Monday, May 31, 2021

Book Review: The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Inheritance Games
Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Publication Date: September 1st 2020
Print Length: 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch -- and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

I love love love these type of mystery books where riddles are involved. When I heard about The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, I was instantly intrigued. I was not disappointed. In fact, The Inheritance Games reminded me a lot of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin although it wasn't a clone of it, thankfully.

I felt like the plot was solid. Although it is highly improbable that a teenager would be heir to a will of a random stranger and have to solve riddles to find out why, it could still be possible. My interest was piqued, and I found The Inheritance Games to be quite the page turner. The chapters would usually end in a small cliffhanger causing me to want to learn more and begin reading from the next chapter. Before I knew it, I had finished the book quite quickly. It was interesting to see Avery, the main character, go from being very poor to the richest person in the world. I enjoyed finding out why Tobias Hawthorne left her everything. I kept guessing as to why, but my theories were quickly shot down when it became apparent I was wrong. Becoming a billionaire placed Avery's life in danger and even more so when Tobias' family discovered they weren't getting much from Tobias at the reading of the will. Not only did Avery have to try to find out why Tobias chose her for his sole heir, but she also had to try to stay alive! While there weren't any major plot twists in this book, there are quite a few small ones that will leave the reader guessing. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a major reveal as to why Avery was chosen as Tobias' heir. It was a little underwhelming and anti-climatic to discover why he had chose Avery. This book does end with a cliffhanger since it is going to be a series. However, the main questions I had within the first book in The Inheritance Games series were all answered.

I loved each and every character in The Inheritance Games with the exception of Avery's best friend Max. Don't get me wrong, each character felt realistic and fleshed out enough, but Max was just annoying. Max has very strict parents, and Avery's only interactions with Max are through phone calls and texts. However, the way Max spoke was what was annoying. She didn't swear, so she'd use non-swear words for swear words. However, every other word was a would be swear word. I am not exaggerating. I don't think I've ever met a teen where they would swear that much or use other words in place of swear words that often. It just got annoying quickly, and I found myself dreading whenever Max was featured. I did love all the other characters though. I loved Avery and her thirst for knowledge. Avery was a very smart girl with a good head on her shoulders. I admired the way she could quickly work out any puzzle or riddle. I liked reading about her thought process towards figuring something out. I felt like Avery was also very selfless. Jameson, one of the Hawthorne brothers, was another character I really loved. His smarts for figuring out riddles and puzzles were also admirable. Grayson, another Hawthorne brother, was a bit of a wild horse. I never knew if I could trust him or not. (Although I didn't really know if I could trust anyone while reading The Inheritance Games. I kept trying to figure out if there were any ulterior motives at play.) Grayson's wanting to help out people whether it was Avery or his community through the Hawthorne Foundation was commendable. Nash, the oldest Hawthorne brother, was so stereotypically Texan that it made me laugh (as I am from Texas), but I loved it! Nash's laid back attitude was refreshing. Alexander, the youngest Hawthorne brother, wasn't featured as much for me to fully form an opinion, but I liked what I read about him. Avery's sister Libby had awesome dress sense, and I did love how she looked out for her sister for the most part. Figuring out Emily's role in all this was interesting. I would have liked to see more backstory about Emily and Rebecca (the hired helps daughters) though. They both had the potential to really flesh the story out more.

Trigger warnings for The Inheritance Games include some violence, some gun violence, attempted murder, and death.

Overall, The Inheritance Games is a quick paced read full of mystery and intrigue that will leave its readers not wanting to put it down. I would definitely recommend The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to those aged 14+ who love a fast paced mystery that will leave them guessing throughout the book. I can not wait for the next book in the series!


  1. Max was the worst character, I absolutely agree.

  2. I didn’t find max that annoying, but I could definitely see how she was. She practically couldn’t get through a sentence without saying “Mother-faxing”