Saturday 29 July 2023

CBR15 Book 34: "The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Page count: 348 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Official book description:
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.

I read this book while on a short break from school in the middle of May while visiting my father in Sweden. My Dad can be challenging to spend time with at the best of times, so having something fun and light-hearted to read is a bonus. There was a lot to like about this book, and I'm absolutely going to keep reading the series to find out what is going on, but there were also things that kind of annoyed me.

Things I wasn't wild about:
- Not ONE but two love triangles, one in the present involving our heroine and two Hawthorne brothers, but also one in the past, also involving two Hawthorne brothers
- While a lot of the puzzles and mysterious goings-on were entertaining, some also felt like they were included just to pad out the plot. 
- Two and a half months after reading the book, I can pretty much remember only one character trait for most of the characters, and I'm pretty sure that is because a lot of the people in this book aren't developed well enough to have more than that one trait.
- At least two of the Hawthorne brothers made me roll my eyes every time they appeared, which isn't great when one of them is one-third of the present-day love triangle. 

Things that worked for me:
- The book kept me reading, and a lot of the chapters end on a cliffhanger or make you curious to keep going.
- Avery is a very likable protagonist, and the mystery of exactly why she's suddenly inherited a truly incomprehensible amount of money, quite possibly at the strange whim of a cantankerous old man. 
- While it's hard to have too much sympathy with handsome young men who have grown up in extreme privilege, Tobias Hawthorne doesn't exactly sound like the most loving of grandfathers. It sounds exhausting constantly having to prove yourself, inventing things, constantly solving puzzles, never knowing how to prove yourself good enough - and setting all four brothers in competition with each other - not cool, Granddad. So I guess I do have some sympathy, after all. 
- I liked the relationship between Avery and her sister.

I really wish Jennifer Lynn Barnes hadn't introduced the dreaded YA love triangle, possibly one of my least favourite tropes. Especially since it also seems that the Hawthorne brother that Avery is the most attracted to is one of the most exasperating and annoying characters in the book. Nevertheless, I am intrigued enough that I'll be finishing the series.

Judging a book by its cover: Quite often, I prefer the UK covers of books over the American ones, but in this case, the UK covers are just incredibly boring, while the American ones are in gorgeous jewel tones, with an absolute wealth of details from the book hidden among the flowers, ribbons, and vines that seem to make up the background. I have made sure that my entire trilogy is with American covers for this very reason.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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