Countdown, by Michelle Rowen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Romance, Adventure, Thriller
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publication: October 1, 2013, by Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback Edition
Goodreads Summary: 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.
"We'd been thrust together, neither of us had any choice in the matter, and we'd dealt with it the best we could. Now it was over, and the moment we reached our destination I might never see him again. This was the way it was supposed to be. Even though I knew that, it still hurt like hell."
When reading the summary for this novel, I had high expectations. From the moment I did, I knew that this book was going to be something that has never been written before, or even hinted at. There have been many reviews noting that this is very similar to The Hunger Games. Yes, they do have their similarities, but they both have their differences as well. What's not to like about this racing beautiful book? A secret game where rich fat-sacks (Gareth and Jonathan, haha) put two criminals together in a game of six levels? Yeah, that's just my type of book, and it will be yours, too.
So that's the basic plot of this book. Kira and Rogan wake up in a cell, both attached to the wall. They have no idea why they're there (except Rogan, who has a small hint) and they see two keys on the floor. They decide to switch keys in front of them, and that's where the Countdown began. They are in a game of survival, where there are six levels, and if they pass those six levels, then their criminal record is swept clean and they get to go to the Colony. The Colony is a paradise-like city where everything is better. After the Great Plague that killed sixty percent of the population, people went on with their lives and went on to rebuild their lives. Then the Colony was formed and your only ticket in is if you're smart, having the right kind of money, or know the right kind of people. And winning the Countdown can give Rogan and Kira this kind of paradise that the rest of the world dreams of. They begin risking their lives and getting hurt throughout, but the main question is: Can they trust the people around them, including themselves?
I'm lost for words. From the first page in, I was addicted. Michelle Rowen is such a brilliant author. This is my first time reading one of her books and I know that I will read more of them. She creates such a beautiful world and the concept flows perfectly with everything else. Everything about this book was just brilliant. (Except the harsh things that Rogan and Kira went through, haha.)
At first, I didn't know how to classify this book. I had a strong feeling that it would become a full-crazed thriller, and I'm glad it did. I personally adore thrillers. The feeling of my heart clenching when I'm afraid for the characters and afraid of what's going to happen is probably one of the best feelings in the world. The adrenaline that Michelle Rowen created for me was just powerful. But yes, this was a dystopia sci-fi thriller romance, with some fantasy introduced in between.
I absolutely adored this book. I know I have come to love many books, but my love for this one is something different than most. After reading, I got this feeling that made me want to re-read it over and over again. The action and whole story is so unforgettable, and I'm still in a book-hangover after it. I feel like I'm caught in the world of Kira and Rogan, two amazing characters who weren't perfect. They had their flaws, and that makes them even better in comparison.
Kira was the most sarcastic character I've ever read about. I love sarcasm, and she was a character who totally had it from head to toe. Although she was struggling with a little of depression and fear, she was a witty and hilarious character who knew how to act. She wasn't afraid to be rude to the bad guys. She wasn't afraid to love Rogan when the time came. She was just calm and outstanding. I loved reading from her POV. Her voice is one to remember.
I had an insta-love moment with Rogan. I just loved him too much. There was no insta-love between him and Kira, which was absolutely perfect. They took their time to make their relationship go to the next level (even if it was in a matter of days) and he was one of the cutest men I've read about in a while. He's badass and sympathetic at the same time.
The plot was spectacular the whole time through. It kept me going the whole time through and not once (NOT ONCE, WHOA) was I bored. I just want to squeal every second when I think about this book. My love for it is unreal. *laughs*
I was very pleased with the ending. Although I was sad that this was completely over (it's a standalone!) it was beautiful. Ahh! READ THIS BOOK. You will end up: fangirling, squealing, and crying and yelling. :)