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#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My dearest bookish friends!

Dave from TheWriteReads has done it again! I know the upcoming blog tour for The Inheritance Games will be MASSIVE, because this book literally occupied my mind and brain for the past 48 hours! I spent the whole weekend either reading the book or thinking about it, trying to figure out what the various clues and codes and hints could possibly mean. And now that I’ve turned the final page, all I can say is: Wow. I’m honestly blown away! The first few months of the year were not so good book-wise (and also world-wise, as you are all aware), but now I suddenly seem to be reading one 5-star book after the other, and my bookish heart couldn’t be happier! Oh, did I just spoiler the rating? Well… you would have found out soon enough anyway. Now brace yourselves for this incredibly wild ride of a book! Here goes…

The Synopsis

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 Review

What would you do with a billion dollars? Quite the question, isn’t it? Well, Avery, our main character here, doesn’t really get much of a chance to think about all the cars, mansions, islands or whatever else she could buy with her newly acquired fortune. Because as it seems, there’s people who want to see her dead. And it could be that they live under the same roof with her.

What a shock! The same shock that Avery must have felt surging through her veins as when she was ripped out of her (quite miserable, but still ordinary) life as a normal teenager and flown into Texas with her half-sister in order to attend the reading of the last will of a billionaire, philanthropist, and genius mastermind – one she has never heard of nor ever met in her entire life. And yet, it is not Tobias Hawthorne’s children or grandsons who inherit his fortune, but Avery. No one could be more shocked about this revelation than Avery herself. Why did this man leave her all his money and worldly possessions?

But with every great surprise comes a catch. Avery has to live one year in Hawthorne House – together with the entire family. Even though the mansion is more than just that –  bigger than any place Avery could ever imagine, and big enough to house a whole football team without ever coming across them, Avery is faced with many hardships, and some of them potentially deadly. And then there are all the questions. Why did the old man leave his wealth to Avery, a girl he has never met, instead of his own flesh and blood? What does the short letter mean that Avery received at the reading of the will? And will Avery survive one year in the Hawthorne household, without getting killed – and without falling for one of the smart, beautiful and mysterious Hawthorne boys? Questions upon questions!

Hawthorne House
I absolutely loved the gigantic house Avery moved into after finding out she has become an heiress. There are so many unusual rooms, a whole lot of libraries (yay! Guess where I would spend all my time!), a spa, a bowling alley, a couple of cinemas, gyms, whole wings for the individual people and separate ones for all the staff, and it is just enormous, too big to even wrap my head around. But what I loved most about it was all the secret tunnels, passageways and hidden compartments in the walls and furniture everywhere. Avery could never be sure to be alone in her room(s), and I was so excited whenever she turned a latch or knob and opened up a new hidden place!

The Hawthornes
The Hawthorne family… well, they are a complicated bunch. I kind of hated them, but I also kind of loved them. Yes, especially the Hawthorne boys (of course!). It must be awesome in many regards to grow up with so much money, but that kind of wealth (insanely huge numbers!) also comes with many downsides. Downsides which probably explain why some of them are too cunning, too clever, too competitive, downright treacherous and vile. The interesting – and probably most dangerous thing about them though is that they can all be very charming – when they want to be. Avery has to be very careful around them, and so did I. It was more than hard to figure out when it was a good idea to trust any of the Hawthornes. Which didn’t make it impossible to fall for their charms, though!

Friends and Family 
Avery lost her mum only shortly before the story begins, and has lived with her older half-sister Libby and her terrible and abusive boyfriend ever since. Libby and Avery get on very well, even though they are completely different personalities, and I loved that Avery had someone close to her with her when her life changed from one day to the next. I have to admit, I was suspicious of Libby for a while, but…well, I will leave it at the ‘but.’ Besides Libby, Avery only had one real friend – Max. She was so funny and made me laugh out loud (actually out loud!) with some of her made-up insults (her parents are very strict), because she got super creative with them (“mother-foxing” and “holy ship” being only some of them – you can probably guess what they mean). If there is one thing I absolutely can’t stand it is fake friends that stab your back when you don’t look – in real life and in books – so I was more than releaved to find that in Max, Avery had found a true friend – even when the circumstances changed (to say mildly). Then there is Alysa and Oren, the two people who are now working for Avery and are supposed to protect her and introduce her to this new life. They both seemed very nice, competent and driven to facilitate Avery’s transition to this new phase, so I was glad she was not alone with all the hardships that came with being an heiress. And with all the newly-acquired enemies, Avery did well to have some people to really trust in. But the feeling was always there, this nagging thought – can she really trust them all?

The Riddles
The riddles, enigmas, puzzles and mysteries. You can’t write a review of The Inheritance Games without mentioning them, because they are what this book is about at the base. Tobias Hawthorne didn’t function without them – and neither did Avery’s mum (even though both played completely different games). Could there be a clue in that? Hmm. I’ll let you find out! After the reading of the will, the entire Hawthorne family, plus Libby and Avery, are shell-shocked. While some of the Hawthorne’s go into self-defense and are looking for legal ways to get rid of Avery or have the will questioned (or even changed!), the four Hawthorne boys have received a letter each – filled with a riddle. And so has Avery. I absolutely loved guessing along with her, and trying to figure it out ahead of time (I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t make it). I also loved seing the boys involved in trying to figure out why their grandfather has left Avery all his fortune, some more than others. And then, in the end, when it seems as if they have figured it out, and are all shocked to see… whatever it was that they found out (hehe), they still didn’t know everything.

Summing up…
I am really not lying when I say this was feeling like participating in a car race on a race track. I had buckled up my seat-belt but wasn’t ready for what I encountered – not in the slightest. It must have felt like that when Avery found out she has inherited billions – like this but times a hundred. I loved reading about all these characters (even though it did take me a bit in the beginning to keep them all apart), even those I grew to dislike strongly, or didn’t trust at all right from the start. They all had their role to play, and they made this book what it is: A thrilling mystery with more riddles than Sherlock Holmes could have solved in a lifetime! I couldn’t get enough of this brilliantly woven tale full of family secrets, intrigue, forbidden love, and a teenager who tries to find her place in the world – and in the very house she has inherited, a house already filled with half a dozen potential life-threatening enemies.

A highly recommended YA mystery that deserves more than 5 stars – and will stay with me for a long while!

Thank you so much to Penguin and TheWriteReads for a copy of this brilliant novel! It will get a special place on my shelves. (Receiving a free ARC of this book did not influence my review in any way. All views are my own.)

I hope you check out the rest of the tour – you can find it on Twitter on the TheWriteReads account!

Thank you all so much for reading!

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