The Inheritance Games: A risky gamble that doesn’t entirely pay off

This personal review dissects the hit YA novel The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

With the release of the third and final book in the Inheritance Games Series, “The Final Gambit,” on August 30, I believe it is an appropriate time to reflect back on the book that began it all for the sake of new readers looking to dive into the now completed trilogy. I first learned of the “Inheritance Games” (book #1 in the “Inheritance Games” trilogy) via Tiktok. The author, and fellow readers, describe the book as a sort of YA “Da Vinci Code,” full of intrigue, double crossing and charming billionaires.

The book is centered around 17 year-old Avery Kylie Grambs (take notice for all you anagram lovers) who lives out of her car, struggling to escape her circumstances. Her entire life is uprooted, however, when she is notified that she has inherited the entire (or technically nearly-entire) fortune of a Texas billionaire. The strangest part? She has no idea who the man was. Together, with the help of his four recently disinherited and devastating handsome grandsons, Avery works to uncover the truth.

Based on these descriptions, I was extremely excited to read this book. I am typically not the biggest fan of mystery novels; however, this one was presented more through the lens of a deadly competition. Based on the synopsis given on the back cover, I was expecting a modern day “Hunger Games”-esque fight for the fortune, with plenty of romance and plot twists along the way.

In reality, the story fell a little flat. In my opinion, this is first due to the fact that the “game” is less of a physical high stakes fight and more of a battle of wits. The danger and competition simply did not reach the level described on the cover. Secondly, the novel was lacking in characterization. Frankly, several of the characters were living stereotypes and had no dimension, color or quirks. Grayson’s whole personality was tied up in being the serious, morose, harsh brother with a secret soft spot for his family and eventually Avery. Jameson, on the other hand, was the stereotypical wild one, who hid his true emotions by chasing thrills and layering on sarcasm. Both of them were simply too reminiscent of Wattpad love interests for me to connect or relate to their characters in any way. The youngest brother, in contrast, was superbly written. Xander’s character alone makes the trilogy worth a read. He is one of the most lovable characters I have encountered in a long time and is the perfect mix between the kindness of Baymax and the mischief of Mushu. In terms of plot, the story moves fairly quickly and the mystery, while somewhat surprising, is still easy to follow.

All in all, I would rate the “Inheritance Games” three out of five stars. While this book is not earth shattering, it is a fun, light and entertaining read. If you are looking for a distraction from the back to school stress, I would recommend this novel. And, I assure you, the second book in the Inheritance Games Trilogy is better than the first one.

Post Author: Anna Lackner