The Inheritance Games: A Perfect Novel for Truly Devious Fans (comparison and review)
WHAT IS THE INHERITANCE GAMES (AND TRULY DEVIOUS)?
The Inheritance Games is a YA mystery novel about an impoverished but kindhearted and motivated young woman (Avery) who becomes the sole heiress of a massive fortune. Avery has never before met the man (Tobias Hawthorne) who left her his billions and part of the will stipulates that she must spend a year living in his mansion with his slighted family members. Avery, along with the Hawthorne brothers, follows clues left behind by Tobias to find out why Avery was chosen.
Truly Devious, meanwhile, is the first in a trilogy of YA mystery novels following true crime aficionado Stevie Bell as she solves the crime of the century. While this blog of course discusses this novel it is not a review of it. If you're looking for a spoiler free review of the Truly Devious trilogy then I'll put the link to it at the bottom of this blog.
HOW THE INHERITANCE GAMES COMPARES TO TRULY DEVIOUS
While the novels' premises are different, their locations are the first connection I made between them. Truly Devious takes place at a boarding school and The Inheritance Games at a mansion. Both are large buildings full of hidden passageways and secret rooms. That was something that really drew me in about these books as they seemed like the perfect settings for mysteries.
Another similarity is that both novels feature minor/mentioned characters who are wealthy old men obsessed with riddles and games. The whole idea behind the school in Truly Devious was that a tycoon (Albert Ellingham) wanted to build a place where learning is a game. Meanwhile, in The Inheritance Games Tobias Hawthorne's dying act was creating an elaborate game for his grandsons and Avery to play.
The final symmetry between the novels is in the protagonists. Stevie from Truly Devious is into true crime while Avery excels at math and statistics. Both girls are smart and clever and able to use inductive reasoning to solve their respective mysteries. As a woman I really appreciate having female characters who are intelligent and capable. I think it's important for young girls to be able to read such characters.
The are three big distinctions between the novels. The first is The Inheritance Games is focused on the mystery of why Avery was chosen as Hawthorne's heiress whereas Truly Devious is a murder mystery. The second is that The Inheritance Games has a love triangle while Truly Devious does not. The final big difference is that Truly Devious is told in dual timelines of past and present while The Inheritance Games takes place entirely in the present day.
There are enough similarities between the novels that those who are fans of the Truly Devious trilogy are sure to love The Inheritance Games as well. They are also different enough, however, that they can stand on their own and don't feel like reading the same novel twice. They're in the same family, but I'd call them cousin novels rather than sisters.
MY REVIEW OF THE INHERITANCE GAMES
The characterization in this novel was (mostly) well done. Since I already discussed Avery above, I'm going to dive a little more into the Hawthornes. Each of the Hawthorne brothers stands out from one another. Nash is the mature, protective one, Jameson is the reckless, thrill seeking one, Grayson is the powerful, confident one, and Xander is the quirky, sweet one. Avery has romantic feelings for both Grayson and Jameson. Her relationship with Jameson was well executed and made sense due to the amount of time they spent together. I found her relationship with Grayson to be woefully underdeveloped and Barnes did a lot more telling than showing with them. The reader is repeatedly told that Avery is attracted to him, but many of their encounters are tense and full of suspicion on both ends.
The setting is what I was most excited about in regards to the novel and indeed I was not disappointed. From the sprawling house itself to the surrounding woods and creek, riddles and clues are hidden everywhere. It kind of feels like a giant, fun scavenger hunt.
Tonally, this novel maintains a tense atmosphere throughout. While it's not a murder mystery, Avery has to constantly be on edge because she's a target for the Hawthorne family and the press. The further along we get into the novel the higher the stakes grow and the more dangerous the game feels. The progression flowed very naturally.
Please be aware before reading that this novel depicts an abusive relationship (between the protagonist's sister and her boyfriend.) There is nothing explicitly seen and the relationship is not glorified, but I feel it's worth mentioning as it could be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.
My final rating for the novel is 4.5 stars. I definitely think this is well worth the read and especially so if you are a fan of Truly Devious. This is the first book in a long time that I was very sad when I'd finished it because I didn't want the experience of reading it for the first time to be over. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel (The Hawthorne Legacy) when it comes out this fall.
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+A SPOILER FREE REVIEW OF THE TRULY DEVIOUS TRILOGY: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/truly-devious-by-maureen-johnson-a-review