Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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.
A Thrill Ride from the Start
The Inheritance Games puts you in the action right from the start. You don’t have a chance to catch your breath because after a few pages something puts you right in the middle of the drama.
And the ride doesn’t slow down. There is intrigue and deception, red herrings and puzzles thrown at us left and right, there is hardly a chance to slow down.
Barnes jams a fun puzzle solving story into 384 pages, and it fits perfectly. Any less or any more, and the story would seem forced in either direction.
The characters push the plot forward and we never know who we can truly trust, and who is against the protagonist.
The characters development in this book are some of the best I have seen in such a short piece. Too often, characters are either too developed where they become unbelievable, or they are underdeveloped where they are as interesting as a soda cracker.
We get introduced to just over a dozen different characters that are prominent in this story, and the only one we can trust completely is the protagonist.
The characters are often simply written, but that simplicity is explored to its fullest extent.
I wouldn’t say any of the characters are deeply explored, but each of them has an idea or personality that they embody, and Barnes develops them perfectly.
There are a handful of characters we should be able to trust in the story, but Barnes’ writing makes it so that we can’t trust anyone else in the story. This only adds to the tension that the story already had.
A Simple but Effective Mystery
I don’t often read mystery books, but when they are written well, they can be a lot of fun and thrilling.
Barnes’ gives us an escape room type mystery that takes place on the land of an impossibly large mansion.
With almost anything as a possibility in the mansion, The Inheritance Games follows the protagonist and a group of four brothers as they try to get in the mind of their now deceased grandfather.
A mystery doesn’t have to be world ending, or life saving. A mystery can be as simple as finding the answer to the final puzzle your grandfather gave to you.
Barnes takes that simple idea, and expands it into a simple but fun mystery. Her character’s story doesn’t save any lives, but to her, it’s everything. Her world is torn apart, and that means we are invested in what happens to her.
The Inheritance Games is fun and fast-paced read. You’ll be hooked by it from the start, and it will take you for a thrill ride right up until the end.
The ending of the book sets up a good sequel, and the reactions from people online point to a lot of excitement around the sequel when it comes out.