Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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.
Thank you Harlequin Teen for providing us with an eARC of Countdown!
I read reviews of Countdown before I started reading, and of course the first thing I saw were comparisons to the Hunger Games. Even if you haven't read the book, with the movie's release most people are familiar with the story. I can see the comparisons to Hunger Games. It definitely has a similar story. But this has a different feel to it. Sometimes a book can have a similar plot, but be completely different without being a carbon copy. And I honestly believe that with Countdown.
Countdown is a post apocalyptic story, where after a plague inhabits the Earth the population has decreased and most of the world lives in poverty. There is a small community that gives people hope called The Colony. At the Colony, life flourishes and there is no struggle.
Kira is the main character, and she is a survivor. Her family was murdered, and she has been living on the streets for the past few years. It is her dream to move to the Colony. After shoplifting a pair of shoes, she blacks out and suddenly finds herself chained to a wall in a room with a guy. A mysterious countdown starts, along with a voice welcoming her and her companion to the game. Kira's companion Rogan explains to her what Countdown is, and if they don't complete the levels by the time the count reaches 1, they will be killed.
Countdown has 6 levels. It's broadcast to members of a secret organization who are referred to as Subscribers. And if you win Countdown, you get any prize of your choice. I really like how those who watch Countdown do so in secret. It is sort of a mafia where you can know about it, but you can't talk about it. It makes you wonder, if things like this could possibly happen in the real world. Humans thrive on entertainment. Game shows have been on television for years. And in a world driven in poverty, would those who are wealthy enough enjoy watching someone fight for their life in a game just for a prize?
I enjoyed Kira and Rogan's relationship. It's a gradual build that is well written. It starts as a physical attraction, that develops into something more. And when it gets to the "something more" it's well worth the wait! Some of their scenes are a little steamy, but still in good taste for a young adult book. Kira and Rogan act like teenagers, which is something that I enjoy when reading YA. Often times I find myself reading YA, and saying, "Okay teens do not talk like this." But this wasn't the case with Countdown. I never doubted anyone's age.
While reading, I felt like this game was personal against Rogan. A vendetta of sorts. And when the big reveal of what is really going on happens, I must admit I was pretty shocked. It's a nice twist that was thrown in, that separates it from other post apocalyptic books that I have read. The games themselves are a little simple. I wanted to see a little more complication with them, or maybe if the levels were longer. The average time for a level was about 7 minutes.
Overall I really enjoyed Countdown. It's a quick read that is hard to put down. While you are reading, you constantly wonder what's going to happen next. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of young adult post apocalyptic novels. Yes, the beginning you may find it similar to the Hunger Games, but once you keep going it really distances itself from it. It evolves into its on story with great characters and an awesome plot.