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One Hell Of A Ride, Riddle And Love Triangle In This YA Novel The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games is so good I just don’t know where to begin! I started reading it on a rainy day during my vacation, and it’s a good thing the weather was crap too, because otherwise I would have lost a particularly good day of being out, unable to unglue myself from the book and look at any of my surroundings even one bit.

The Inheritance Games just draws you in and you kind of don’t want to stop reading to even grab a bite.

It’s a mystery, a game and a thriller all in one – but it’s not a violent kind of horror thriller (the kind I’m too soft for) – it just sort of challenges your mind, without you having to worry for the characters’ lives too much (you should rather worry about their broken hearts!)

The Inheritance Games is kind of like Donna Tartt’s Secret History, if it was YA.
A mystery, a game and a thriller all in one – this YA novel draws you right in! Check out The Inheritance Games by @jenlynnbarnes: Click To Tweet

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

★★★★★ 5 stars
How I read this:
free review copy for blog tour

Avery Grambs is struggling to pull herself through high school and make something of her life, after her mother died and she’s been left to stay with a sister who has an abusive boyfriend.

Life is confusing enough, when something unbelievable happens. Apparently, Avery has inherited a HUGE sum of money from a man she’s never even heard of in her life, and she has no idea why. Neither do his family members.

So Avery is whisked away into a new life that’s more confusing than ever before. And this new life will include many riddles, the biggest of which is… Why her?

Riddles All The Way Down

Probably the best thing about this book is the riddles. The whole premise is built on a family patriarch who loved riddles so much that he’d gladly disinherit his whole family just so he can make them play one last game. So it’s no wonder you’ll be solving riddles throughout the whole book.

And I mean, you don’t have to – it’s not a ‘choose your adventure’ story, you don’t have to actually solve anything. You’ll learn the story either way. But the thing is, you won’t want to let the characters solve the riddles before you do. You’ll be solving the riddle alongside them. This is what makes this book such a good thriller! (Plus, you know. Some characters ARE in danger.)

Inheritance Games on my Pocketbook

An image of The Inheritance Games on my Pocketbook Color, with some flowers and candies arranged around it (copyright AvalinahsBooks, taken by me)

The Dynamic Between The Characters

The reason The Inheritance Games reminded me of Donna Tartt’s Secret History so much was because the character dynamic was very similar. In both stories, there are people who have always been used to the rich life, to having whatever they want, to the culture that surrounds being rich and that particular group’s interests. And then there’s the interloper, trying to solve some riddle, but always on the outside, never quite knowing what’s going on or what game is even being played.

It is similar in this story. Avery certainly benefited by the inheritance, but she also got in a huge mess. The family and the house has a lot of secrets, and none of it makes life for Avery safe – or even pleasant, for that matter.

All the people seem to have some sort of agenda, but it’s unclear what it is, and they all have something to say about each other behind one another’s backs. All of this forms a strong story, and jumbles everything up as much as it did for me when I was reading the Secret History.

inheritance games on my pocketbook again

A more close-up image of The Inheritance Games cover on my Pocketbook Color (copyright AvalinahsBooks, taken by me)

The Four Brothers

The four Hawthorne brothers are really the whole charm of this book. I really loved how those characters were crafted. There’s a thing about YA and brothers, a lot of tropes that can be used that will have a big effect, if done right – and I believe they were used very nicely in The Inheritance Games.

There’s a brother who’s aloof, there’s a driven one, there’s a menacing one who’s actually something of a softie inside, and there’s one who’s just sticking to the sidelines. They’re a perfect group – they really drive the story.

Insert some unresolved emotional drama from the past and a love triangle, and we’re ready to go!

Four brothers – one aloof, one driven, one menacing but actually a softie, and one just on the sidelines. Insert love triangle and unresolved drama, and GO GO GO! This is The Inheritance Games: Click To Tweet

Impostor Syndrome

I also really liked Avery’s part in this story – inheriting a huge fortune is all nice and good, but for Avery, it obviously comes at a price. Not only is she shoved into a world that’s completely alien to her, there’s also animosity from all sides, and physical danger too.

Avery has to deal with having to live with the people she disinherited without any design of her own, and not only that – as she gets more and more involved with the last riddle of the old man, she keeps wondering whether her being herself even means anything.

Is she just a tool? Is she just a name? Was she chosen randomly? Does she even matter, or is she wallpaper, as she used to think of herself all her life before the inheritance?

Who is Avery Grambs and why did she inherit millions? Was she chosen randomly? Or is there a dark secret involved? The Inheritance Games will keep you guessing: Click To Tweet

The House Was… Pretty Incredible, Actually?!!

So the house Avery ends up in… is pretty awesome! I mean, it’s a huge mansion of a rich, intellectual old man who loves riddles. Of course you’d expect that the author would indulge the reader at least a little!

But we get more than just that. The house is full of riddles, and despite only getting to know a little of them, we are left with the feeling that THERE’S SO MUCH MORE to it that we’re not seeing – and that’s a feeling I wish more books had. But even aside from that… The Hawthorne House doesn’t just have one library. It doesn’t just have TWO either.

I’ll just leave it at that.

a big library

This is more or less how I imagined the Hawthorne library – well, one of them! A wide round space with wooden cabinets full of books, three stories high, cozy lights coming from the ceiling and desks in the middle. Image courtesy of Pexels from Pixabay


It was SO amazing! Seriously, you all need to read The Inheritance Games. I am so grateful that I got on this blog tour!!! If you want adventure, a spunky main character and a fresh take on an inheritance story, you’ve got it right here. I definitely can’t wait for those sequels!

The Inheritance Games by @jenlynnbarnes is kind of like Donna Tartt's Secret History, if it was YA! It's AMAZING and you NEED TO READ IT: Click To Tweet

I thank the publisher and The Write Reads tours for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.


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Have you recently read any great YA full of riddles and with just the right tropes?