Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen

Countdown by Michelle Rowen
Publisher- Harlequin Teen
Released- Sept 24th 2013
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N / Chapters

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.
My Thoughts
Twenty-five years ago, the world was still at it's best. Thriving, successful, peaceful. Then came the Great Plague and in a matter of weeks took almost all of human life. Those who survived carried on, but it was never the same. Illness, starvation and crime inevitably followed. But there was a city that had been built. A Colony paradise filled with opportunity. It was a place of dreams and hope.

Countdown is an underground reality-televised game that is designed as a series of six challenges within a set time frame for the sole purpose of sadistic entertainment for the very rich.  If you succeed you get to choose a new life, a better life.  If you fail, you die.
Sixteen year old, Kira Jordan was orphaned after her parents were murdered two years ago and is a known thief. She woke-up in the dark, chained and found herself as a participate in the game, one she never signed up for. 
Seventeen year old, Rogan Ellis is a known murderer. He woke-up the same way, but the only difference is he was on his way to Saradone, a maximum prison before he decided to be a willing participate.
The only connection between Kira and Rogan is simply. They both want to live, even if it means they have no choice but to be partnered up in this twisted game. They have to trust each other long enough to face six challenges together, beat the clock and come out of this alive or die trying. The Countdown has begun...

Okay, yes, The Hunger Games. That's exactly what I thought too once I figured out the gist of what Countdown was all about and while some may not like books that strongly resemble an already popular series, I for one still enjoyed what this book had to offer. A steady pace of action, intrigue and entertainment with characters that have depth, complexity and are heartfelt, that have been thrown against vicious and deadly odds. 
Despite the similarities between this book and HG, Rowen manages to still deliver a very interesting concept. The challenges were cruel and inhuman tasks that were deranged and morally wrong. It makes you question your very soul. I loved how Rowen  threw in some really good spins to play with our minds throughout the story. I was constantly on my toes. I wasn't sure who I could trust, who was lying and who was telling the truth, and remarkably that goes for our main characters as well. Rowen makes the reader want to believe in them, but we're not certain of anything till it's all said and done. That cloud of doubt lingers throughout the entire reading experience which made this even more fun to read. It was calculating, unpredictable and very well written.

There aren't very many characters in this one, but the ones we do  meet all played their parts well.
Kira is a strong minded with real horrors in her past. I liked that she's a fighter and that even though what she's been through would normally make anyone hard and mean, she still has hope for herself and is willing to believe and fight for others. I liked that she has a rare hidden talent that she was aware of, but wasn't actually sure what it was. It put a new edge to the story-line and gave it that extra something to make her character already standout more then it does.
Rogan isn't like your typical badass. He may have a reputation but there is so much more to his character then what it seems. He may seem like he plays calm and collected but inside he's given up and really who could blame him. But he finally has something and someone to fight for. Someone, by all rights should hate him dares to believe in him instead.
Kira and Rogan are obviously the main focus of this book, but they really do own every page. They have a wonderful sassy sarcastic banter-humor that felt perfect for their predicament. Comical enough to bring some relief but not taking away from the dire situation constantly at hand. They're not exactly a perfect fit but at the same time they compliment each other. They may have been paired in extreme circumstances, fighting for their lives, but you can genuinely feel their connection and that they care what happens to other. 

All in all, I really enjoyed Countdown. The concept may not be new, but it still pounds with excitement and thrills. Kira and Rogan are characters that you want to be invested in from the moment you meet them and the writing is strong and intense. A solid read!

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  1. This book sounds awesome! I want it! This was a great review!

  2. I did not know that this one had such a similar story to The Hunger Games but I don't think that will bother me too much. It still sounds like something I'll really enjoy and I do really like Michelle Rowen's books. Great review!

    Katie @ Katie's Book Blog

    1. Thankies! I actually don't mind books that resembles other books. I like seeing what other authors can bring in:)

  3. I was debating on this one when it popped up on NG, but decided to pass. I rarely, if ever, read dystopians these days, but I'm often drawn to the synopsis. This one did sound a lot like the HG which was a bit of a turn-off. It sounds like it is a fun and engaging story. I may have to give it a try sometime. Great review!

    1. Thank-you:) I hope you end up enjoying this if you ever do give it a try;)

  4. Regardless of how much this book echoes THG, I think I'd still like to check it out, Tina. I haven't read any of Rowen's books so this might just be a good starting point.

    Great review, Tina!

    1. Thanks Joy:) I've only read a couple of Rowen's books before, but I enjoyed this one the most. Happy reading if you get around to it girl;)

  5. Sounds like a good one. I'm always looking for something "like Hunger Games." It's a plus, as far as I'm concerned. Great review.

    1. Thank-you:) I admit, I look for books that have a similar story lines to HG, Vampire Academy or even Twilight. It's fun seeing what other authors do with them XD Happy reading!

  6. This one sounds awesome despite the similarities in THG concept. I don't think I would mind that though. I'm definitely curious as to what kind of challenges the characters had to go through! It sounds like a thriller I'll enjoy. I love when books keep you on the edge of your seat. I haven't been reading much dystopian, probably why I ended up skipping at first glance but your review has me convinced I need to read this one! I wonder though if it's a standalone? Anyway, great review! :)