Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Released: 8th January 2012
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pandora is just like any other teen, hooked to the Internet and spending way too much time on her laptop. Her mum is barely around, more often than not on a business trip somewhere, and she hasn't seen or heard from her dad in years. That is, until her birthday. Opening up her email, she's stunned to find twelve photos of her family from when she was younger that have been sent by her dad. Unable to help herself, she clicks on the photos, never imagining that doing do would release a virus designed to knock out the Internet and electricity all over the world. But the ultimate truth is far harsher, and if she doesn't move fast, not even the Earth itself will survive.
The world created in Doomed is, I feel, very true to what would happen if we really did lose our electricity and Internet. It's amazing just how much we rely on these things today, so much so that it's impossible for us to really imagine what the world was once like, when society lived without them. It's a major flaw of ours - everything is on computer; there is no back-up, no support, nothing physical for us to hold on to. Everything is linked to a power source and for all our love of smartphones, they'd be useless in such a crisis. Deebs very successfully portrays the panic and chaos that would ensue if indeed such a virus was released. It was very interesting to see how people began to went from humanitarian to survivalist. This book is wonderfully fast-paced, packed to the brim with action and tension. I remember at the beginning I was wondering how the author had written this - given that Pandora has to play an online game and follow the photos her father sent her if she wants to stop the worm from fulfilling its ultimate purpose, I wanted to know if more of the story was based inside the game, kind of like Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. Looking back, I really liked the way that the story was structured. I also loved the Greek element that was introduced; this started with Pandora's name and was then developed inside the game.
To begin with I didn't like Pandora. She whined, she freaked out a lot and she refused to face facts. I just wanted her to suck it up and deal. Theo and Eli, the stepbrothers helping her, were coping just fine, so why did she have to lose it so much? Gradually, though, she got stronger. She forced herself to work past the difficulties and the pain and do what needed to be done. There were actually signs of this side of her at the beginning, but they were few and far between; I was glad to see it develop further throughout the book. I did feel for her because of the situation with her parents as well. Her mother was cold and aloof, more concerned with her career than her daughter. Her father's decision to make Pandora implicit in his schemes after years of absence was just galling. Of course like all madmen, he actually believed in what he was doing. The ironic thing was that he actually had a point. He was just going about it in entirely the wrong way. Something he failed to realise. With such failures for parents, I'm willing to give Pandora a little bit of leeway. A little.
When presented with Theo and Eli, I knew immediately who I wanted Pandora to end up with. Stepbrothers, they're completely different from each other. Eli is blonde-haired, green-eyed and charming. Theo has black hair, blue eyes and is of a more broody disposition. Both have their good points, but one was more than just good, he was amazing; needless to say I was delighted when I saw that Pandora was more inclined towards him. It was a love triangle, sadly, but it didn't become dramatic, it just resolved itself quietly. I was glad to see that the romance didn't overtake the plot; instead it took a more subtle presence. Eli and Theo also happen to hate each other with a passion, and it was touching to see them very gradually grow closer together. I did have a couple of questions about their characters, Theo in particular, that I felt weren't really answered. Not anything major, but I felt that certain aspects needed a more satisfying explanation, such as how they were both so willing to help Pandora and how they knew to be so prepared. There was also a certain incident involving Theo and Pandora in their English class at the very beginning that was never recalled, which I felt should have been. But overall, these two were really likeable (one more than likeable).
Doomed was a book that I couldn't put down. It had me swept up in the action, racing through the pages to get to the next place Pandora, Theo and Eli needed to be and to see how they were going to get out of whatever situation it was that they were in. Deebs didn't shy away from the seriousness of the effects on humanity of such a crisis, and the messages I got from this book were very clear. Despite the character flaws, I still enjoyed reading about them and enjoyed the banter between them. If you're even slightly interested in the sound of this, Doomed is a book I can definitely recommend.