Such is the case with Countdown by Michelle Maddox. I mentioned a while ago that my reading world has opened up since I started reading first person books. I’m so glad that it did – otherwise I might have missed this real gem of a book.
It’s from the Dorchester Shomi line and after originally turning my nose up at the idea, I am totally sold now. This is the third book I’ve read in the Shomi line and each one has been terrific!
But on to this book.
As I mentioned, this book is written in the first person. It takes some time in the future after a devastating plague has wiped out quarter of the world’s population. And of those that are left, most are trying to get to another place – the Offworld – where things are good. But back on earth, it’s a desolate place.
The heroine Kira Jordan, survived the murder of her family at the age of 16 and has become a person on the streets with no real home. She lives by her wits and by ripping off anyone she can. Not exactly heroine material, but it really works as we see inside her head and rather than hard, she’s just desperate.
She’s just finished lifting a pair of great running shoes when something happens and she wakes up chained to someone. The ‘someone’ turns out to be Rogan, a man who has spent the past four years in prison for the rape and murder of a number of college students. It seems they have to work together in a real life, real time video game in which if they fail the six levels they have to get through, the result is death. To make the ‘game’ even more intriguing, they each have been given implants that prevent them from being more than 90 feet away from each other. They are forced to play six levels of a game, all the while being watched by a group of ‘subscriber’s observing their every move.
It ends up being such a roller coaster ride. I found it very hard to put down and on more than one occasion I was late back from my lunch and breaks at work.
(In fact I may have been so excited about this book, I stayed home from work to finish reading it and got busted by my son when he showed up unexpectedly on a day off to borrow my lawnmower and saw my car. I’m not saying that did happen, cause that would have been wrong of this good little worker bee to do – but I just might have done it)
The concept reminded me somewhat of the movie The Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger – (based on a book by Stephen King but I haven’t read the Stephen King novel). And probably some Matrix should be thrown in too. It was fast-paced, a thrill of a run and a great love story all combined into one. It was like nothing I’ve ever read before but something I could REALLY get on board with.
Rogan turns out to be not exactly as she thinks he is and as they play the game they are forced to play, he is slowly revealed to be a true tortured hero.
Although this book isn’t out until August, I was so excited and so pumped about it, I just had to do this review now.
This one is a Do Not Miss book and my advice is to mark you calendars for August when this real treat of a book goes on sale!
Grade: 5 out of 5