Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lyn Barnes
Publisher: Little Brown Books
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. Review: This is a review for The Inheritance Games audiobook.
Plot: The first few chapters of this young adult novel really drew me into the story, but once Avery arrived at Hawthorne House, the plot stalled. I love a good puzzle and enjoy shuffling the pieces with fictional characters. Unfortunately, The Inheritance Games bored the heck out of me. One of the two “big” reveals felt rather silly. Tobias Hawthorne’s little game lacked maturity and intrigue for such a distinguished entrepreneur. I kept saying “Really? Really Tobias? That’s the reason for the game?” The final and biggest reveal was incredibly predictable and left me unsatisfied.
Characters: The Hawthorne boys never held my attention. I’m not sure if it was the narrator’s annoying southern drawl she used for Grayson, Jameson, Nash, and Alexander or their mannerisms, but in my humble opinion, they all fell flat. As for Avery, the protagonist, she hit every mark for the unremarkable teenage girl in young adult fiction who gets thrown into a new environment, struggles to fit in, gets a glow up, then attracts the attention of multiple boys. The side characters piqued my interest, but not enough to make up for the slow paced plot.
Writing: Author Jennifer Lynn Barnes created a casual mystery for young readers. Technically, I found nothing wrong with her writing. My only complaint is the story itself or the lack thereof. Her descriptions painted a simple picture of the characters and setting. Hawthorne House got the most attention, which I found entertaining, but as a fellow Texan, I struggled to identify the exact location in the Lone Star state. One minute the characters were in a vast forest, the next they’re near the ocean. The dialogue between characters flowed naturally, and only a few overused words snagged my attention.
Final Thoughts: Because my reader taste has matured, I doubt I will continue this trilogy. I need more grit and intensity from both the plot and characters. I would recommend this book to young readers who enjoy contemporary YA novels.
Escapism Factor: 3/5
Emotional Connection: 2/5
Character Development: 3/5
Completed Read: November 2021