The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cinderella meets Piranesi in a pink wish-fulfilment children’s fantasy bubble

The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was a major disappointment. For all practical purposes orphaned 17-year-old Avery inherits a gazillion dollars, has to move into her late benefactor’s huge mansion for a year where his toxic and dysfunctional family makes her life difficult…

This was such an interesting premise but Barnes’ simply can’t deliver: Avery herself “feels” a lot younger than 17. She is self-centred, insecure, naïve and while she is supposed to look clever, the “riddles” in this book are mostly either trivial or so obscure that she has to be helped by her male love interests between two of which she simply doesn’t decide.

Jameson, Grayson – afore-mentioned love interests – aren’t even graced with any kind of discernible character. Both young men are just walking stereotypes: Jameson is the young prankster clown and Grayson is the dark, brooding, elegant gentleman. Their siblings, Nash the motor-cycling “lonesome cowboy”, and Xander, basically a clone of Jameson, are as interesting to read about as a brick wall.

All the other characters are similarly shallow and just, barely serve their respective purpose but nothing more. No, the head of security doesn’t have any secret, he doesn’t have to dramatically save his charge (driving a car doesn’t count!), he just lurks in the background, probably hoping (in vain) to grow a personality.

There are tons of loose ends: Why did the would-be assassin do what they did? What was their accomplice’s motivation? I cannot ask any other questions to avoid spoilers but there were so many possibilities and so saddeningly few were actually realised.

The very, very short chapters feel like lightly-connected thoughts that butterfly-like sailed through Barnes’ mind. Light and pretty – and devoid of substance.

This novel is so fast-paced, it doesn’t allow for a single moment of reflection. We’re just pulled into a wild ride that I always felt invested in enough to see its conclusion but I was thoroughly disappointed at pretty much every step of my reading journey.

Especially, since up to about 80% of the book, nothing much actually happens – mostly Avery settling in, Libby, her inconsequential sister, behaving weirdly and inconsistently, the deceased’s family acting like caricatures of rich people and some minor riddles – only afterwards some more interesting things happen.

Last but not least, this book feels extremely young adult – yes, I’m not part of the target audience but from time to time I do enjoy a good young adult book but this one felt more than that: It felt just plain immature.

Two out of five stars.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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