Review: The Inheritance Games (books 1-3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
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.
This is a review of the whole trilogy, because these are the three parts of the same story in my opinion, not three separate stories.
Let me make it clear, I am an occasional reader of YA books. And on those rare occasions when I pick up a YA book, I would rarely review it. Why? Because I realize that I am not a target reader for many young adult tropes and young adult romance is, more often than not, amongst those tropes. So I do not think it would be fair to review something I expected not to like because of me.
However, these books are different. I did not pick this trilogy up for romance. I was curious about the riddle, games, etc. and how well it would be incorporated in the plot, because when I stumbled upon it when checking out amazon kindle deals (the third book was on sale, the first two were not), I was half expecting “choose your own adventure” books. Solve the riddle one way, and the book will go to this scenario, solve the puzzle another way, something else will happen. Basically I was intrigued enough to click on the first book and then on the second and the third.
Thank goodness, the books are not written in “choose your own adventure” style. The characters solve riddles and play games as part of the plot and overarching question of the story is why Tobias Hawthorne chose Avery as his heiress. I have to say that while sometimes I thought that playing the game as a way to locate something or somebody was a ridiculous idea, overall I think games as part of the story was pretty well done.
Oh, I thought the characters made plenty of ridiculous, outlandish, not believable at all decisions, but at the same time a lot of it kind of made sense to me (emphasis on kind of) while I was reading the books. If you buy the initial premise, you can just go with the flow (often enough anyway).
I was also surprised that the books actually did the thriller storyline pretty well in my opinion. Several times Avery was in serious danger and I was actually worried for her and I could not pick up the villain right away.
I did not find the romance in those books very impressive either and absolutely not because of whom the main character ended up with. After all, I found all four of the Hawthorne brothers to be written in a remarkably similar way. They are all tortured, brilliant, exceptionally brilliant. Well, maybe Xander was a little less tortured which was refreshing, but two of the boys between whom Avery had to choose very much were in my opinion. The good thing to me though was that as much as the blurb may lead you to believe otherwise, all four of these boys were quite decent humans and not assholes.
I also do not like love triangles, but I have to say the love triangle in these books was at least tolerable, because to me the main character actually chose pretty early and even if she had an occasional pull towards another boy, nothing really happened in that department. Again, I do not care whom she would have ended up with, I just dislike the triangles per se.
I think the ending was quite strong actually, all questions answered and the story finished with quite a bang.