The Inheritance Games vs the Hype-o-meter // Review

Just yesterday, I came across this new (to me!) thing called a recursive acronym. For those like yesterday-Rachel who have no clue what this official-sounding word means – basically it is an acronym where the first letter is the acronym itself. Ehh sounds over-the-top but the essence is not that complex. For example, GNU is a recursive acronym that stands for GNU’s Not Unix, then we can expand the GNU in the full form again to GNU’s Not Unix, and our new expansion would be GNU’s Not Unix Not Unix and so on till forever. 

Now you must be wondering, “why in the world is Rachel giving us a (barely comprehensible) lesson in literature?? Wasn’t this post supposed to be a review?”. 

Well I do have a reason for talking about all this apart from the fact that it is an interesting concept, and that is – similar ~vibes~. With the book I’m about to review. Traps upon traps, riddles upon riddles – yes, the gist of The Inheritance Games is pretty similar to that of a recursive acronym.

With all that done, let’s get started with today’s showdown, (know more about it this blog series here) which is The Inheritance Games, a book that has recently risen to popularity due to its upcoming sequel, against our hype-o-meter! 

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)

Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult Mystery, Contemporary
Synopsis:
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

If yes is no and once is never, then how much exactly did I enjoy this book? Now that’s a difficult one, because this was one of those books I am extremely conflicted about. If I had to rate it purely on the basis of enjoyment – an easy 4 – 4.5 stars. But as a reviewer I do have to think a tiny bit about other factors too, and in this case, let us just say these factors were not in the book’s favour. Let’s break it down.

“Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.”

The narration was first person. Probably no big deal for most of you, but believe me when I say my relationship with first person POV has not exactly been the best and mostly books with such narrations leave me mildly annoyed (pfft who am I kidding? It’s more like throwing-things-and-banging-doors-and-hitting-my-head-against-a-wall-repeatedly level annoyed.) My aggressive behavioural actions aside, The Inheritance Games was a surprise in this aspect – a pleasant one at that. I actually enjoyed Avery’s POV, so conclusion : she must have been a really good character. Yes, that she was.

In the very opening scene we are told how much of a genius Avery is when she aces an impossible physics test and is lowkey accused of cheating by her principal (which. not cool.) and is confident enough to promise the same score in a re-test. And she also beats a homeless man, who is apparently a brilliant chess player, at chess. After a few scenes we see her answer an impossible-sounding riddle asked by a drunk teenager without batting an eyelid (the riddle: ‘If yes is no and once is never, then how many sides does a triangle have?’). Upto this point, cool. 

The story till here is nicely constructed, all the events well thought out – a normal teenager who was living her life with her half-sister or in her car, attending school on a scholarship gets good news in the form of a snobby boy in a suit who informs her that his rich grandfather has left her his entire fortune of billions. Too easy, but I’ll take it. 

Things went downhill from here. I do not know whether I was just in a very critical mood, but it seemed to me that the author had simply lost interest in creating an intriguing mystery, and decided to just let Avery have a fortunate stroke of serendipity. Everything – the clues and riddles were extremely amateur, and anyone with a little common sense could have easily figured them out – let alone our supposedly brilliant protagonist working with four impossibly-smart brothers. 

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

And man, the stakes?? It was established in the beginning that not much could be done to challenge Avery’s inheritance, so what was the point of the whole solving-riddles thing? I went in expecting a thrilling round of who-solves-the-mystery-first-gets-the-money but apparently my expectations were too high.

Yet, I would not say I disliked this book because, honestly, I did not. While the big reveals were okay-ish (for a mystery, the gasp factor was shockingly low.), it was the little moments that got to me. Those moments when we got away from the main plot for a while (like Avery’s initial disbelief of the house having a bowling alley, later the scene when her stylist were working on her with Libby snorting in the corner) made me giggle and were enjoyable, so that’s a plus. 

And then of course there was all the family drama, the sibling rivalry (4x!) and all the fun moments between Avery and each of the brothers so yes, while the book could have been better in a lot of aspects, it was goood. I’m excited for the sequel!

It was a tough fight with the hype-o-meter, but The Inheritance Games emerged as a solid, so there’s that. Not quite worth the hype, but certainly worth a try. Click here to read April’s review!

Have you read The Inheritance Games? What would you give it on the hype-o-meter? Do you have The Hawthorne Legacy on your radar? Let me know in the comments!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Bertman || Mini-review, some art, and a little “book scavenger” game of my own!

Hello you guys!! Hope you’re having an amazing day so far!

Today’s post is going to be all about Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, which is a (brilliant, if I do say so myself) middle grade fantasy that I read last week. I didn’t want to write a full review on it because I have no idea what to write so I decided to just to a mash-up kind of thing, which, as the title suggests, includes a mini-review, a Book Scavenger-inspired piece of art, and a fun game at the end! Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target. 

(If you click on the cover image above, it will take you straight to Goodreads, so you can add this book to your tbr!)

My Rating :

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The concept of a game with hidden books and clues to find them was so cool! What more could a bookworm like me possibly want? (except now I am left praying that this game existed in real life and I could play it ☹🥺)

I think this story was more plot-driven than character-driven, and though I usually favour the latter, its good to know that there are a whole bunch of amazing plots such as these out there!

I also admire the research the author has put in on different kinds of ciphers and stuff. It really showed, and I like puzzles in general, so I enjoyed reading whatever snippets of information was there about decoding different ciphers.

The character development through the book was executed wonderfully. Emily finally reassessed her priorities (being a good friend definitely beats finding an epic new game😉), and Matthew was a completely different (in a good way!) big brother than he had been at the beginning.

I would definitely recommend this book to all of you bookworms, but if you additionally like a good mystery or deciphering clues, you HAVE to read this!!

(This book is actually first in a series, but it can totally work as a standalone, so for those who avoid series in general, don’t hesitate!)


I think I have mentioned before that I am terrible at all things aesthetic, and that naturally includes drawing. But I had nothing much to do that day, and I had just finished reading Book Scavenger, so I drew a little something in my bullet journal inspired by it.

Yup, it’s our main character, Emily who has found a hidden book wedged between the branches of a tree. There is no exact scene in the book as such, I just invented one, considering that I wanted to keep my work really simple and minimalistic. And to be honest, I actually enjoyed working on this. Who knows, maybe I’ll do this more often!


Time for what you all have been anticipating!! Presenting…Book Scavenger 2.0, created by yours truly!

It is in no way similar to, or as huge and amazing as the Book Scavenger game in the book. It is just a little quiz that I made up. And don’t worry, you don’t have to literally go out and “scavenge” books, all the book scavenging is going to happen in your mind😉

Here’s how it will work :

  • Below is a link to a Google Form that I have created. When you click on the link, you will be taken to the Form.
  • I have written the names of three characters each from 8 different books. It could be main characters, side characters, anything.
  • All you have to do is rack your brain (or maybe Goodreads, though that would technically be cheating😉) and write the name of the book/series in the blanks given
  • (The books I have chosen are pretty popular to reduce the difficulty level)

All the best, book scavengers!! Click HERE to access the Form.


Have you read Book Scavenger? Is it on your TBR? Do you have any ideas for me if I want to do (very simple) journal spreads for some books?