Hardcover, 480 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Walker Childrens
Source: ARC from publisher via Netgalley
Source: ARC from publisher via Netgalley
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.
This was a hard one for me to rate. I think it's because I'm not a gamer, and the only game that even remotely interests me is Mario Cart. I mean, the book is completely about gaming, but the whole end of the world is set in motion through the program of this game called Pandora's Box. I imagine that a lot of gamers feel, when they're in the game, that what they do really will change the course of history (in the game at least). But I've never really had that thrill. Believe me, I can get competitive with Mario Cart. I have to really pull myself back when I play with kids that I babysit. But I think that's why I didn't enjoy this as much. The idea is really interesting, but the most I know of being a character in a game is a yellow and green turtle named Yoshi. That being said, the monsters in the game were really cool. I don't know the full Pandora myth, so I have no idea if these monsters were even in the myth, but I know they were definitely in Greek mythology. It created an interesting contrast between the real world, the gaming world, and then the Greek mythology world. Talk about complicated! And I think that Deebs really created the right balance there.
The love triangle was interesting. I pretty much called it from the beginning (it's pretty obvious if you've read as much YA as I have), but I enjoyed watching it unfold. Pandora is trying desperately to focus on winning the game. But when she has a run-in with a bunch of government agencies at her house, she starts to lose hope. Luckily, Theo (a brooding, moody, preppy-dressed guy, which was very confusing) and his stepbrother Eli (who's Theo's opposite in every way) come up with a plan and break Pandora out. They have to go on the road because this involves Pandora more than she could have guessed when her computer told her to click on the present for her birthday. On the road, she has to learn to trust both boys, and eventually they both show their true colors. I was totally team Theo the whole time. You know, that whole brooding thing but you know you have to break through that exterior and it's totally worth it when you do. Honestly, Eli kind of bored me. He had some good lines and he was much snarkier than Theo, but I had Theo the entire time.
This book is pretty much just non-stop action. There were very few dull moments, mostly because they were being chased by federal agents of all kinds and they had to complete tasks in certain amounts of time. Although the gaming went a little over my head, I did love how Deebs organized it with things from the game and the real world getting them closer to saving the world. I wish the mother had made more of an appearance, even it was only at the end. Her and Pandora had a very strained relationship, and it was never resolved. Not even close. I also would have liked a reunion with her best friend. They went through a lot before Eli, Theo, and her went on the road, and I wanted to see them hug or something. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, since it's a standalone, that I wanted more closure than I was given in the end. The romance ended the way I wanted it to, and at first that satisfied me. But once I let it sit for a couple days, I realized that I needed a little more at the end to really bring the story together. Still, a very enjoyable read!
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