The Inheritance Games – Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Genre: Young Adult, Thrillers | Pages: 384 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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 con-woman, 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. 

Click on image to buy ‘The Inheritance Games’

I don’t normally read young adult; I don’t find them to my taste. But in this case, it was different. First of all, let me tell you that I received an e-copy of this book from my friend Dave from The Write Reads, who also happens to be the organiser of The Ultimate Blog Tour for this book. Also, the fact that this was a thriller that caught my eye.

The Inheritance Games is about a young teen, Avery Grambs, who is living a difficult life with her sister Libby and wants to leave it all behind by getting a scholarship and moving out. So when she is included in the will of the philanthropist and millionaire Mr. Tobias Hawthorne, she hardly understands the when, why or how of it. Now she is stuck amidst the blood relatives of Hawthorne who; legally, are the actual heirs, but are disinherited and denied that legacy from their deceased. Avery must live with the Hawthornes for a year to be able to claim the inheritance. And thus begins the inheritance game.

First things first, the cover of the kindle edition isn’t really appealing. But who am I to complain; I received a free copy! So yay! The actual green cover, however, is quite catchy will all the mystery elements in it. Also, I love covers with taglines that tease you. So that’s that!

The Cover for the Paperback Edition

The characters are plenty and each with a different mind and purpose. When Avery meets them, she couldn’t tell if they are on her side or the opposite but it is too soon to conclude that and gradually she learns that they too are in it for the inheritance and given the chance, would probably even kill her. Hawthorne’s two daughters and four grandsons dislike her from the start and believe she is somehow related to their deceased. At one point, Avery too starts to wonder if she really is connected. I guess we’ll know in the next book. While Jameson teams up with Avery to solve the many puzzles and riddles, Grayson is looking for answers himself from a distance. Nash doesn’t really care about the inheritance and Alexander is hardly around.

These characters have been built well but explored on the surface and that’s fair because I guess we’ll learn more about them gradually; as there’s a second book on the horizon anyway. Avery feels determined to find the answers, and appears bit more matured than her age. Rest of them amble along. There is a slight hint of a love triangle between Avery and the Hawthorne grandsons; which felt forced, but whether that goes anywhere, we are yet to see.

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The setting is what took the credit, for me. I love queer settings, one-room stories, attic-cellar mysteries where the whole book unfolds within the confines of a small room. That, I guess, tests true depths of a writer’s talent. In this case, the labyrinth of a mansion with its secret passages, puzzle-paved turns, multiple libraries, daunting largeness, is more intriguing than any of the characters. I guess I’d love to be a part of such a place.

The writing is fast-paced; except in places where the narration runs a bit too long. It is for that reason that the initial fifty odd pages feel a drag. The chill and thrill is well-placed after that and tied to the plot. The tension that the task exudes permeates the characters with just as much intensity as their will to unearth the big secret. I haven’t read anything from this author before but something tells me that I am going to lookout for the sequel.

The Inheritance Games is a young adult fantasy with many hooks to captivate the reader. The family secrets, a thrilling chase for fortune, manipulations and trickery, pawns and patrons, all make it for a promising read. Don’t let the interest wear off; which might happen in the beginning. Persevere and you might end up liking it. It all felt like a mix between The Hunger Games and Da Vinci Code, and might become a great movie; if ever adapted.

This review is a part of the #UltimateBlogTour organised by Dave from The Write Reads. I received an ARC but the review remains unbiased.

Have you read ‘The Inheritance Games’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem! 

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