BOOK REVIEW | The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

TITLE: The Final Gambit
SERIES: The Inheritance Games #3
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PAGE COUNT: 374 pages
PUBLISHER: Penguin
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 September 2022
GENRE: Mystery Thriller, Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

SYNOPSIS: Avery’s fortune, life, and loves are on the line in the game that everyone will be talking about.

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.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa for providing me with a free physical copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Final Gambit was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022. I counted the days until I could get a copy in my hands, as I had been obsessed with the story for over a year.

In The Inheritance Games, the story follows Avery Grambs, a high school student trying to keep her head above water because of all the challenges she has to face. Living with her stepsister, trying to build a better life for herself, and still trying to process the passing of her mother is no easy feat. However, that all changes when she needs to go to Texas for the will reading of one of the richest billionaires in America.

There, Avery meets many interesting characters, all of who would want to get rid of her after she is left with their family’s fortune. Avery is thrust into a world she never would have imagined possible for herself and needs to race against time to find out why a stranger would leave her all his money, before she loses the ultimate game. To Avery, it all sounds like one risky gamble…

In this series finale, Avery continues in search for answers to Tobias Hawthorne’s ultimate game and along the way, she discovers even more clues and dark secrets. She also struggles to trust new people in her life and the battle between time, her heart as well as her mind complicates everything.

As with the previous two books, I enjoyed this one so much and was completely captivated. It was fast-paced and action-packed. I loved discovering new clues and answers to the endless riddles along with Avery, and I also believe that, in the end, all turned out as it should have. However, something felt amiss in this novel. A new character was introduced, and I honestly could not stand them, but I also feel like the story of one of the Hawthorne brothers should have turned out differently.

I was so heartbroken when I finished the book as I thought it was the last chance I would get to spend time with the Hawthornes but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the author was releasing a Hawthorne-related book named The Brothers Hawthorne in 2023! I am so excited for this book to be released and yet again, I will be counting down the days until I can read it. I am utterly in love with The Inheritance Game world and I honestly do not think I will ever be able to get enough.

The author also made my whole year when she shared a sneak peek of possibly yet another Hawthorne-related book, The Grandest Game! When reaching the epilogue of The Final Gambit, I had hoped with everything in me that it would lead to something more, and looks like my dreams are coming true.

Overall, this book was a great conclusion (…or maybe not completely a conclusion) to an amazing series filled with mystery, riddles, games and romance, and I cannot wait to return to more of this world!

Click here to read my review of the first book of the series, The Inheritance Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.



“The world is the board, Heiress. We just have to keep rolling the dice.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Sometimes, Heiress, all you can do is recognize which way the wind is blowing and plot a course.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“I know you, Avery. And I know what it feels like to have a stranger show up at Hawthorne House and threaten the very ground beneath your feet.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“I can’t even hate him now. He’s a part of me. He’s in me.” Jameson’s fingers lightly touched my hair, then curled into it. “But mostly, I can’t hate him, Avery Kylie Grambs, because he brought me you.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Being worthy,” he continues, “requires being bold.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“…Power had to be earned. It had to be won.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“I love you. I would die to protect you. I would make you hate me to keep you safe because damn it, Avery—some things are too precious to gamble.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“All great lives should have at least one grand mystery, Avery. I won’t apologize for being yours.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“So here we are, Avery Kylie Grambs. The little girl with the funny little name. A skeleton key for so many little locks.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“But take as your consolation this, my very risky gamble: I have watched you. I have come to know you. As vou draw fire away from those that I hold most dear, know that I believe there is at least a sliver of a chance that you will survive the hits you take. You may be tested by the flames, but you need not burn.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“You’re young. You’re female. You’re nobody—use that.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Let your anger light a fire that the world will never extinguish.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tobias Hawthorne’s game hadn’t made me extraordinary. It had shown me that I already was.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Remember,” she told me, her eyes dancing, “there’s no such thing as fighting dirty if you win.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“I guess that’s what happens,” Jameson said, his eyes never leaving mine as his lips curled upward, “when you take a very risky gamble.”

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


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.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She’ll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.



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