Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Release Date: 3/9/2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 48
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free finished copy from Penguin Platform , via The Write Reads Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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.
Not often do I agree with the comparison lines that are ascribed to books but this one is on the money. I really does have that Knives Out vibe to it and if you are a of those kinds of classic mysteries you will definitely enjoy this one!
The major stand out for this book is its writing. it is extremely well thought out, paced to perfection and writing has such momentum to it that it is very difficult to put this book down. It does an excellent job of pulling you threw the whirlwind upheaval to Avery’s life, the overwhelming situation she now finds herself in as well as really constructing the air of mystery around the Hawthorne. The use of micro-cliffhangers and short sharp chapters has you going "oh Ill just read the next one then i’ll make dinner", and before you know it you have finished the book. The writing just does a very good job of keeping you interested, wanting to learn more and to solve those puzzles.
The mystery itself is gloriously frustrating in the best possible way. While, I will say I guessed one of the BIG twists really early on as the foreshadowing was a little obvious, the main scavenger hunt style was just so much fun to read. The end of every chapter had you asking why? Why Avery? Why do this to his Children/Grandchildren? Why now? It also really has you questioning everything. As we only get the information from Avery’s perspective, we are just in the dark about all of this as she is.
There are so many different motivations and machinations intertwining that you, as the reader, have no idea who to trust! The Hawthorne family really do capture the same vibes as Knives Out did. They are all as bad as each other with their own selfish motivations. But they are also deeply flawed and vulnerable in their own ways. Honestly, I wish we had gotten to know them a little more but that would have taken out some of the mystery and the who to trust vibe that makes this book great. Avery herself is a really believable character. She wants to act strong and determined but she is lonely and scared and intimidated by her current situation.
The only thing, for me, that let this book down was the ending. I wanted to be left reeling from the BIG reveal and then maybe get some set up for book to but instead for me it was a little "oh, that’s it" and "hmmm, I saw that coming" which is always a little disappointing. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed all the twists, turns and backstabbing and will definitely be diving into the second book next year.