For the month of March, the Kahok book club read the first book of Jennifer Lynn Barnes newest series: The Inheritance Games, which is a mystery-thriller and slight romance. It starts off with a girl named Avery Kiley Grambs living in her car after her sister rebounded with her abusive boyfriend. She gets called down to the principal’s office one day to see a man in fancy attire. He surprises her with a call to the will reading of a man she’s never met, Tobias Hawthorne. She arrives to find that she has inherited $40 billion dollars with no explanation as to why. Avery was stuck in the house with the Hawthornes and couldn’t leave to see anyone else due and was surrounded by the same few people for the entire book. The entire Hawthorne family is now against her and she must solve a multi-step puzzle and a series of challenges to overcome to uncover the mystery as to why she inherited his money and possessions. . There were loose ends and the story didn’t entirely make sense. It left even some of their biggest mysteries with anti-climatic answers or they just didn’t do anything about their issues. It felt as if Barnes was flying by the seat of her pants while writing the book.
My personal opinion on the book is that it was mediocre. It was a quick read with a whopping 92 chapters. I was able to predict everything that was going to happen or the solution of the puzzle. The love story felt forced, and like it didn’t even need to happen. It had the cliché lines of “Don’t fall in love with those Hawthorne boys- you’ll just get hurt” and then she falls in love with the boys and they fall in love with her. The main character was the product of a basic template. Avery was very similar to female main characters in almost every other juvenile fiction book I’ve read. I feel like there should’ve been more depth to the mysteries. The story was pretty juvenile and lacked any particularly complex thinking or characters.
While it was not as good as it could’ve been, it had its moments. It piqued my interest and I wasn’t able to put it down. It revealed a secret LGBTQ relationship at the end with characters you wouldn’t have suspected. The book actually has the power to make you hate characters which is something that tends to be rare nowadays. As much as I disliked the main character, she was relatable. She responded similarly to situations that I feel like any normal teen would. I also particularly liked the twists at the end regarding the Hawthornes’ last relationships and the puzzle behind the inheritance. The idea behind the book was a great one, but the execution was not as good as it could have been. The idea of the maze and secretive house could have been so much better if it was more consistent. I enjoyed the fast paced nature of it and it seemed like everything was over in a blink. The chapters are relatively short, and it takes about 2 or 3 minutes to read each one. It helps keep my attention to know some new conflict happens every chapter. I also really liked the character Xander. He was a naturally smart person in the novel and had a lot of uniqueness. I wish he had more time in the book with Avery.
It isn’t my favorite book but it is worth a read. The beginning of the book had a lot of potential, but it seemed to drag on and get boring as I read. I plan on reading the other two books in the series and hope it gets better. It left on multiple cliffhangers, which is most likely the reason why it had a lot of loose ends. It leaves you wanting to know more every time you put it down, and I spent a lot of time thinking about the book and what things would have meant. I felt as if I was solving those mysteries alongside Avery. It also might have been a don’t judge a book by its cover situation, because the cover of the book was beautiful. It was a very random yet detailed cover. If you like power fantasies, this book is for you. That personally isn’t my favorite genre, and this book felt very young-adulty. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.