Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Countdown by Michelle Maddox

Published: August 2008 by Dorchester

Number of Pages: 293

Genre: Futuristic Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book: Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver) told me to read it at the 2008 RWA book signing because I liked her Shomi releases a lot. I am such a good, obedient little reader.

From the Author Site: THREE
Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room, handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to figure out how to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die.

The stranger she’s been partnered with—her only ally in this nightmare—is a convicted murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And worse yet, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him?

No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Hero: Rogan Ellis is a convicted rapist and serial killer who had completed four years of his 5oo year sentence in a maximum security prison before he became a contestant on a killer, literally, reality show called "The Countdown". Once a playboy with no care in the world but his pleasure and now a harden con with an agenda. But he has to survive the game. As the story unfolds you can't help but root for him and really want him to survive the game and come out on top. Too bad he was tied to Kira is so many ways.

Heroine: Kira Jordon was orphaned at 15 after her family was brutally murdered during a home robbery. She's survived by becoming a shoplifter and pickpocket. Now her only chance for survival is Rogan Ellis, a mass murderer. Whiny and annoying, she wasn't someone I could really get behind. Way too much of the "poor little ole me" going on to make her a really attractive heroine. Rogan was too good for her.

Review: A good story about a reality show gone mad. What happens when you can pay to watch someone else struggle in real life or death situation where there is no good choice and stay anonymous while doing so. You have "The Countdown". All the contestants are the dregs of society, the killers, the rapist, thieves and generally the unwanted. Of course, watching them struggle with morally corrupt choices isn't too horrible.

Michelle Maddox created a fascinating world set in the not so near future (minus the whole space travel thing and other world bits). The reality show was truly horrible but I kept waiting for Kira and Rogan to win and get to "Offworld" where they would battle the true horror. But alas, "Offworld" was apparently the paradise that its was thought to be (or at least that is where the story left off and will most likely stay as the Shomi line died).

The concept of "The Countdown" reality show isn't new. After all horror, blood and violence sells. Make it exclusive and it sells like hot cakes. Throw in some sex and voila you make it irresistible. This storyline really worked for me as I am not a huge fan of reality shows, and in particular those that show people at their worse. This is a ultimate horror in reality show. I don't understand what about them that fascinates people. I like my story carefully scripted with 'real' actors. I suppose its like watching a traffic accident, the helpless horror of being the bystander unable to help.

What I liked best: Rogan. *sigh* What a hunk, even if his is a convicted serial killer/rapist! You like him despite his bad reputation. But then again maybe because of his bad reputation.

What I least liked: The whole existence of "Offworld". First the name is really lame and second this "new world" was discovered just prior to the Great Plague which killed off most of the population. With the sudden decrease in the population, how did people get to "Offworld" and how did travel between the two survive when the rest of the world fell into disarray and chaos and technology taking a nose dive. The whole concept just didn't work for me. Now if was like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, I would have been much happier but then the whole story would have probably had to change. *sigh*

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you like the post-apocalyptic romance (yes, I know its very specific) then you'll probably like this one. Its certainly a genre with room to grow. I'm a big fan of the end of the world scenarios and what's better than romance after "the end" has occurred.

Grade: B-


Mishel said...

I have this on my TBR list! Thanks for the great review. Sounds really good =)

AnimeJune said...

As a regular sci-fi reader as well as a romance reader, this book disappointed me as well, probably more than it did you. I felt the science-fictional aspects of the world were very vague and haphazardly described - sci-fi stuff only really showed up when it was convenient (like healing serums after the hero gets shot). It was really a wallpaper sci-fi setting to me.

orannia said...

Thank you Aymless :)

Rogan was too good for

And yet he was a convicted rapist and serial killer? And he was wasn't the case that he was an innocent convicted for crimes he didn't commit? Hmmm...I don't think I'd be comfortable reading about such a lead male character (I'm sorry, but I can't use the word hero)....just too beyond the pale for me.

Shaymless Aymless said...

Mishel: It was in my TBR pile for awhile too. Moving made me pick it up. *g*

AJ (I can call you that right?): Yeah the scifi part so totally didn't work. Very bothersome. And Rogan was just too yummy for whiney Kira. *sigh*

Orannia: OK so he was innocent of the crimes he was convicted for but he has other "dark" deeds in his past. ^_~

orannia said...

Ahhh, thank you Aymless. OK, I feel a lot more differently about the book now :) I honestly thought he was guilty and I was like...WTF? DUH!

*slinks off to the dog box*

Shaymless Aymless said...

The author did a decent job of keeping him "guilty" for about 1/2 the book. Was interesting how strangely attractive he was as a hero even when you thought he was a bad bad man.

*pulls Orannia out* no hiding for you honest opinions! ((Orannia))

Leslie said...

Here in NY I'm reading the Anna Wintour autobiography as we bid adieu to fashion week. I heard about it from which just released a list of great fall reads about the fashion world. Here's the link to get the list:

orannia said...

Hey Aymless. Just wanted to stop by and say I hope the second week at work is going well and you are settling in :)

Shaymless Aymless said...

Second week is going okay. Had migraine so missed part of it. *sigh* Just too many stressful things. I miss my kitty big! *sniff*

orannia said...


Am sorry to hear things are a bit stressful - I wish I could do something to help. I still look round for my kitt...still think I see him out of the corner of my eye. But...I try and think of all the mad, crazy things he used to do...all the ways he showed he loved me (even if he was such an alpha male about it and wouldn't dream of directly showing me :) And yes, remembering those things still makes me very sad, but I have those memories...and I wouldn't not have that time with him for anything.

I hope your third week is better.



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