Jennifer Lynn Barnes ushers readers into a world of puzzles and secrets in the first book of a trilogy

“The Inheritance Games”: A Review

Jennifer Lynn Barnes ushers readers into a world of puzzles and secrets in the first book of a trilogy

By Kass Fullerton, staff writer

     “The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes follows main character Avery through a winding, mysterious Cinderella story. 

     The story begins with Avery being summoned to the front office at her school, where she is told by Grayson—the second-eldest son of the filthily wealthy Hawthorne family—that Tobias Hawthorne has died and she is entitled to a portion of his inheritance. 

     Upon arriving at Hawthorne house, a wooden castle serving as a cacophony of puzzles and mysteries in Dallas, Texas, she meets the rest of the Hawthorne brothers—Nash, Jameson, and Xander. Tobias Hawthorne’s will is read, and Avery is shocked to find herself an heiress, of billions, when the biological grandsons didn’t receive a penny. 

     Indoctrinated into a polished life of jewels and riches overnight, Avery is ushered into a fairy tale full of mysteries, scandals, and more money than one person would ever need, all of which she frequently vents about over the phone to her best friend and partner in crime Maxine Liu.

     She deals with constant adversity from the disinherited Hawthornes, her returned deadbeat dad, her sister’s abusive ex-boyfriend, and the millions of people all pondering the same mystery as herself; why her? She seemed plucked at random from the masses, and it’s up to her and the Hawthorne brothers to find out what Tobias Hawthorne’s secret was. 

     Along the way, she unravels the mystery of Jameson and Grayson’s ex-girlfriends obscured death through a chain of interlocking twists and puzzles—all set by Tobias himself before his death. Through all of this, Avery battles her feelings for Jameson and loathing of Grayson, Maxine in tow.

     Avery and the Hawthornes play Tobias’ game to the very end, where they think the mystery is solved until Xander, the youngest Hawthorne brother, discovers a piece that sets up another side of the mystery, and has everyone involved grasping for answers.

     Barnes’ prose suits the story perfectly. The way she conveys varying personalities and conflicting emotions through words to invoke feelings in the readers is flawless. Her figurative language sparks new trains of thought and her original comparisons leave basic exposition obsolete. The story she tells feels new and rich, heaped with twists, clues, and clever loopholes. Barnes has created a world filled to the brim with winding secrets, and where nothing is ever what it seems.

     Anyone who likes books about mysteries and puzzles with a side of angst-loaded romance would like this book. With mild romance and moderate language, and a few mild innuendos, this book is probably best for those above the age of twelve. This book is also the start to a trilogy, so anyone looking for a thrilling adventure to dive into would enjoy this series.