Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: Countdown


Publication Date: October 1st 2013 by
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.

                                                                                          GAME OVER
Kira Jordan, a thief and orphan, her family being murdered years before, is unwillingly thrown into the game of Countdown and being an orphan in a game like Countdown is dangerous, because it means no one will miss you, and that's why Kira was chosen. Waking up in the dark she finds she is not alone, and that she's also chained. Rogan Ellis, a convicted murderer in Juvie awaiting to be transported to Saradone upon his 18th birthday has nothing to lose, and that's why he was willing and chosen.
Not knowing whether to trust him, or what the hell is going on, Kira's reluctant to help free him from the chains.
Until the Countdown begins.
And now they have to work together to survive.
You know what I loved most about this though it annoyed the hell out of me? The indecision of Kira, one moment she trusted Rogan, then she's told something not to trust him, about a million times and just as she does trust him, she's still not sure, back and forth back and forth. It was the most annoying, and repetitive thing about Coundown, but it was also the most realistic.
You're thrown into a game with a guy you don't know. You don't know where you are, where you've been thrown, you have a freaking chip in your head and are forced to play a life or death game with a 99.9% chance that you'll die. You're also teamed up to said guy and throughout are told unspeakable things he's supposedly done to land him in Juvie and eventually into a post-apocalyptic world's version of prison,  Saradone, you're going to be confused.
The characters are far from perfect, and are really infuriating at times, especially at the beginning, and though there didn't seem to be any character development since things move pretty fast, all of a sudden there is, and by the end I ended up really liking both Kira and Rogan a lot more than I did at the start. They're sarcastic and funny, they've been through a lot, a whole bunch of angst but they're strong, they're survivors, and do actually have chemistry with or without the romance.
Let's talk about the "romance" it's a massive round of Insta-lust. I could forgive it, since it is a life-death situation and is really intense and all that, and their first kiss wasn't totally early on, but you know what? They almost sleep together 42% in, and then realise they are still being watched. No. No. No. No. There's insta-love, there's fast moving, and then there's Countdown, all on its own level.
Seriously, it's slimy and grimy and blah.
Alright, world building, you're going to take a battering of your own. It's vague, with a plague, which took out a lot of the world's population,  left people desolate and poor, though apparently, the owner of Countdown is uber rich, insanely rich, and there's also the Colony, where there's no famine, loads of jobs, rich people, in a middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. The catch? The Colony is a myth, everyone has heard of it, talks of it, strives to get there, but they don't know where there is. So why is it a myth again?
Then there's the game, Countdown itself.
I get why Countdown's been created post plague, and is a lot more believable then than it would be now, but it's still sketchy. And weird with how they can get away with it. I know it's a super secret underground, that's really not so secret to most of the population- subscribers- that are building. I know they also use prisoners and people on the streets because they're easier to pick off, and nobody will be looking for them. But, please, somebody tell me HOW THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT? The more it's being played, the more people as it supposedly has, and they play it out in public, somebody somewhere has to make a mistake, and I mean at one "level" they were in a MALL. Yes, if they asked for help, the person they asked would either be murdered or because of the implants in Rogan's and Kira's heads, their heads would explode, but both would mean exposure. See?
I don't know whether I really liked it, or really disliked it, but I didn't hate it. It was sick and twisted but I couldn't put it down, and though I wasn't really liking it in the beginning, it was fast paced, tense, and atmospheric with an all round happy ending.
Rating: 3/5