Thursday, November 7, 2013

Countdown - Review


By: Michelle Rowen

Published: October 1st 2013 by Harlequin Teen

336 pages

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--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.


Countdown was originally published under a pseudonym and as an adult novel in 2008. Apparently, it was suggested to Michelle Rowen that it would make a great young adult novel. I couldn't agree more. Having not read the adult version of this story, I can't really give you a comparison, but I can tell you that I most definitely enjoyed this young adult version.

I love the concept of Countdown. These two characters are thrust into this deadly game against their will. In this case, these characters, Kira and Rogan, are playing as a team in the game. And with playing as a team includes these chips placed in their heads. They must stay within 90 feet of each other or risk both of their heads exploded and losing the game. Countdown has a very Hunger Games-ish feel to it, but since it was originally released in 2008, around the same time as The Hunger Games, this isn't a copycat book.

Kira lost her family when an intruder came into her home and shot her mother, father, and sister while Kira hid under her bed. The intruder was coming after Kira too but was scared off by the police. This has left Kira homeless, bitter, angry, and completely terrified of the dark.

Rogan's story is much more of a mystery that's essential to the plot and can't be revealed in too much depth here in order to prevent spoilers. What I can tell you is that Rogan was convicted of murdering 9 girls at a local dorm and sentenced to juvenile detention until he turned 18 when he would be turned over to the worst prison possible. Unlike Kira who had no knowledge of this deadly game, Rogan not only knows about Countdown, but he volunteered to play in an effort to escape his remaining jail sentence.

There were some parts that felt too "easy," but for me this really was a minor issue. I read Countdown in one day, only pausing long enough to let my kindle recharge. And while Countdown ended in a place where I felt at peace with no need for a sequel, I kept thinking throughout the book that "I want more of this." Or "I wish there was a sequel." Maybe that just means I need to grab the adult version.

Countdown gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Countdown? What did you think? Let me know!


  1. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsNovember 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I had a few issues with the game itself, and the "out in public" parts with the mall, I felt were a bit unbelievable. I wasn't a fan much of the romance in the beginning, because it felt a little rushed, you know? But, I did like the pacing, fast paced and addictive, so it didn't take me that long to finish it either. Great review. :)

  2. Yes, I can definitely see where those things were issues that could have been handled better. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!