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!

We Hunt The Flame Quotes As Real Life Moments!

I am officially obsessed with this duology. There, I said it.

Remember a stormy July evening when I wrote something along similar lines – Six Of Crows Quotes As Real Life Moments!, I believe it was called? Yes yes that does ring a bell. Since declarations of my love for a book shall now be decreed in the form of such posts, I am writing this post in honour of my newest favourites – the We Hunt The Flame duology.

For those of you are are wholly and truly confused so as to what exactly is going on, believe me, you’re not alone. I have no idea either. (what? did you think I was actually going to explain the concept of this entire thing? do my ideas even have a concept? ughh fine, since you insist.) Essentially, the gist is to relate some quotable lines from this duology to moments in my life, only, the contexts are ~slightly~ different. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Onto the first quote!

“A thousand leagues and a thousand sands. For you, a thousand times I would defy the sun.”

Deen Ra’ad (aka the most sensitive and pure boy to ever exist on this earth. The world didn’t deserve him.)

(side note: this line makes me tear up every. single. time.)

This would be me to my Kindle. Do you know the pain of giving up a cozy reading spot in the balcony under the sun, and instead go to some dark, gloomy corner to read my Kindle just because I can’t read with sunlight falling on the screen? I have absolutely no wish to defy the sun but – ah, the things we do for books…

“He came here for one act alone: murder.”

Nasir Ghameq (aka the good assassin)

The ‘he’ in question being authors who, for no apparent reason at all, like to cause us readers literal pain by killing off characters we’ve come to love. (you get what I’m hinting at, eh Faizal?) Murderers.

“Knowledge without action is vanity, but action without knowledge is insanity.”

Benyamin (aka our sweet, arrogant immortal)

Truer words have never been spoken. This does lead my mind to very philosophical roads of thought… but, putting that on hold, how does this fit into my real life? Oh, what about when I get overexcited whenever I see a blog tour sign-up for one of my anticipated releases and happily go sign up for it – until later when I realize my assigned date is not far off, and I have to read a couple more arcs before that one. Insanity, right?

“Sometimes, when you live a life of captivity, trapped for so long, freedom becomes a thing to fear.”

Oh. My. Gosh. This is my exact life situation put very eloquently. I have stayed home due to lockdown for nearly two years now, and still have online schooling where I live, so I’ve got no idea how I’ll adapt to physically attending school again, once the restrictions are eased. Or going anywhere else, for that matter. Yes, I fear my freedom.

“Well,” Altair said with forced cheer. “It’s just the two of us again, and my, what a couple we make.” Nasir gifted him a look that could wither crops. “Keep up your endless yipping and only one of us will be left.”

Nasir & Altair (aka the best grumpy-sunshine duo ever!)

Back when I used to attend offline school, I always got extra cheery partners – be it a lab partner, a partner in a project, picnics etc. It was like Nature’s running joke on me. Anyway, while I used to studiously do whatever we’re supposed to do, my various partners would rather just chat with me, which annoyed me to no end and I’d usually end up snapping at them. In hindsight, that was rather harsh of me, but I couldn’t help it, you know? I’m a lot like Nasir than I ever thought.

“There were moments before moments, in which the world was framed in startling clarity, a defined before hurtling toward a horrible after. Moments in which the powerful were powerless, in which promises became failings.

This was such a moment.”

Okay, this is going to sound really silly, but the first thing that came to my mind after reading this was that moment on a roller coaster when you are right at the top and are just about to go down at top speed. There is that sudden feeling of thrill and fear, anticipation and tension. You know you’re about to drop but can’t do anything about it. This was such a moment.

“Wars could wage and swords could cut and arrows could pierce. None of them compared to the pain of a well-poised word.”

The word in question being the most dreaded word in the history of dreadful words – “rejected”. Few weeks back I requested my first ever Netgalley arcs, and a few days later, I get an e-mail. I am soo excited and close my eyes and then peek out of one eye – for what? To see that word?? Definitely not what I was expecting. I would have rather have a war waged in front of me, a sword cut of my head, an arrow pierced through my heart. Okay that’s gross and overdramatic but you get the point.

Huh. My life is so much similar to that of Zafira and Nasir, Altair and Benyamin, isn’t it? Anywayy that was all for today and the ulterior motive of this post was totally not to show-off these beautiful lines from the beautiful books.

Which is your favourite quote from the duology? Which are some quote-worthy moments in your life? Share with me in the comments!

And on a final note, my blog reached 200 followers a while back and I want to host a Q & A session in honour of that! Visit this post and leave me questions in the comments section if you haven’t! Oh, and don’t forget to fill this feedback form too –  https://forms.gle/CYkBpZXUm4hsuJQm8!!

~Rachel

Six Of Crows Quotes As Real Life Moments!

You know a book was truly unforgettable when it persists in Rachel’s memory (who doesn’t remember what she ate this morning) after nearly 4 months of her having read it. The constant reading of memes and quotes and the S&B show were quite helpful too. Therefore I present to you SoC nostalgia because I am evil that way quotes from Six Of Crows and Crooked Kingdom as moments in my life!

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

I have probably given about a million speeches in front of small, medium, large, huge, and extremely huge (ugh why do I sound like I am naming dress sizes) audiences but my knees still shake and there is always a slight quiver in my voice when I start speaking on any kind of raised platform with hundreds of people staring at me. Stage fright on an epic level, right? And then after the speech, every single time, I get that smug feeling which says that this will be the last time said phoenix attacks me. And every single time, that feeling is wrong.

“Better terrible truths than kind lies.”

Me to my friends/classmates in any group project/literally anything else that they are making extremely ~mediocre~ : No. I hate this. This is not acceptable at all.

