Author: Tracy Deebs
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children's
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Pages: 470 (ARC)
Beat the game. Save the world.
Pandora’s just your average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father, her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.
I went into this book expecting to love it, and that I most definitely did, but the overall plot that I read was completely different than the plot that I thought I would read. I was under the impression that this novel would more or less take place in the video game, and while it did, it also took place in the real world with insane action sequences and running from the law while fighting to save the world and discover oneself.
Pandora really follows her namesake. See a shiny box, don't know whether to open it, open it anyway only to release mass destruction. I did enjoy the irony of it all. And I also enjoyed Pandora's characterization. It was nice to have a young adult heroine different from all the rest. She wasn't dainty, she wasn't whiny, she took what was thrown at her and made something of it. Almost six feet tall with purple streaks in her choppy pixie cut, I like how she can stand out among the rest not only because she's kickass, but because she is unique and didn't fit in to the young adult female main character mold. She has problems with both her parents, yes, and while this book unfortunately falls under the cliche of the parents never being around for both Pandora and her neighbors (which I will get to in a minute), her story is really interesting. Her father left when she was young and is forcing her to relive her childhood with him through the video game Pandora's Box when he shut down the entire Internet and threatened world annihilation. Her mom is such a workaholic that she can't even remember her birthday. However, the lack of parents really helped Pandora grow up and if she wasn't so grown up, we wouldn't have been delivered the story that we were given.
Then there's the neighbors...Theo and Eli. They're step-brothers really. Polar opposites, too. Theo is Harvard bound--a tall, muscular dark haired boy that's closed off to the world, slightly awkward around girls, broody, and insanely intelligent. Eli is the golden boy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He's a flirt, he can't resist a pretty girl, and he tends to come through at the oddest of times--like jimmying a lock like that one time at summer camp. They hate each other, but they work well together, and watching the two of them connect was really interesting.
Clearly, there is a slight love triangle with this one. And, yes, it's all over the place. First Theo then Eli then Theo then Eli. They're both so different and Pandora simply cannot decide. It doesn't help when they both get jealous of each other while on the run either. Normally, something like this would be very unejoyable for me. But the overall question of who she would pick fascinated me and fit into the overarching mystery of the story about why Pandora's father did what he did. I enjoyed it greatly.
Three teenage "fugitives" on the run to discover the truth behind the worldwide electronic black out. Two hot guys and an amazing heroine, one action-packed plot full of mystery and intrigue, and an amazing writer full of infinite creativity combine to make one amazing story centering around one video game altered by a mad man. They must beat the game to save the world.