Review: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Title: Doomed
Author: Tracy Deebs/Tracy Wolffe
Genre: young-adult, sci fi, postapocalytpic
Series: N/A
Pages: 484 (Nook ARC edition)
Published: expected January 8 2013
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 3.75/5

 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.

Doomed is a lot of fun, that can't be denied. More gory and horrific than I had assumed before starting, I was immediately caught up in the story that Deebs spins so easily. I had a great time reading this when I reminded myself not to think too much or to analyze everything that was said and done by its main characters. I was nearly always entertained for nearly five hundred pages; I was deeply invested in the lives of the characters and the odd mix of the plot......but, there were numerous issues with Doomed that keep it from a higher rating. Nevertheless, I am glad I read this, for all that it could use some tightening and editing. At it's best, this is a fun, creative and light read.

With the first person POV used, it's easy to get into main character and narrator Pandora Walker's jumbled, hormone-filled head. With Doomed being an unlikely mix of modern Pandora myth retelling with scifi/virtual elements added on (don't worry - it really works!), it's fairly easy to predict her actions before they occur - at least in the opening few chapters. Once the ball gets rolling and Pandora is on the run - with two sexy, though angsty stepbrothers - she really comes into her own. That isn't to say I didn't wish Pandora would grow up often through the novel, but I readily admit that she is a more than serviceable narrator. My main issue with her lies in the unthinking things she repeatedly does when her life and Eli and Theo's lives are in danger. For instance? Blatantly and purposefully leaving behind a gun that LITERALLY just saved the three of them from a raping, pillaging biker gang. In that situation, prudence trumps overwrought moralizing over the use of guns, dear.  Especially in a world about to end due to nuclear holocaust, but you know, whatevs.

Small quibbles aside, this novel has a lot to offer. Yes, there is a love-triangle which made me grit my teeth and roll my eyes, but it is used minimally.  It isn't the most subtle - I could see it coming from the moment the brothers are introduced - but then again, it's not the worse one I've ever read either. More important to the story, and thankfully to Pandora herself, are the attempts to save the world and figure out how a popular video game with a hidden agenda can either save the world or end it. On the run from the FBI, the NSA, and anyone else with a far-reaching grasp, the action is high, and often and executed well. Pandora isn't an unbelievable martial artist, but a girl who uses her wits, as well as her friends, to save her skin. Theo are Eli are good foils to one another. Neither love interest is entirely black or white in their presentation, and while I definitely had a favorite between the two, it wasn't a game of total opposites over who could win a damsel in distress.

This is a really fast read, with quick pacing - especially for how many pages it is. Deeb's skilled hand at fight/actions scenes has a lot to do with that. (Though going from having a character shot, bleeding and nearly unconscious to carrying a 6' tall girl while running is more than a bit of a stretch of imagination.) Both darker and more gruesome than I had anticipated before starting, this novel can be bleak but it's broken up by Pandora's charm and humor (and Supernatural references!), which more than help to keep it from being a taxing read. Deebs paints a vivid, if dark, picture. The end might've lacked the oomph I was hoping for, and provide answers that are just a hair too simplistic, but overall, Doomed is a rewarding, and very involving, read.


  1. This sounds interesting! Great review!

    Kristen @OCA

    1. It is at least interesting to read! I had fun, but had to turn my brain off sometimes, ya know?

  2. Okay, the gun thing would drive me nuts. There are no such things as morals in the middle of an apocalypse. I'm sorry.

    I expected something else from the book based on the blurb and though I had planned to read this one at some point, I think I am going to pass now. I don't think I would like it. It might just be average for me.

    So even though you liked it enough, I am skipping. But thank you for taking one for the team. Great review, Jessie.

    Poo on love triangles.

    1. The blurb sounds like a totally different book. I was surprised, but once I got over that, I could enjoy it for what it was. I do think this one would drive you up a wall Kara - I think you're making the right call with skipping it.

      And yes! They are so overdone and unnecessary! Ugh!


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