This is my first book review of the year and I wanted it to be for a book I completely, thoroughly and utterly loved. I am not the first one to gush about this book, but if you are hesitant to give it a chance, please consider it, I regret not reading it sooner!
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
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.
5 stars: Persephone – Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring. Persephone is my favourite goddess because she is full of contradictions – she represents both strength as queen of the underworld and a softness as a floral maiden. She teaches me how it’s okay to be both. If Persephone appears, that means that the book was one of the best books I’ve ever read, that it holds a particular place in my heart and that it is now part of my favourite books ever.
I scarcely annotate my books but from the very first page, I felt the urge to comment, highlight and dissect every informations, track every character and express theories. This was escapism at its finest.
The writing style was brilliant. Truly, simply brilliant. Tobias Hawthorne is the genius but Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the true mastermind. The plot held its promises and I was hooked by every single page. There were moments that seemingly had nothing to do with the plot and at first didn’t add up, but when everything was revealed I couldn’t help but gasp. I got whiplash.
Then there were the characters; I love how each of them had layers that were slowly shed throughout the book. There were obvious villains and hidden ones but all of them were interesting , I wanted to know as much as I could about everyone. Their thoughts, their feelings, their secrets, etc. They all had different dynamics and relationships with one another and it was captivating to see how everything was intertwined. There was so much drama and I loved it. I’m so happy that there are two other books in the series because I can’t get enough of the Hawthorne family.
But the best part of this book, which made me love it as much as I did was Avery Kylie Grambs. She is a great main character and a damn smart one! The author set the stones in the first chapters and suggested that she was a smart, clever, witty and problem solving main character. Seeing her solving the clues throughout the book completely made sense and I never doubted her, or her abilities for a second. This is how you create a main character that you want the readers to believe. I also loved seeing her being vulnerable and carving out a place for herself in a world that was so far removed to what she was used to. Discovering that new world through her eyes was delectable.
The atmosphere of the book was eerie, and full of mystery and it almost read as a detective story (which I am not particularly fond of, usually), with a dash of dark academia and a hint of murder. It was very immersive and as soon as I had to put it down to tend to wordly duties, it wouldn’t leave my mind. There were so many mentions on art, culture, travel, race and social class and I thought they were well carried out even if they were not the central part of the book but it still felt important and I appreciated the mentions.
This book reminded me why I love reading so much and I am in awe of how wonderfully everything was thought out and built. This was truly one of a kind and I highly recommend it!