Cover Image: Doomsday Match

Doomsday Match

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Member Reviews

This was recommended as a thriller in the same line as James Rollins. I really liked how this author wove scientific fact and fantasy together.

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I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley, Jeff Wheeler and 47North for this ARC.

Doomsday Match is book 1 in The Dresden Codex series.

Roth and his family have been lured to Mexico to spend their Christmas but all is not as it seems. They've been brought to play in the doomsday match where they aren't expected to win.

The beginning was a bit slow and then things started happening really fast. I was really scared for them and it seemed like they were going to get away but they of course still need to play. I look forward to reading the next one!

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Jeff Wheeler masterfully pulls the reader into another “must read”.

Solid character development and story line. A bit different from some of his other works, but nonetheless, well worth the read.

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This book follows Jonathon Roth and his family when they go on a dream (to good to be true) vacation to a luxury resort in Cozumel with their neighbors. Roth is a successful author. His wife Sarina is a charge nurse in an ER. They bring their three children along: Suki, Brillante, and Lucas. The book starts out with a bang and it becomes clear that there is more in store for them than fun in the sun.

First what I liked about the book:
* Good family adventure. They stick together and work together as a team.
* They need to figure out some mysteries.
* The setting in Mexico and Maya culture.
* There is a part where an orphanage helps the family. It is a stark contrast for those that have so little give what they can to wealthy vacationers in need.

What was a miss for me:
* I was disappointed that Roth’s wife Sarina was given an insignificant role in this first book in the series. Perhaps, she will have more of a role in the next one.
* I thought there would be more adventure and less about the “game”.
* The ending…not a fan

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LOVED this book! I love Jeff Wheeler's writing style, the book sucked me in fast and it was an easy read that kept me coming back for more. It had all the right elements and I often found myself thinking about the Roths and what would happen to them even when I wasn't reading. I found the characters very likable and relatable as well. Immediately starting the next book! Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for this ARC.

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Jeff Wheeler is well known for his fantasy novels, and while there is magic in this book, Doomsday Match is much more of a thriller. Set in modern day Mexico, Doomsday Match tells the story of the Roth family. They thought they’d been invited down to Cozumel to celebrate Christmas. The truth is they’ve been brought to compete in an ancient Mayan game. A game where the losing team is to be sacrificed in a brutal ritual to fulfill an ancient prophecy.

I enjoyed the heck out of this book. The storyline sucked me in and I read this one from start to finish. Yep, read this one straight through. I was totally hooked by the struggles the Roth family was forced to endure and the relentless pacing demanded I keep reading to find out what happened next.

It’s always a risk when an author you like tries something new but in this case I think Jeff’s attempt at a thriller was a complete success and I look forward to the next. I’d also love to see this picked up by Amazon, Netflix, or a major studio. I’d like to thank 47North and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an eARC of Doomsday Match.

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An interesting new read by Jeff Wheeler full of suspense and terror as one family fights for their lives in ancient game where there can only be one winner. A Christmas vacation to Cozumel with their neighbors takes a terrifying turn for the Roth family when they discover all is not what it seems at the picturesque resort and they flea for their lives. Desperate to stay alive and get home, the family escapes into the jungle, barley one step ahead of their pursuers. Their host, however, is not simply what he appears to be and will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy. One family will be sacrificed. It's a great story, and I am excited to be able to dive straight into the next part!

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This was s little different from the author's usual. Not so much fantasy but a thriller. A lot of suspense. A little Hunger Games. Loved the Mayan lore. Wondering where this is going next.

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The Writing:
It took me a few chapters to get into reading this book. I think the prologue threw me off a bit with the characters, and it took me a second to get all of Roth's family members straight. But after those first few chapters I was hooked! When Roth and his family get to the resort things really start to pick up and I loved it. I really enjoyed seeing Roth grow and step up to the plate for his family. I loved the intensity that his wife's diabetes brough to the table. My mother has type 1 diabetes and so it definitely increased the intensity of the story for me because I know what Roth's wife was going through with her blood sugar issues. The children were a great part of this book, they brought a bit of comedic relief, and I enjoyed seeing them grow together as well.
I really loved the familial bond in this book. It's not often I see books about a full family and it was refreshing.
I also really enjoyed the magic system. It was fascinating, had a sense of wonder to it, and really helped me feel invested in the book the more I read about it.

