‘The Inheritance Games’ – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
She came from nothing.
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future.
Then an eccentric billionaire dies, leaving her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.
They had everything.
Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited.
It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives –
a family hell-bent on discovering why Avery got ‘their’ money.
Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all.
Soon she is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing.
But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?
This was such a twisty-turny story and I enjoyed every page of it. I loved the blurb and the book proved as good as I had hoped.
Despite this possibly being aimed at young adult readers, I think people of all ages would enjoy this. Avery, the protagonist, has yet to turn 18, so I think younger readers could imagine a part of themselves with her. On the other hand, older readers will relish trying to unravel the mystery that Avery finds herself in.
Imagine inheriting billions of dollars from a man whom you have never met, never heard of until you are summoned to the hearing of his will. This is the dilemma that Avery is forced into; it soon becomes apparent that the Hawthornes are, naturally, begrudging of this stranger displacing them all. Suddenly, Avery is a threat to the indulgent lifestyle they have always known. As for Avery, thrust into this new world, she tries to understand the reason why she has been left this fortune. Discovering more than just secret passages, Avery soon realises that there are more clues beyond the initial reading of the will.
I thought this was a really cleverly written story. I was surprised at how short the chapters were; some only a couple of pages, but nothing too long across the book. I think this would add appeal to young readers because it is easy to dip in and out of. However, this did not create a disjointed narrative; instead I felt the pace quicken incessantly as Avery got closer to solving the mystery and the threat towards her simultaneously increased.
The Hawthorne estate sounded absolutely amazing. Barnes vividly describes such a large estate that it left my mind boggled! I could not imagine a mansion of such proportions that would host a bowling alley, climbing wall, home cinema and countless wings. The hidden passages were a brilliant touch and these became embedded in the development of the narrative.
All of the Hawthorne brothers have unique qualities to offer to the story and I think all readers would find they have a favourite! Xander’s quirky personality was my favourite and I think there is more to come from him in the sequel (more on that soon). On the other hand, I really could not warm to Avery’s friend, Max. I despised her way of talking and found it completely irritating. Barnes has created a young girl with such strict parents, they have forbidden her from swearing in the slightest. This means that Max creates a new language, like a rhyming slang to link to known swear words. Personally, I thought it was just overkill and Max should have been been able to express herself without profanities. This would also have kept this book suitable to the younger reader demographic.
Knowing that there is a sequel coming out next autumn makes me want to squeal! An entire year to wait! I don’t think I can’t hold out that long! Barnes leaves the novel open at the end and there is even more of a mystery to solve. If the sequel is anything like this one, it will also be a massive rollercoaster.
I really enjoyed this story. The mystery and puzzles kept me intrigued and I felt as curious as Avery in the book. I could not help but compare her to Alice from Alice in Wonderland; when Avery hears of the will, she is like Alice going down the rabbit hole. Who knows what she will find?
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.