Today Marshmallow reviews The Inheritance Games, a 2020 novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like young adult novels with mystery, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): High-schooler Avery Kylie Grambs has recently discovered that she has been included in the will of Tobias Hawthorne, a rich philanthropist who recently died. However, Avery has no idea why she is in the will. She is not related to him, as far as she knows, and has, in fact, never seen him in her life. She didn’t even know who he was until recently.
Eventually, she attends the reading of the will, which has been delayed until she can attend. Hawthorne’s two daughters and four grandsons are dismayed to learn that out of his forty-six point two billion dollars, they only receive a couple hundred thousand dollars each. Avery, on the other hand, receives the rest of his money, along with all of his possessions, including his house. The only term for this is that she must live in his house for a year. This clearly does not sit well with Hawthorne’s relatives, especially one of his daughters. Skye Hawthorne had hoped that her four sons would receive a majority of the money.
Now that everything is owned by Avery, the Hawthornes have different reactions. Nash Hawthorne, the eldest grandson of Tobias, doesn’t really show up too much. Grayson Hawthorne, the grandson that everyone thought would receive most of the inheritance, believes that Avery somehow conned Tobias into writing her into his will. Jameson, the second youngest, is intrigued by Avery. Xander, the youngest, doesn’t really have any grudges against Avery, as he never thought he was going to receive a large chunk of the money anyways. Skye, Tobias Hawthorne’s daughter and the mother of Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander, is furious, and together with her sister Zara, she starts to try and figure out a way to “reclaim” the inheritance.
With all this money at stake, the Hawthornes may resort to violence to sort out “the Avery issue”. But Jameson and Avery believe that she was selected for a reason. Tobias Hawthorne was very into puzzles, and Avery and Jameson believe that she is part of the last puzzle of Tobias Hawthorne. But even so, who are the players, and who will win?
Marshmallow’s Review: I think that The Inheritance Games is a good book, but it is part of a series, which I did not know when I started reading. It was a surprise when I realized that the story would continue into a second book, which I have not read yet. So the mystery is not yet fully solved (even though we do figure out eventually why Avery was in the will).
The plot is very well thought out and thought-provoking. Also, the author and Tobias Hawthorne are very fond of word games, especially with names. (Cough, Avery, cough.)
The Inheritance Games has 370 pages, spilt into 91 short chapters. Avery is the narrator, and we meet each character through her eyes. Events unfold through her perspective as well, meaning that puzzles are only resolved when she figures things out. I was able to figure out some things ahead of time, but mostly the mystery kept me guessing.
In short, I found The Inheritance Games intriguing and very interesting. However, I believe that it is intended for older children, certainly a young adult novel. The plot is pretty complicated. And as the first book in a series, The Inheritance Games sets the scene really well for the second one to come. I’m looking forward to reading that, too.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.