Author: Michelle Rowen
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Due to amount of series, duologies or even trilogies, it's rare to find a standalone that isn't contemporary. It's hard to categorize Countdown into a certain genre due to the lack of world building. If I had to pick one I would have to say that this novel is leaning towards the dystopian genre.
From the first chapter, you are quickly introduced to Kira and Rogan. Both of them meet at jail cell, chained to the wall. Their first encounter obviously wasn't the greatest, but throughout the chapters, it was nice to see the characters develop. When they first figure out they have to complete challenges under a time limit, they get over their insecurites and doubts of each other in order to survive. The challenges that these characters faced were quite thrilling and fast-paced. Towards the middle of the book, there were certain scenes that reminded me of one of my favourite childhood movies, Spy Kids 3. They both shared the virtual game aspect, but Countdown had me at the edge of my seat.
With Countdown being a dystopian stand-alone, it's quite hard to visualize the world that Kira and Rogan lived in. She provided bits and pieces of details throughout the book, but it was really hard to imagine what kind of world they lived. If there was a sequel to this book, I think it would have excelled in world-building, but as for the plot, I don't think so. The ending provided enough closure that I don't think it would be necessary to give it a sequel unless Rowen came up with a whole new brilliant plot. But other that, I think we should leave the book as it is.
With a fast-paced plot and thrilling action, it would be certainly hard to put this one down.