The Inheritance Games trilogy: Mysteries with twists and turns

Emily Dong, Staff Writer

The Inheritance Games trilogy, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, revolves around Avery Kylie Grambs, an average girl with plans for a better future for her and her half-sister Libby, who are barely scraping by in life. This is until the billionaire and philanthropist Tobias Hawthorne mysteriously leaves his whole estate and fortune to her instead of his own family. Avery has no idea who he is and why he left everything to her, making her his heir, but she finds out that there is a catch: she has to live in the family estate, the Hawthorne house, a huge home with many rooms, puzzles, secret passageways, and codes. This means that Avery also has to live with the Hawthorne family, which includes Tobias’ Hawthorne’s 4 grandsons: Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander. While Grayson thinks Avery is a conwoman that stole everything from the family and is determined to take her down, Jameson is convinced that she is Tobias’s last riddle that has to be solved. With great wealth and power comes risk and danger, and Avery is forced to play whatever game Tobias Hawthorne set up for them and try to survive her new life. 

Book 1: The Inheritance Games

The first book is incredibly hard to put down, due to the enjoyable short chapters and the writing style being easy to read. The author creates so many questions that need answers, leaving the reader curious and questioning everything. This connects the readers to the characters, who are all also trying to figure out the grand mystery and see if it reveals a truth to anything. As Avery is pulled into the Hawthorne family mess, she tries to find answers for herself, something to explain why she was chosen and why it involves the four Hawthorne brothers. In addition to searching for answers, she tries to get used to her new life and the incredibly massive mansion. If she’s meant to inherit the entire mansion and Tobias’ fortune, she has to try to get along with the Hawthorne family – the family that Tobias disinherited and the people that want her gone. Overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities she has, she has to prove to everyone that she can handle everything, even when she feels overburdened. The author does a good job with the general dark and twisted mystery vibe. The setting of the Hawthorne house and Avery’s lack of knowledge of her surroundings adds to the element of unpredictability in the book.

The book keeps you constantly thinking about it after you finish reading and makes you want to continue onto the second book immediately. Another thing that makes this whole series so great is that the characters all have their own unique strong personalities and qualities, makingall four Hawthorne brothers loveable and relatable. The oldest Nash, is incredibly laidback, and doesn’t care too much about the mysteries and games everyone else is playing. Meanwhile, Grayson is incredibly self-assured and very protective of his family, especially after being disinherited when he was supposed to be the heir of the family. He’s serious, reserved, and sometimes comes off as cold. In contrast, Jameson is rebellious, reckless, and playful. He craves mysteries and puzzles and hates giving up. Xander, the youngest, is the most humorous with a bubbly personality. He is the least competitive of the brothers, but is never left out of a game. And finally, Avery is a bold and bright character who stays curious and is a logical thinker, allowing her to solve various mysteries. Like Jameson, she doesn’t give up and the two have a strong ambition in figuring out puzzles. The book also creates a “Team Jameson” and “Team Grayson” that refers to the possible love interests for Avery. While the first book leans more towards Jameson being the love interest for Avery, there are crumbs of hope for Grayson as well. This “love triangle” urges readers to read the sequel and see the development of romance between characters. Overall, the first book was an incredible start for the series that instantly pulls the readers in with a grand mystery and a large cast of interesting characters.

Book 2: The Hawthorne Legacy

Moving on to the sequel, The Hawthorne Legacy, the book continues to follow Avery and the four Hawthorne brothers, who have officially moved onto searching for the one person who might have all the answers to their questions, and perhaps even an answer to why the billionaire Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery Grambs, a stranger, instead of his daughters and grandsons. At this point, Avery is on guard and doesn’t know who she can trust and who her allies are. The first book did an excellent job at pulling the reader into the new world that Avery is in, but in this book, the mysteries take on even more twists and turns. It’s a series that gets better as it progresses, and eventually, answers unfold in a sequence of puzzles and riddles. In the first book, Jameson seems to be the one Avery favors, but in the second book, he and Grayson pull Avery in different directions regarding what she should be doing with her time at the Hawthorne house, which provides hope for those rooting for Grayson. Additionally, as the plot gets more twisted, things get more personal for Avery, because not only is she learning the secrets of the Hawthorne family, but she also learns about the possible connections she and her mother have had with them. The various events are retold as secrets being discovered, engaging the reader and giving them a better feel in Avery’s perspective. 

Book 3: The Final Gambit

In this book, Avery is only a few weeks away from finally inheriting Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune. However, the paparazzi are onto her. Financial pressures are building up and overwhelming her, but she’s going through it all with the support of the Hawthorne brothers. Just when Avery is close to becoming the richest teenager in the world, a mysterious visitor makes an appearance, and their presence in the Hawthorne House changes everything. Both Avery and the Hawthorne brothers realize that there is a final mystery that they have to solve alongside the visitor. As they’re drawn into another dangerous game, they face the unknown and powerful player behind it all. The appearance of the new visitor was incredibly annoying and had the reader suspecting them of bad intentions, but their appearance allowed for the vulnerability of several of the characters to show or at least be made apparent. Grayson in particular was not himself in the entire book and was deeply hurting internally, causing the readers to feel for him. He was cold to Avery throughout the book, and favored the new visitor because of his painful past. After finding out the truth behind the visitor, Grayson realizes that he was letting his past take advantage of him and had trusted the visitor too much, which leads to him apologizing to Avery for his behavior towards her. Overall, The Final Gambit was a perfect wrap up for the series, because in the end, all the answers to the questions and theories about Avery are revealed. Although the ending was slightly underwhelming because the build-up and suspense made it seem like there would be an intense face off, it was still satisfying for most of the characters. However, not everyone got a happy ending because there were terms that the characters agreed on. 

While Grayson did not act kindly to Avery throughout the story, in contrast, Jameson matured a lot throughout the series and continued to stay by Avery’s side. In the end, it becomes officially clear who the endgame couple is, which is the perfect way to close off the series.