The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 4/5 cats
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A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

i am very much a fan of knives out and not so much of One of Us Is Lying, but fortunately for me, this is only like that book in that it is a fast-paced distraction-read. and YA. to me, it was like knives out meets the liza, bill, and jed series by peggy parish that i devoured as a kid, loving its scavenger-hunt mysteries and solve-along word-nerd clues. but i guess no one reads those anymore. they should. you should.

the ‘inheritance’ part of this title is indeed very similar to knives out—a tension-filled will-reading with all the assembled heirs getting less than they’d expected, side-eyeing the charity case who’s just been left billions by their eccentric relation. in this case, however, there’s no suspicion of foul play, and the recipient of the money isn’t the kindly care worker whose years of service have made her part of the family, it’s a sixteen-year-old orphan who’s been living with her half-sister (or, occasionally, in her car) with no connection to the family whatsoever, and no idea why she’s been left this fortune along with a note from the deceased that simply says, “I’m sorry.”

and then the ‘games’ part of the title begins! because our dead billionaire liked a good puzzle, had a penchant for building secret passageways and hidden compartments and for pitting his four high-performing teenage grandsons against each other in competitive games featuring codes and wordplay and secrets. and avery grambs—this stranger in their midst—may be just another puzzle for the boys to crack.

it’s all short chapters and intrigue—a one-sitting book if you don’t have to spend time baking snickerdoodle cheesecake and, while not without its problems, it is super-fun and will hold your attention and keep you from watching the news.

yes, virginia, there are love triangles. there’s a love triangle in the present-day narrative, there’s a love triangle in the backstory-narrative, and—since there’s a sequel on the horizon, it’s safe to assume there’s gonna be a love triangle in the future.

it’s not the book’s best feature, but it doesn’t overshadow the WHY WE’RE HERE of the story—which is for the puzzles and passageways. it helps that avery isn’t dominated by her hormones—for the most part, she’s practical and unfussy, smart and normal-person brave (as opposed to mary sue YA heroine brave).

i will say, however, that these people are as casual about attempted murder as their mom is casual about being nekkid ’round the house mega-mansion.

show me the science on that scene, please, because deeply embedded beggars belief.

the ending is a bit of a weeeeelllll, and so much of the book is a house of cards made out of convenient coincidences and fortunate stumbles orchestrated by an all-knowing master of foresight, but if you’re turning to these kinds of books for your mirror-up-to-life fix, you’re doing it wrong.

i still have questions, and i expect some of them will be answered in the sequel, but i fear i may never learn who is in charge of stocking the fridge in a secret wing behind a combination lock with AN ARRAY of novelty sodas, all for the benefit of someone who comes and goes like a tomcat. also, where can i get a bacon and jalapeño soda?

i hope the sequel sheds some light on this matter. in fact, i hope it is the sequel’s central mystery.


1/7/21: today is definitely the day for an escapist book!


pre-review review: it strains credulity, but it’s really fun.

plus, i got the bn exclusive edition with the extra chapter, so i apologize to all the indie bookstores.

full review to come.

read my book reviews on goodreads

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