“The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.”

Book review with spoilers!

Kylee Johnston

     This trilogy is full of timeless quotes. In this very special circumstance of inheriting billions, the lessons learned can be taken from anyone anywhere. The bolded words are some of my favorite quotes. 

     “Traps upon traps. And riddles upon riddles.”

     The Inheritance Games series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a whirlwind read, starting out with normal 17-year-old Avery Kylie Grambs living a poor and mundane life. This all changes when she learns she inherited billions of dollars. Avery must move into The Hawthorne mansion as terms of her inheritance with a mysterious family. The Hawthorne who is responsible for including Avery in his will is Tobias Hawthorne, a grandfather to four boys: Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander. None of the boys got a penny from their grandfather. All of them are compelling and magnetic leaving Avery gravitating toward them. 

     ​​“Est unus ex nobis. Nos defendat eius. She is one of us. We protect her.”

     Tobias Hawthorne raised his grandson’s in his own image. They must be intelligent, creative, and determined. He messed up with his own children and knew he couldn’t mess up with the next generation. His daughter Skye wasn’t the most present mother. This didn’t stop the boys from becoming special. There is no one like them, each different, but somehow the same. 

     Jameson, the hungriest of the brothers, believes his grandfather’s will is part of a game he left for them. “Jameson Winchester Hawthorne is hungry. He’s been looking for something. He’s been looking for it since the day he was born.” Jameson and Avery form an alliance and try to figure out why. Why Avery? What was his endgame? As they build unique bonds with each other, secrets unravel, and one clue leads to another clue, the past slowly reveals itself. 

     “He left you the fortune, Avery, and all he left us is you,” Jameson confessed. 

     Each novel presents a different game. Once the first game was finished another appeared. The second book focuses on Tobias Hawthorne’s only son. The cryptic code depicted from invisible ink was “find him”. But Toby, the son, didn’t want to be found. Avery used to play chess with Toby in the park every morning. He went by a different name, Harry. The past always finds a way of resurfacing. Deceitfulness is brought to a halt when trusting the right people. Avery Kylie Grambs is no fool. She and Toby finally reunited under unique circumstances. By blood she isn’t his, but Toby loves her as if she was his own. Avery read postcards which were love letters between her mother and Toby. Toby survived the accident because Avery’s mother saved him. Her mother, Hannah, lied to Avery. About her name, her family, and her father. Toby and Hannah were in love. “It had been an epic, seaside kind of love. Literally. Just knowing that made me feel like I’d been lying to myself every time I’d pretended that I didn’t have feelings, that things didn’t have to be messy. That I could have what I wanted without ever really longing for anything body and soul.” After finding out about their relationship, Avery felt closer to her mother than ever before. She was long gone but somehow her death has brought her closer to her. She never understood her mother until she knew her full story. 

     You never really know someone entirely. The people you grew up with can turn out to be strangers. The people you thought you knew can surprise you and become unrecognizable.    

     “Better the devil you do know than the devil you don’t”

     The reason Avery was brought into their lives was to bring them back together. I believe some people are brought into our lives for a reason. Everyone has a purpose. A girl named Emily once got in the way of a brotherly bond. She toyed with Jameson and Grayson and it tore them apart. This love triangle didn’t end well. Emily died jumping from a cliff. Grayson blames himself for taking her there and Jameson blames himself for not helping her. He stood there and watched her die. It haunted them both, and Tobias saw that. Jameson told himself he’d never let anything like that happen again. When the bomb placed under the engine of Avery’s plane exploded, Grayson almost watched Avery die. He stood there motionless. Jameson was furious that he almost let her die. They fought while Avery fought for her life. That was the moment when Avery knew she loved Jameson, and no one else. When you realize you’d die for someone and protecting them at all costs is an involuntary response; that is love.

     In the third book, Avery and Jameson are happy together and everyone is finally putting the past to rest until someone unexpected shows up. Eve, Toby’s biological daughter, arrives at Hawthorne House saying Toby was kidnapped and is in trouble. This last game somehow hurt the most. Eve reveals herself as a pawn in the kidnappers game. She was working undercover. Grayson had fallen for her in the process and was devastated to say the least. This book is like having healed wounds be reopened by the people you least expected. Avery gets Toby back by playing a game of chess with the kidnapper. One that she is very good at. “The more complicated a person’s strategy seemed, the less likely an opponent was to look for simple answers. If you could keep someone looking at your knight, you could take them with a pawn. Look past the details. Past the complications.” She was a girl. She knew she would be underestimated. She used that as an advantage. 

     There are so many things to take away from these books. No matter your age this book speaks to all. It’s a mystery, one that leaves you staring at the wall digesting everything hours after finishing. Books like these are why we read. This fast paced book you are unable to put down, sends you into a universe you never want to escape from. 

     Once Avery won the final game, she could finally breathe. That is until the next book comes out. The Brothers Hawthorne will be released on August 29, 2023. Until then we readers will hold our breaths and hope the brothers provide us solace.