Book review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published September 1st 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

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.

My rating: ⭐⭐

Rant time or knives out abs out and why should I sympathize with these filthy rich dickheads?

Books like The Inheritance Games turn people into mass murderers. You are supposed to sympathize with the characters but instead, you scroll in your head 20 different ways they could die. My recent favorite: An atomic bomb drops on the mansion of the famous billionaire and philanthropist Tobias Hawthorne and his many relatives.

The inheritance games is pitched young adult Knives out. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, you can remember how utterly despicable the family was in that one. But it had character. Every member of the family had a motive; they weren’t soulless, even if they were evil or petty or just losers. My point is, you had a connection with them. What do we have in The inheritance games? A bunch of filthy rich assholes who can’t seem to stop pushing in our faces what a fucking seventh wonder of the world their mansion is. With a bowling alley, mind you! And solarium. And 1489325975 libraries. And secret passages. Let alone material possessions like cars, planes, and so on. Despicable, right?

But wait, they are the good guys because they do charity! In an absolutely calculated faceless way. There was more emotion in describing their possessions than the said charity. For all I know you launder money through donations. Or eat orphans. There was actually a recent scandal when a well respected 70-something years old head of a fashion house turned out to be the owner of a sex club, located right on his villa. Women, who worked for this ‘respectable’ gentleman as seamstresses were turned into sexual slavery. It was noted that Prince Charles once visited that villa.

Getting back to our charitable philanthropists, their lives felt like a carbon version of Santa Barbara mashed with Rich also cry blah blah.

But to hell with the rich, you’d say! We have Ovary,
sorry – Avery – our main character.

And this is where the harem story starts.

Avery is aweovariesstruck with the Hawthorne brothers the minute she meets them. I honestly lost count of how many times the word touch was repeated. Probably as many as Avery’s newly acquired wealth. Billions.

Jameson Hawthorne was here, in my bedroom, at night. I was wearing my pajamas, and his body was listing toward mine.

“Don’t touch me,” I said, but even as I stepped back, I could feel something—the same something I’d felt when I brushed up against Grayson back at the foundation. A thing I had no business feeling—for either of them.

His knee is touching mine. His hands are on me. I felt more aware of my own body, my own skin, than I could ever remember feeling. Don’t feel. Just look.

He pulled back from the kiss, his lips only an inch away from mine. “I always knew you were special.”

He was touching me, and all I wanted was to let him. Let him protect me. Let him touch me.

Look, I am really jealous of Avery. The bitch got to ogle four yummy pieces of abs! Two of them are pitched as main love interests. To sum up their personalities: one doesn’t like to wear a shirt, and the other one likes to wear a shirt with a tie.

And then Avery starts playing Clue with them. And by clue, I mean not the mystery part where you run around the mansion looking for hints. Nope, this clue is more like pluck-a-petal-from-a-daisy-and-gues-if-this-boy-likes-me-or-if-another-boy-is-going-to-kiss-me. Come on, OvaryAvery you have billions of money, you can just make them your love slaves, lock them in your newly acquired dungeon and play clue with both of them all day long. You are filthy rich now, why should you choose one boy if you can have two for the price of zero!

“And here I was thinking your priorities all had the last name Hawthorne.”

What was it with me and Hawthorne boys? Stop thinking about his smile. Stop looking at his lips. Just—stop.

Do you even want to know about the mystery under the circumstances? I admit I wanted to, at first. But my enthusiasm quickly diminished with the accelerating amount of touching. Honestly, this book is no Clue, everything is pretty obvious by half of the book, and the rest i just meh if you are a real mystery seeker in the books you read.

The cutting line:The Inheritance Games is just another cliched young adult angsty story aiming to get a piece of hype from brilliant titles like Knives Out and Clue. Absolutely unlikable, in a cardboard sense, characters, bland romance with no chemistry present whatsoever, and a boring mystery that makes you yawn more from boredom than to gasp from twists. If you are looking for an amazing YA mystery, look at Truly Devious direction instead.


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