My mom/teacher: *insert admonishing tone* Rachel! Don’t be so insensitive!! You’re discouraging them.

Me: *deadpan* Better terrible truths than kind lies.

My Aries self is one with this quote. Period.

“Always hit where the mark isn’t looking”

“Who’s Mark?” asked Wylan.”

Me when I (very rarely, I assure you) zone out during my online classes and the teacher asks me a question. Different context, same energy.

Brick by brick, I will destroy you.

Lower the intensity please, but this is me to every fictional villain who hurts/tries to hurt my precious favourite characters. Grit teeth, clenched fists, totally in character.

“Would it kill him to smile every once in a while?” Jesper asked.
“Very possibly.”

Me when I am trying to keep a straight face in my online classes when some of the hilarious SoC memes I read a day back make a dramatic entry into my helpless mind. Seriously, very bad timing.

“Do not be afraid. Fear is how they control you.”

“They” being most teachers who take often take sadistic pleasure in describing how extremely difficult the examination paper is going to be. So, to all my fellow sufferers students – do not be afraid. You know why, right?

“You’re our chemist, Wylan,” said Nina hopefully. “What do you think?”
Wylan shrugged. “Maybe. Not all poisons have an antidote.”
Jesper snorted. “That’s why we call him Wylan Van Sunshine.”

I feel sorry for Wylan because I get this so much myself. Why is it that I come off as pessimistic when I am only trying to be practical? Like isn’t it a good thing to take all the ways something good go wrong into consideration? Just me? Umm okay, I’ll show myself out.

No Mourners. No Funerals.

This will be future me to myself when I finally muster enough courage to reread the Six Of Crows duology which I know will wreck me all over again.

Do you remember any quote-worthy moments of your life? Share them with me in the comments!

Blog Tour: The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein [Review + Favourite Quotes]

Hello everyone, and welcome to my stop for The Shadow Watch by S.A Klopfenstein blog tour hosted by Storytellers On Tour. You can click the banner below to view the official tour schedule and check out the tour stops made by other bloggers!

Title: The Shadow Watch

Author: S.A Klopfenstein

Published: September 2020

Series: Shadow Watch(#1)

Pages: 400 (print length)

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Young Adult

Review

Synopsis

A fierce sorceress on the run. A charismatic rebel with dangerous ambitions. Will their revolution save the realm or bring it to ruin?

Ripped from her homeland and sold for a handful of coins, seventeen year old Tori Burodai grew up a slave in a foreign empire. All her life, surrounded by injustice and cruelty, she has ached for the chance to fight back.

When her only friend’s life is threatened, a buried power awakens, catapulting Tori into a harrowing new reality. For the first time in centuries, magic has returned to the world, and Tori may finally have the opportunity to change her fate.

Desperate for answers, Tori joins forces with a charismatic rebel bent on righting the scales. Soon, she is thrust into the heart of a magic revolution. But magic is not the only power that has returned from the depths of the world. And some secrets should never be uncovered.

War is coming. But does Tori have what it takes to defy an empire?

Filled with complex characters, slow-burn romance, wild plot twists, and epic battles, the Shadow Watch series is perfect for fans of Throne of Glass and the Grishaverse.

Welcome to the breathtaking world of the Shadow Watch, where sorcerers are hunted, monsters rise out of myth, and the fate of all hangs on love and betrayal. Start the Four Book series now!

The Shadow Watch started off just like the Shadow and Bone netflix series (I am talking about the series because I haven’t read the s&b books). The main character, Tori (aka Alina) living her life until her best friend Darien (aka Mal) is about to die, and that’s when her powers awaken and she saves him (but ends up dooming both of them). Enter the chancellor (aka General Kirigan, but a worse and probably uglier version), who wields some magic himself. He (kidnaps and) dresses up the mc and treats her like a queen and talks about using their magic “together”. That is where the story begins going on a different track than s&b. Tori is tortured by the chancellor for months before getting rescued and whisked off to a place where there are others like her.

So what I liked was how we were taken straight to the point; the events of actual story started almost immediately after beginning the book. There was no beating around the bush, and this allowed for so much to happen within those 400 pages of the book.

The pacing was pretty balanced too. The story started off with a medium pace, but in the later parts it speeded up and I barely had time to process everything that was going on.

Another thing I enjoyed was the ambiguity of all the characters. There was no telling who was the good guy, who was the bad one. This made it all the more interesting, I never saw the surprises and betrayals coming.

That being said, one thing that disappointed me was how there was no likeable character at all. I mean, I understand the need for morally grey characters, but still, none of them made me want to root for them. Often, just as I began to like a character, he/she would do something horrible which would change my opinion immediately.

Final Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

(3.5 stars)

Favourite Quotes

She did not know how to say goodbye. The people she cared for usually just disappeared from her life.

Beauty meant little to him these days. It served no purpose.

“Let’s eat! I’m starving,” said Mischa. Then she looked Tori’s rail-thin body up and down. “Sorry, no I’m not. Don’t worry, Tori, you will not stay skinny long around these halls.

Don’t forget those who live as you once did. But don’t cheapen what they themselves long for and die for – comfort and freedom.”

I’ve learned to guard my mind from those dark thoughts because…they would rule me if I let them.


About The Author

S.A. Klopfenstein

S.A. Klopfenstein grew up on a steady dose of Tolkien and Star Wars. As a child, he wrote his first story about a sleepwalking killer who was executed by lethal injection. He lives in the American West with his wife and their dog, Iorek Byrnison. He can be found exploring the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or daring the halls of the high school where he teaches English and mythology.

Have you read The Shadow Watch? Is it on your TBR? And are you excited for book 4 which is coming out soon? Let me know in the comments!