Beat the game. Save the world.
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 received this e-arc from the publishers via Netgalley for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.
And now I must make a small apology for the length of this review! I got to thinking about so many things that I had to talk about regarding this book because it really made me think!
Tracy Deebs, author of the fabulous Tempest series (trilogy?) has taken on a new challenge! She wrote a dystopian novel, Doomed, that was freaking awesome! Although I must say, that I like the first cover art best, the one at the top with the green and the characters. The final one--I assume as I write this in October--is just kind of boring. It in now way reflects anything about the book by seeing a finger pressing a power button. True, Pandora presses the power button on her laptop which begins the whole chaotic mess, but still. I much prefer the top cover.
Moving on! This was quite an interesting read. I don't read too many dystopians for their lack of paranormal, but I am getting into some of them here and there. Tracy wrote the fabulous series featuring mermaids, so I thought I would try her dystopian. The fact that is has some loose Greek mythology tweaked in was part of the reason why I took this leap. Many of us know the Pandora myth where the young miss opened a box she told never to open and unleashed horrors and plagues onto the world, yet at the bottom of the box, beneath all the horrors, there was Hope.
And so this is what the book deals with. When Pandora receives an email on her birthday from the father she hasn't heard from in 10 years. And Pandora is mighty curious. She has memories of her father and after reading the email, she clicks the given link and is taken to a blog. A blog about her. Filled with 12 pictures (12 pictures, 12 Greek gods and goddesses...) she clicks on them all. Uploads them and sends them to be printed at Walgreens. When she later goes back to the blog to revisit them, the blog is gone. Completely.
Chaos ensures later that night. Technology starts going down everywhere. It was pretty hard to read, because if this ever happens for real somehow, we are all in trouble, big time! And when the FBI, CIA and a whole bunch of other acronym groups show up at her house, blaming Pandora for the worm that is effectively bringing down society as we know it, she is more scared than ever.
Help soon comes from her new neighbors though Eli and Theo. Two boys she goes to school with who are stepbrothers. They essentially "kidnap" her from the higher ups and they begin a state wide run trying to get away to play the game and save the world. Because that is precisely what the game instructs them to do.
The book really encompasses less than a week of time, but sooooo much happens to the trio on their journey. Playing the game Pandora's father basically created. I originally thought that the book was going to have Pandora and the boys sucked into the game and then they would have to play and win in order to escape and save the world. But really they don't play the game all that much. In fact they have to find clues in the real world, stealing cars so many times I lost count, going from state to state guided by Pandora's pictures as clues and trying to find the pass codes to access the next level.
And like I said, so much happens to the trio the whole time. Society is loosing it. People are raiding and going crazy and killing one another. Stealing things like food and gas from others. It was total chaos. Much as the end times would be. Eli and Theo start out sooo prepared though, but things spiral out of control as they try to protect Pandora.
And sadly, yes there was a bit of a love triangle. But I cannot fault Pandora on this one! Both boys were incredibly awesome and sweet. They both did what they could to make the situation better. The three were incredible together, picking each other up at moments of their downfall. It was awe inspiring!
The character were great! Very complex with many layers. We see them in one way at the beginning, before the chaos starts, but everyone changes the moment the worm hits the internet and things get dicey. Eli and Theo both push aside their differences for each other and work together. Although I couldn't help but feel like we were still missing something about them. There were things eluded at certain points but were never really touched upon again.
Pandora is quite like her Greek persona in the beginning. Too curious for her own good. Personally, if I received an email from my father, who I haven't heard from in over 10 years, I would hit delete without even opening it. Pandora doesn't do this, she dives right in. But once chaos ensues, she is intent on correcting her mistake, her father's mistake. She has help though, which she is more than grateful for. By the end, all the characters have grown so totally that is hard to think of how they were at the beginning. The things that they had to do to survive, literally, was scary. Yet they never lost sight of their goal. Never lost sight of their own humanity. Faith was questioned no doubt, but still, all three of them persevered.
The ending was nice but kind of disappointing. There is the sense or urgency, which is obvious since there is only 10 days to save the world and the trio must still survive in the real world as it crumbles around them. And in this video game, you only get one life. If you die, you're out. For good.
But moving onto the ending, this book is standalone so things will be wrapped up, yet there were still so many loose ends at the end. Just like with well what ever happened to Pandora's mom? She is mentioned in the first chapter, Pandora speaks to her, but we never get to see or hear from her again. Which yeah, technology is gone, so Pandora can't reach her. But there are just a lot of little things that I don't want to get into for spoiler reasons, but you can get the idea right? A lot of little things are left unanswered. Mainly, like what's next? The world begins again, naturally.
But overall the story building was fabulous! If a bit scary, I don't like apocalyptic stories or movies at all. And knowing that the book would be like this I still went into it. But it was scary, because this could be reality at some point. Hopefully not, we don't need a madman setting a worm into the internet and shutting down all technology and ending mankind. But still, stranger things can happen I suppose. It was still a very intriguing read! I liked the mythological parts that were woven in, mostly just when Pandora was playing the game. And how Hope does seem to be the center theme at the end.
Who knows, maybe Tracy will write a followup sequel. Not totally likely, but maybe novella or short story format. I would like to know how some of those little loose ends were wrapped up for Pandora, Theo and Eli. I would so read that if she did!
Overall this was an amazing read! Totally makes you think in more ways than one. It was highly enjoyable and if you're looking for the heart pounding read where each chapter leaves you breathless with anticipation, than Doomed is the read for you! This book was thrilling!
Overall rating 4.5/5 stars
Doomed releases January 8, 2013