Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I have adored following along with Avery, from The Inheritance Games to The Hawthorne Legacy, and knew I had to find out how it all came together in The Final Gambit.
This is part of the tour fantastically organised by TBR and Beyond Tours and you can check out the rest of the tour stops here.
To inherit billions, all Avery Kylie Grambs has to do is survive a few more weeks living in Hawthorne House. The paparazzi are dogging her every step. Financial pressures are building. Danger is a fact of life. And the only thing getting Avery through it all is the Hawthorne brothers. Her life is intertwined with theirs. She knows their secrets, and they know her.
But as the clock ticks down to when Avery will become the richest teenager on the planet, trouble arrives in the form of a visitor who needs her help – and whose presence in Hawthorne House could change everything. It soon becomes clear that there is one last puzzle to solve, and Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are drawn into a dangerous game against an unknown and powerful player.
Secrets upon secrets. Riddles upon riddles. In this game, there are hearts and lives at stake-and there is nothing more Hawthorne than winning.
Publication Date: 1st September
TW: kidnapping, murder, death, violence, death of parent, domestic abuse, grief, emotional abuse, gun violence, grooming, manipulation
The Final Gambit unravels one of the most elaborate and well-constructed YA mysteries I have read, providing a brilliant conclusion to a game-changing trilogy.
All of the Inheritance Games books have been one intricately plotted sequence of puzzles and games, with The Final Gambit providing that final piece to let everything slot together. Yet again, you get wrapped up in this breakneck, highly entertaining and fantastically imagined story. This trilogy has consistently been so thoroughly engaging and memorable. It stands out from other YA thrillers with its playful tone and Daedalian puzzles. For my Knives Out obsessed brain, it just slots in perfectly. That quintessential mystery pull calls back to the Golden Age of Crime and the way these fiendish stories unravel. It is a series defined by its puzzles and it has been an extremely well-crafted game of chess. Particularly, I loved how small details from previous books were expanded upon and given more weight in this explosive conclusion.
The twists and turns are as sharp and deadly as ever and leave a bittersweet ending that I never saw coming. I love the focus this series has on found family and the bonds created within there. This is such a tight-knit group, marred by secrets and death, but they have ultimately chosen one another amidst their trauma and conflict. In particular, I loved seeing how exploring more of the family history affected each of the central characters we have come to know and love. There is a real dismantling of privilege, history and the corrupted legacy of the acts committed to create that power.
I enjoyed the moral dilemmas faced by many of our group in this story and ultimately Avery herself. The weight of the previous two books and everything she has faced, as well as what lies ahead, has definitely altered our fierce and incredibly smart protagonist. She has definitely grown into herself, becoming more confident in her abilities and viewpoint of navigating the world. This is also true of every other central character, whose arcs have been nuanced and explored differing responses to grief and trauma. Finally you get to see some semblance of closure or the beginnings of a journey towards that here.
The Final Gambit is a true brain teaser – requiring you to think twelve steps ahead in order to try and unpick this labyrinthine story. It has all been leading to this.
About The Author:
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a “practice book” and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.