Published January 8th, 2013
Beat the game. Save the world.I think this book hasn't received nearly enough exposure. I haven't seen it around many blogs so I was hesitant to pick it up but the premise just sounded too awesome. I'm so glad I went with my gut and bought it anyway! In my mind books like this are the true horror novels. I can deal with mythical creatures and such because they aren't feasible - but something like this is terrifying.
Pandora's an average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring photos of her as a child. Curious, Pandora enters the site, unwittingly unleashing a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there's no Internet. No cell phones. No traffic lights, hospitals or law enforcement. Only Pandora's Box, a virtual-reality game created by Pandora's father, remains up and running. Together with her neighbors, gorgeous stepbrothers Eli and Theo, Pandora must follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father—and rescue the world. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.
Our story follows Pandora, just a normal teenage girl with regular trivial problems. She wakes up on the morning of her birthday, disappointed that her mother hasn't remembered. Her disappointment vanishes in a trace when she receives an email from her father who hasn't contacted her in years. Not thinking much about it, she opens and reads the email, in turn uploading 12 pictures onto the internet - 12 pieces of code that wreak havoc on the world. A huge virus has been unleashed, tearing down the power grids and throwing the world into widespread panic.
It's a race against the clock for Pandora, along with her neighbors Eli and Theo, as they all struggle to crack the code of a huge video game called Pandora's Box. Tension is high throughout most of the book and I barely had a second to catch my breath before the characters were thrust into a life-threatening situation yet again. This book terrified me at times, as do many books on similar subjects. As I said, monsters don't scare me, but something that might actually happen - that gets me shaking like a leaf.
Pandora was a strong character for the most part. She had her flaws, as does any good character, and they slow the trio down at times but never enough to do too much harm. Theo has a dark and foreboding exterior shell that Pandora finds hard to crack, and it isn't until later on you discover why. Eli is always goofing off, rarely serious but always sweet. There was a bit of a love triangle, which usually annoys me. It worked out well in this book, though it took me a while to see who she'd choose.
I knew long before the book was over why this was all happening. It was easy to figure out her father's motives, and the fact that people like him are out there made the book even more realistic. Overall this book took me for a ride, though I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. Even with that thrown in there, this was still an excellent book that will have the gears in my brain turning for a long time to come.