection of the contemporary times, a discussion that has been given context by the cloning and other experiments that are being carried out currently.I cannot honestly say that Mila 2.0 started off great for me. I didn’t like the main character and I didn’t understand why she would continue to try to be friends with a girl who goes so far as to try to kill her so she can remove her as a rival for a boy’s attention. (I don’t think any normal girl would go that far.) The first half of the novel is too melodramatic, the insta-attraction I don’t mind because I think there is more to that guy than the readers have been made aware of but it concerns me that once again, a boy is shown for a few moments, makes some kind gestures and is immediately seen as the love of the protagonist’s life. However, I do sense that the author is setting things up and it wouldn’t surprise me if the dude turned out to be the rat bastard who sells Mila out. But I guess we’ll see.The novel picks up for when Mila finds out that she is an android. Driza is especially skilled at writing Mila’s anguish at finding herself a human sized computer. Her horror at the slots and plugs in her body is well expressed as is her sense of betrayal at her parent. The action scenes are well done and I can see this being a great movie. The antagonist of the piece, however, is very two dimensional and I wanted to know more about this person. He seems to present such a contradictory figure so it isn’t as though there is no potential for a rich character. It would be great to see him developed further as a character in the next installment because right now he is rather flat. The primary dilemma here is one I dare say we will be facing before long: does a machine deserve to be treated like a human being? The entire novel hinges on that question. Even as the reader is busy feeling offended, angry on Mila’s behalf, there is a niggling feeling, a voice that chimes in: this is not a person, she is a machine, a machine that can think, breathe, talk, laugh and love but still, just a machine. It is deeply unsettling and an issue that, I think, would benefit from more discourse.The novel ends on a promising note. And though the first half of the novel is a 2, the second half is a four. I am definitely going to be reading the next one in the series to see how Mila’s life plays out.