PJV Quickie: COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen started out really intensely and quickly progressed to a very well plotted novel, full of twists and turns and most of all high-intensity action. It was a competent dystopian thriller, with a bit of romance, to keep things happy.

The world has been ravaged by a plague that has decimated the economy, large corporations run amuck and a supposed utopia, called The Colony, is the only spark of hope in a bleak world. Kira Jordan is an orphan, surviving by thievery and her wits alone. She goes to steal a pair of red tennis shoes and the next thing she knows she awakens in a dark room, chained to a bed.

Kira quickly discovers that she is a part of some sick game, called Countdown, where she will be forced through potentially fatal trials and tests. To lose will mean death, on camera, for the enjoyment of the network’s subscribers. She also discovers that she isn’t alone in the game, chained in the room with her is a criminal, a murderer, Rogan Ellis and she can not move 90 feet away from him or their heads will explode. They’ll have to work together to complete each level, as each level pushes them together or forces them to compete against each other.

While on the surface, COUNTDOWN was reminiscent of THE HUNGER GAMES, but it did have it’s own original sequences and unique plot. Michelle Rowen is a talented author, who kept a very fast-paced tone that kept the adrenaline pumping. And while similar to the popular series, it was only comparable on the the surface of the main concept.

The characters were also very enjoyable to read about, I enjoyed Kira’s character and felt she stayed true to her personality through the entire novel. Rogan was a little more prickly, but he was also a good character. I felt their romance was a forced, falling in love quickly, within only a few days, but it was still fun to read about.

I did think that the tasks in the Countdown were kind of silly and not as “fatal” as they would seem, but they made sure to mention that there was only 1 winner of Countdown, ever. You would think the tasks would be a bit harder? For a fatal game and all.

Overall it was a good read and it kept me guessing and on my toes the entire time. You don’t want to miss this one if you are a fan of thrills and chills.

Recommendations: For fans of dystopian, thrillers and good tales, check out Countdown. You’ll enjoy the novel if you are fans of authors like Kristen Simmons and Dan Wells. For mature teens, there is violence and brief sexual interactions.