Review: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

Title: Doomed

Author: Tracy Deebs

Published: Bloomsbury ANZ  January 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from January 25 to 26, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

On the morning of her seventeenth birthday, Pandora Walker receives an email from the father she has neither seen nor heard from in ten years. In it, her father apologises for his absence from her life and provides a link to a blog that he says explains everything. Curious, Pandora clicks the link and unwittingly unleashes a virus that systematically begins to cripple the world’s electronic infrastructure. Now, as the veneer of civilisation begins to collapse, Pandora has just ten days to solve the obscure clues her father has provided her with in a handful of childhood photographs and the virtual reality game Pandora’s Box, if she is to halt the cascade of devastation, before the world is Doomed.

Pandora is the heroine of this fast paced, action packed, young adult thriller, dropped into the midst of a nightmare when her environmentalist father decides to teach the world a lesson. She proves to be strong-willed, resourceful and compassionate, if also often stubborn and prone to the odd freak out or two. I liked her and thought the author created a credible character responding to extraordinary circumstances.

Help with Pandora’s quest comes from the gorgeous, and conveniently useful, Eli and Theo. It is here that Deebs enthusiastically embraces the YA cliche, portraying Eli as the outgoing, blonde charmer and Theo as the silent, tall, dark and handsome brooder. Inevitably they are also pitted against one another as romantic rivals for Pandora’s affection, and there are no prizes for guessing who Pandora falls for.

There are times when Pandora and the brothers are immersed in the game that the line between actual and virtual reality blurs. I’m not sure how I feel about that, it doesn’t seem quite right though it does pull you into the on screen action and the mix of gaming action and geo-caching, as they dodge mythical Greek monsters, panicked citizens and Homeland Security, ensures the pace of the story rarely lags.

The world post electronic Armageddon is a scary place and Deebs captures the chilling reality well, from the seemingly simple loss of traffic control to the meltdown of a nuclear facility, the author’s vision is uncomfortably plausible and there are one or two scenes that graphically illustrate the terrifying possibilities.

I do however have one significant reservation about this novel. At more than three quarters of the way through the novel I was convinced Doomed had to be the first in a duology, possibly even a trilogy, and though it’s not, it should have been. There are still several days, and several clues remaining, when Pandora’s quest is abruptly resolved, leaving me to suspect that an editorial decision was made to present Doomed as a stand-alone. If that was the case, the task timeline should have been adjusted accordingly, instead it feels like the conclusion of what would have been the second and final book was tacked on to the end of the first book.

I imagine the exciting premise and agreeable characters will have particular appeal for the young adult audience the story is targeted and despite my criticisms I do consider Doomed to have been an enjoyable read.

Available to Purchase from

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trinity
    Jul 23, 2014 @ 13:00:17

    I happened to read this book for a school project, and I thought it was fantastic. It was full of twists and turns, and always had me on the edge of my seat. Tracy Deebs is a phenomenal author and I am sure that I will see more unique writing from her in the future.

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