A review by literaryweaponry
The Inheritance Games, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


“If there’s one thing the Hawthorne family isn’t, it’s fine. They were a twisted, broken mess before you got here, and they’ll be a twisted, broken mess once you’re gone.” 

Here we are, once again, with a hyped book giving me the “meh” feels. When I picked this up I was very much in the mood for a good mystery. This book sounded fun and had a lot of very positive reviews so I figured it would be a slam dunk. Instead as I sit here over a day since having finished it I’m still a little confused. Not confused about the story, no, it was relatively straight forward, but as to why it is so loved. 

Our main character, Avery, is mildly interesting in the way ya females have unfortunately been written for years. Intelligent but also selfish and single-minded and letting hormones lead the way when they would be better off ignored. She was interesting enough, I suppose, but her willingness to be lead and herded ground on my nerves. Her intelligence was her most interesting character trait, outside of that she was any other ya female you’ve stumbled across in mid ranked novels throughout the 2000s. 

The mystery itself was very much built up to be a huge reveal as you would expect. The clues kept nudging our characters along, pushing them in the desired direction with a bit of gun fire and peril to spice things up when the plot started to drag. I won’t it spoil here but I will say that after all of that build up I really expected a lot bigger reveal at the end. It felt mundane and expected and left me with a very unsatisfied feeling. 

The third core focus of this book are the four grandsons of Tobias Hawthorne’s family. Honestly, they were vaguely interesting but each of them were walking tropes in their own right. We had the good hearted rebel, the quirky and awkward yet brilliant one, the brooding sophisticated one, and the also brilliant yet obsessive one meant as a love interest with a drinking problem. They each had their roll to play (besides the good hearted rebel, I still don’t know what his purpose was besides a place holder) and they did so predictably. 

Overall, the book was pretty much what I would expect from a ya mystery. It didn’t blow my mind or set any new standards for the genre but it also wasn’t bad. The book just sat squarely in that middle ground where you really don’t have anything amazing to say about it but at the same time there were no glaring complaints. Is it worth a read? Sure, but even if you don’t you aren’t really missing out on anything.