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.
Review: I’m relieved to know that Countdown is a standalone book (hopefully). There’s something about starting a book and knowing when you reach the last page you’ve experienced the entire journey. I don’t need to wait for months—years even to read the next chapter of the story. I think there are books that are meant to be told in one go as opposed to splitting the stories and stretching it unnecessarily.
As for the story, it reminded me a little bit of Battle Royale (and a bit of Hunger Games) meets .Hack//Sign. Kira Jordan was unwillingly put in a game called Countdown. A violent televised show where participants must accomplish six levels of games under a time pressure in order to win. She was paired up with Rogan Ellis who she found out was a murderer. At first she doubted him but since they were stuck with each other they must put their differences aside if they want to get out of there alive. But as the game continued she found out that Rogan wasn’t the person she thought he was. And when pieces of information started to unravel, she found out that Rogan has a huge connection with the maker as well the as the game itself. And it seemed that surviving the game wasn’t their only problem.
I wasn’t a big fan of Kira. She acted nonchalantly while talking to a complete stranger. She wasn’t nearly as scared as I thought from someone who was abducted and brought to who knows where. There are no feelings of fear coming from her and because of that it was hard to connect with her. I get that she was pretty badass but still, the circumstances she was in should’ve elicited genuine feelings of trepidation especially she knows nothing about what will happen to her.
The game itself was lackluster to me. For a game that was called countdown and them being under a time pressure it didn’t successfully show any sense of urgency. I didn’t feel that they were in a potentially fatal situations because in some weird way I know they’re going to make it. I wasn’t really scared for them because the trials they faced weren’t really that thrilling. I think even though the book was named after the game it wasn’t really the core of the plot. It was just a device to pave way to the actual antagonist and the real problem of the story.
This is what I genuinely liked: outside the game. When they finally found out what was really happening and how the game shifted to a new point was the height of the story for me. It is when they started to dig more and more about the system that governs the game. As well as unearthing those secrets regarding Rogan’s family that have big connection to the countdown that made it interesting to me. I’m glad that it managed to sort it out with the little pages left without completely rushing the story. And I liked how things were wrapped up without being too clean and even leaving few unanswered questions. So as a whole, I liked it even though it wasn’t really that original but it was surprisingly entertaining.
I received an Advance Copy from Harlequin Teen via Netgalley. Thank you.
Preview Quote: “Time has a tendency to change many things, Rogan.” — Jonathan (from Uncorrected Digital Galley)