This was a fantastic supernatural thriller book. My heart was pounding non-stop by the end and I couldn't stop reading. After it was done I just had to sit and absorb everything, it was just so good. Can't wait for the next one!

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What? A contemporary thriller from one of the best fantasy authors in the business? Now that is a book I absolutely must read! And I’m glad I did. The overall story and suspense is riveting and assuredly edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, can’t put down fun! It’s in the small things where, as a first in a new series, it hasn’t found its feet. The voice that is usually so smooth and elegant to read in Mr. Wheeler’s fantasies, is a bit clunky and awkward in this contemporary. Trying to use teenage lingo, along with meandering thoughts that don’t progress the story, and the very frequent use of Spanish sentences with no translations, can be frustrating to a reader that is invested in the actual plot. And, throwing in a bit of magic, along with shapeshifters just didn’t ring true in this instance.
Still, the sheer readability and suspense works so well that we race through those pages to see what will happen next!

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I really enjoyed this - and I will definitely read the next book. There’s enough loose ends to carry into a series without a massive cliffhanger, which is good.

This kind of reminded me of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown. Fast-paced with some history/science thrown in. It’s probably technically sci-fi/fantasy but very grounded in reality with a few minor elements being somewhat out there. The thriller and adventure elements are very engaging. I looked forward to getting back to it to see what happened next.

My only real complaint was that there were too many pop culture references that felt forced and the slang was awkward (and didn’t need explanation if it was going to be used). Fairly minor but it definitely took me out of the story when it happened.

(I’ll be posting a summary in my monthly reading recap on YouTube at the end of June as well so it will be right before publication.)

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In Doomsday Match, by Jeff Wheeler, the Roths have been invited to vacation in Cozumel, but the luxury retreat is not what it seems. Thereks more going on than a luxury vacation, and they are in the center of the brewing storm,

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4/5 🌟

I want to start off by saying that this was my first book by Jeff Wheeler.
The summary of the book was captivating for anyone, but as an archaeologist, I was fascinated by the novel the entire time. I loved everything about this book.

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I am a pretty big fan of Jeff Wheeler. At the time that I started this book, I didn't realize that this was his first foray into the "thriller" genre. I guess I just never really thought about it. At the end of this book, he goes into some detail about the idea behind this book and how he had to talk his publisher into - well, not really talk into - but explain why he wanted to venture onto this new path. Regardless, it was an interesting back story.

Now, about the book. I have to admit that at the beginning, I wasn't too sure that this was going to be something that I liked. The entire concept behind the story....the whole, "family lured to Mexico to be forced to participate in a game to the death".... well, it WAS a bit out there. The writing style was also a bit different than what I have come to expect from him and I will admit to attempting to start the book (and subsequently putting it down) several times over the course of a couple of days.

I'm not sure where in the book, but probably somewhere after the 1st quarter of the book, THAT'S when I began to get invested. It felt a little like we were thrown into the story without really getting the necessary background to have steady ground. I didn't feel like I KNEW the characters and since things pretty much start happening right away, I was finding it hard to care one way or another about their situation.

There is also the believability factor. Mr. Wheeler generally writes in the fantasy genre and for the most part, it's easier to suspend reality when the reality is from a made up world. He even mentions in his author note that it was harder to WRITE with a setting in the real world - that it required much more work. To me, that made complete sense. I have absolutely no problem suspending believability in a book, but I need to at least have a firm foundation to jump off from. Since the characters were new and not firmly established in the beginning, I was still getting a feel for everyone. The setting was one I knew - Cozumel, Mexico. That left the plot or storyline. I have to admit, it was a bit rocky starting off. But, as I mentioned before, things definitely settled down.

