Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Children's
Released: 8th January 2013
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.
ExcerptWe've been walking maybe half an hour or so when Theo reaches into my bag, yanks out the two bags of M&M's. "You need to eat," he tells me, opening one of the bags and shoving it into my hand. "The sugar will give you something to burn, at least for a little while."
He tosses the other pack to Eli, who catches it on the fly. "So do you," I say, pouring out a handful of candy and then tossing the bag to him.
I snort. "Who's being a martyr now? Eat the stupid candy. It's not much further to Colorado, right?"
"Two miles. Maybe a little less."
"Cool. Will we even be able to recognize when we pass?"
"I've been thinking about that. If we keep up this pace for another hour or so, we should guarantee that we're a couple miles in. Then we can head back to the road. We'll have missed the roadblock, and hopefully we'll be far enough away that no one will notice us."
"What do we do when we get to the road? We don't have a car. We have money, but I'm not sure how much good it's going to do us."
"We'll think of something."
"Speak for yourself. I am completely out of ideas."
"That's 'cause your last one was so good." Eli winks at me
"Oh, yeah. Right. This is a fabulous idea."
"Better than going to jail as cyberterrorists."
I shrug. "At least it would only be for six and a half days."
Theo laughs. "Wow, from despair to cynicism. You've come a long way in eight hours."
"What can I say? Nothing lasts forever. Obviously."
"You're a real laugh riot today," Eli says.
I look down my nose at him. "Sarcasm is so unbecoming."
"So's fatalism. So get over it already, will you?" He points at some nebulous area in front of us. "Bet I can beat you to that cactus."
"We're in the desert. There are eight million cacti out here. You're going to have to be more specific."
"That huge forked one way up ahead. You see it, over..."
I'm off and running before he finishes the sentence. Am I cheating? Absolutely. Do I feel bad about it? Not at all. But I figure if I'm going up against the two of them, it's only fair that I get some kind of advantage.
I hear them pounding the sand behind me. They're getting closer, so I put on an extra burst of speed and cross the finish line a split second before Theo. Eli finishes about a second later.
"You are such a cheater," Eli tells me breathlessly, then tugs on one of the locks of hair that have fallen across my eye. "I'm going to remember to watch my back around you."
"And why is that?"
"Because you're dangerous," Theo says, opening a water bottle and handing it to me, along with yet another granola bar. This one's apple-cinnamon flavour. Lucky me.