The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, #2)The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

fulfilling my 2022 vow to read more YA/finish series i have started and left unfinished

this book is…fine.

i liked the puzzle-driven energy of The Inheritance Games enough to overlook all the things i didn’t like about it: the multitude of timely coincidences, the love triangle(s), the implausibility baked into every step of the plot. it was a fast, fun book, and i expected the same from this follow-up.

however, this one brought back all of the targets of my gripes, but didn’t have as much puzzle-fun to offset those gripes, so the series lost a little steam for me with this middle book.

but if being an adult reader of books intended for a teen audience has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you not only have to suspend your disbelief but you also have to suppress your world-weary cynicism.

for best results, you have to embrace the fantasy here, accepting everything as written without questioning the logic or likelihood of the events. you have to accept the existence of a deceased, but otherwise infallible mastermind behind a succession of secret-revealing codes and puzzles whose clues are discovered IN the right order BY the right people AT the right time THROUGH the right secret passage. you have to accept that the thrill of the puzzle is as satisfying as a multi-billion dollar bank statement, that adolescents preternaturally gifted at…everything they attempt, and have also mastered patience, empathy, restraint, and have curbed all selfish and thoughtless impulses. and that the adults have not.

like the clue-based YA mystery trilogy, this one is wholesome enough to hand down to younger tween-types, unless they’re more freaked out about adults trying to manipulate and murder a teenage girl than the characters in this book are. the lack of serious consequences for attempted murder is another thing you gotta breeze over with your brain’s logical bits.

it’s a less-exhilarating outing than the first, but i’ll be back here reading the final book before too long, and i only hope it’s got more in the way of brain-teaser-y puzzles and less in the way of puzzling “but, HOW?” questions.

here’s a bonus riddle for you:

when is a character not a character? when she’s max.

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