Once that happened, the pace seemed to steady as well, and I started getting a handle on each of the different family members. That is when the story found its footing. The story unfolds in a way that the reader is finding out things at the same time the MC's are finding things out. There is also quite a bit of information and history given on the ancient Mayan culture - that was interesting. The book is written in multiple POV's and at first I wasn't sure where everything was going. By the last quarter of the book though, I could feel the tension mounting and I was definitely rooting for the Roth family.

This was a good entry into a new series and the groundwork has been laid for a pretty intricate storyline. This story arc was tied up but there were enough items left open to definitely generate interest in the next installment. In the author notes, we find out that there will be a second book.
Will I be continuing on with this series?

Yep, I think I will.

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC. The opinions above are mine and mine alone.

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A family is invited on a free vacation to Cozumel. The whole family gets bad vibs from the other vacationing family and the host. They flee into jungle and are pursued. It's a great read and well worth your time.

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Jeff Wheeler. Someone whose books I’m sure you’ve come across on kindle unlimited. If you have a free download, I would download this book or another book by him. After that, buy the book, because you are going to like it that much

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A promising start for a novice writer. Although this was not my cup of tea, with the right editing this would fit the very YA crowd.
There were quite a few grammatical errors througout and consistency issues with regard to wildlife in South America. I think elephant tusks were used quite a bit in the ritual scenes and there is not, nor ever was, elephants in South America in our current history.
The magic seemed forced into a story line that was filled with tropes. Mr. Evil vs. the Brady Bunch comes to mind as the passages lacked grit and what could have been a creative instances became mired in cultural backstory that has no experiential basis.
The movement was fairly good but failed to develop the characters in a meaningful way. The racial referrents are a tired attempt at bringing brevity to situational interactions and therefore lacked depth. A simple "I will destroy you" works better than implied racial epithets.

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4.75/5 stars! I've read several of Jeff Wheeler's books and really enjoyed them, so it was a no-brainer for me to pick up this first book in the new "Dresden Codex" series. This pre-apocalyptic Mayan thriller touches on prophecies and curses and kept me engaged from the very first page. It had Wheeler's customary flare and the twists paid off well. Eagerly looking forward to reading the next installment in this series.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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What happens when last minute neighborly invite to a tropical vacation meets a centuries old prophecy? The Roth family finds out just that when they find themselves dropped into the jungle.

I have been a reader of Jeff Wheeler for several years and have always LOVED his world building. The level of detail he weaves into his stories of any genre have always enthralled me and Doomsday Match is no exception.

This was a different genre from him than I typically read but I was excited to pick it up. The exploration of the Mayan culture grabbed my attention immediately.

My only hesitations with this story were in the pacing at the beginning of the novel and the foreshadowing. Within the first 30 pages, it was fairly clear where the story was going with the only surprises to come in how we arrived there. The reader was expected to develop a connection with characters a bit more rapidly than I felt was feasible with the limited pages I’d had with them. I think had we had more pages establishing what their “normal” was like before we dove into the events central to their trip, it would have been easier to have an emotional connection with early events.

There was additional a lot of heavy handed references to prophecy and secrets that could have been alluded to a bit more subtlety with more impact. Statements were made as if the reader had already been exposed, but this balanced out about 75 pages in or so.

Overall I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to folks and will be waiting eagerly for the sequel! Jeff Wheeler continues to be one of my favorite authors I’ve discovered via Kindle Unlimited. I received this book from Net Galley in return for my honest review.

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Interesting. Thats the best way I can describe this book. Interesting characters, interesting story, interesting concept. I think it look a little while to get to where it was going, and even when you understood the concept it drug on a little too slow. But the concept is unique and it is an interesting start to what seems like a promising series. I want to know where it goes next!

Thanks to NetGalley, Jeff Wheeler, and 47 North for providing me with an advanced reading copy.

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