It's been years since she had any contact with him, so despite her mother's warnings that he's bad news, curiosity wins out and Pandora clicks on the link … in the process unleashing a computer virus that shuts down the global power grid.
Events quickly spiral out of control. There's no internet, no electricity, no mobile phones, no traffic lights, no banking, no emergency response services; everything that requires power to function is disabled. With one exception. Pandora's Box, a virtual-reality game created by Pandora's father, remains up and running, and it soon becomes clear that if the world is to be saved from complete destruction, Pandora needs to play the game … and win.
Fortunately, Pandora's new neighbours — stepbrothers Theo and Eli — are willing to help. Pandora doesn't know much about them, but they're clearly smart and well prepared, and right now she needs all the help she can get. As they race from town to town across America, desperately trying to unravel the clues and move up through the levels of the game, Pandora is forced to confront her feelings for her father and revise her childhood memories. Is he simply the heartless monster he appears or could his actions have another purer motive?
I am not a gamer but after reading Doomed I might be tempted! The plot moves seamlessly between the virtual world and the real-world quest, keeping up a relentless pace that drags the reader breathlessly along in its wake. Theo and Eli are almost too good to be true, but their general gorgeous perfection is forgivable given the challenges they need to overcome! Environmental concerns are once again well to the fore, as seems to be the case with so much YA fiction these days (and I reckon that's a good thing), but the gaming twist sets this story apart and ensures a memorable, action-filled adventure.
Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $12.99 RRP
Publication Date: January 2014
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Fiction