#YA #Dystopia Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen


Series : N/A

Publisher : Harlequin Australia

Source : Publicist provided for review

Release Date : October 1st 2013

3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape.


Tash M

Countdown has an interesting premise and that what had originally caught my attention when I first read it a couple of years ago . It tells the story of two teenagers that gets thrown into a game of the same name as the first teenager combatants in the game history. They have been forced to participate in this reality TV show that thrives on death and its subscribers as they got no other choice. Set in a former city of the USA, the show takes two criminals who compete together and go through a series of levels, aiming to complete them and gain their freedom. For Kira it is a chance to escape to colonies after she was made an orphan and forced to survive on the streets as a criminal.

She is determined to finish this game as she can’t get escape from the game easily. Her partner in the game Rogan and her are held prisoners to the corporation running the game as they have implants in their head which only allow them to be a certain distance away from each other before an electric shock. In a game that is stack against them, as the show controls everything, the only hope being Kira and her psi abilities which allows her to read people as they are tethered to each other until the end of the game or their death.

Kira is stuck and she not exactly found of her new partner Rogan. As she believes what she is told at first and we all told he is a murderer and two years older to her sixteen. Meaning only one thing he is 18 and about to sent to an adult jail unless he can win. However we go through levels we discover there is more to each other and discover the truth and they form a bond because of their circumstances and attraction. And soon we are persuaded to believe in Rogan side to his story even though we are offer conflicting twists that makes question whether this bond will survive and the budding romance.
I read Countdown twice over the years and each time I enjoyed the story but I never wrote the review until now. The reason being that this book was an interesting and entertaining read but not rememberable. I couldn’t recall the story without doing a re-read. Then it all came back to me as I rediscover this story.

I love dystopias and ones that have strong female characters who don’t rely on others to help them. They are strong and save and Kira is a perfect example of this. Talented in pickpocketing and her psi ability she has managed to survive so long and that why she made the perfect foil for Rogan who was hardened by his past and had no trust at all. They made the perfect team in more ways than one and worked together well.

The only disappoint this book is so focused on this show, that we don’t get to explore much before the game is started. The author spends most of her creativity on the running of the game and the aftermath, you are left with some questions about every plot arc the author introduce to the story .

I love the idea of the implants and I liked how this surprising twisted technology that had the major influence on the story but you have to wonder why allow psi abilities and what roles will they play. I would love to see something addressing these questions and other in the future as we are left with an open ending that satisfies this book concluding but leaves a door open for a revisit. I know this has been marked as a standalone, but I left with questions and that shouldn’t be the case and that why I can only give it 3.5 stars. This is unique taking on the reality games idea and turning it to an exiting future version but a plots should have been closed.



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