Book Review: The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Est unus ex nobis. Nos defendat eius.”
She is one of us. We protect her.”

Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Hawthorne Legacy

Title: The Hawthorne Legacy
Series: The Inheritance Games (Book 2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, Adventure, Contemporary Fiction
Length: 10 hrs, 24 mins
Published: September 7th, 2021

My Rating: ★★★★½
Read: 10/3/2022 – 10/8/2022



Having felt somewhat let down by the ending of the first book after so much build-up, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself liking this book even more. Some questions are answered from The Inheritance Games, and some questions are asked presumably ready to be answered in The Final Gambit.

Picking up right after the events of the first book, we follow Avery and the Hawthorne boys as a new game begins. This time their quest is more of a cross between friendly competition and working as a team now that Avery has been accepted by the Hawthorne boys as one of their own. She stands to lose the most (though not necessarily financially). Having uncovered some family secrets, she’s determined to find connections and answers. Who is her father? Is she really of Hawthorne blood? What had her mother kept from her for her entire life?

Part of what I’ve been enjoying about this series is the absurdity of it all. I’m not the target age group so I have little patience for the high school drama that inevitably comes in a YA such as this, but something about the eccentricity of the Hawthorne family is intriguing. It’s grandiose and impractical but dang it, it’s fun.

This book definitely reads as a lengthy bridge into the next book (though doesn’t end on as much of a cliffhanger as the previous), however, I enjoyed the intricacies of the family. I’m not quite sure what to expect going forward but I’m excited to find out!

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • The games and the riddles. There’s never a dull moment.
  • The lineage. I’m not usually good with big family trees but the author doesn’t simply shove a dozen names at the reader and expect them to memorize it. It’s methodic.
  • Libby and Avery’s relationship.

What I didn’t like:

  • The love triangle. I just… hate it. It’s not my trope at all and it’s even worse when it involves teenagers. (That along with how uninteresting I find the romances to be.)
  • Mentions of teenagers having sex. It creeped me out when I was a teenager and it creeps me even more as an adult.
  • I’m sorry but Maxine drives me crazy. (She started to grow on me toward the end of this one, but the ‘swearing without actually swearing’ thing is annoying.)


Simply put, this is a fun series. I’m glad I’ve been able to read it first as part of the Book Santas and Lovers book club and then as a buddy read with a few others in the server. Both this and The Inheritance Games were library loans but I ended up going out to buy The Final Gambit because I wanted the Barnes & Noble special edition (and I was too impatient for wait lists…). Naturally, this meant I just had to buy the first two books so it was a complete set!

The Inheritance Games (Book 1) review

Where to buy the book:

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