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Review: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

Saturday, February 2, 2013
2 Stars: An Okay Read
Hardback: 480 Pages
Publication: January 8, 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

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.

On her seventeenth birthday, Pandora receives an email from her father, whom she hasn't heard from in ten years. Soon after, the game Pandora's Box unleashes a virus that will systematically destroy electronics across the world in ten days, leading to the end of the world. With the help of Theo and Eli, Pandora must follow the clues her father left for her while evading the homeland security to beat the game and save the world.

Pandora is compassionate, always willing to risk her own life to save others. Theo is a tall, muscular dark-haired boy who is quick on his feet and calm amidst adversities. On the other hand, Eli is blonde, flirtatious, and carefree. In spite of being brothers and working well together while in action, the two guys hate each other; they both also happen to be attracted to Pandora. It might be some girl’s fantasy to have two hot, such different guys in love with her, but with Theo and Eli being polar opposites, this just  just your typical love triangle and was too cliched to be real and believable.

The book is filled with adventure, action, danger, mystery and romance. I did enjoy the premise of the book with its modern setting for Pandora’s box; however, there were sketchy moments that I found hard to believe, including the overly convenient abilities of Theo and Eli and the way the apocalypse unraveled. Some of the descriptions seemed out of place too, like the random descriptions of mundane moments that would repeatedly interrupt the action in the book. I did not need to know when Pandora decided to get food and watch TV, much less how she goes about doing all this. Overall, it was an interesting concept, but I won’t be overly enthusiastic in recommending it.

An ARC was provided by Macmillan for review.

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