Jennifer Lynn Barnes has managed to dazzle readers again with her latest book The Final Gambit. With the success and popularity of the previous two entries, The Inheritance Games and The Hawthorne Legacy, there was never any doubt that Barnes would be able to draw this enthralling series to a satisfying conclusion. But it was never going to be an easy task. With the web of mystery that has been woven, The Final Gambit was one of our most anticipated books of 2022, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally here.
Envy of the World:
The Inheritance Games series has had so much to love. Dead billionaires with hot descendants and a glamorous lifestyle many of us could never imagine are the hooks Barnes uses to reel readers into her strangely comforting universe. Let’s be real: Any of us stuck in the capitalist hellscape that is the modern world would be lying if we said we’d never imagine what our lives would be if we suddenly found ourselves in possession of such ludicrous wealth. Avery Grambs is really living all of our Cinderella fantasies, even if her life is at risk at every turn.
This entire series has revolved around the fact that at some point, too much money is simply too much money. Now, maybe don’t look for an in-depth analysis of the economic realities of existing in America. Avery continues to be the everywoman. It’s so endearing that even at the end of the series, she remains true to herself, and never forgets where she comes from.
Riddles Upon Riddles, Secrets Upon Secrets:
Barnes is the absolute boss of the riddle, and The Final Gambit is no exception. The twists and turns are never-ending. Just when you think a resolution is coming, the plot continues to thicken. This never gets tired, however. Rather than relying on gimmicks, Barnes holds the readers’ attention from beginning to end by taking them on this wild journey.
Each new puzzle provides a new opportunity for the characters to show their true selves. Some revelations are…less than savory. Others just deepen our love of these characters that we’ve followed since they began on this winding road. The plot twists, as in the previous entries, keep the story moving at a break-neck speed that is sure to break the most stuck reader out of a slump.
Since this entire series has revolved around the sad girl autumn aesthetic, it’s only appropriate that Taylor Swift is a part of that legacy. Red, Folklore, and Evermore all have songs that we could include if we were to compile a soundtrack for The Final Gambit. Seriously, reading this book with Taylor in the background is the ultimate fan experience.
Like Swift’s music, The Final Gambit makes a habit of providing a venue for brooding and processing life in the most dramatic and satisfying way. The fact that the Hawthornes have Swift locked and loaded on their karaoke machine really just makes them more trustworthy. It also makes them far more relatable, which can get lost when they’re in the midst of their high-stakes games.
A Legacy Fulfilled:
The ultimate conclusion of The Final Gambit is a picture-perfect one. This may be the end of this Hawthorne saga. However, it’s clear that there is ample opportunity for prequels exploring the origin of the Hawthorne saga. There is also the set-up for sequels to see the impact of the current generation in light of that bombshell decision.
This was a perfect way to bring the trilogy full-circle, while leaving so many more opportunities to explore this universe even further. Whether or not Barnes returns to these characters and stories, readers will always have a fun and self-contained series to return to. These puzzles will get no less complex on the re-read.
At its core, The Final Gambit is a story about finding oneself in the midst What Barnes has done is gifted her readers with a heartwarming and captivating story that is the perfect way to kick off the fall season. If you love high-stakes drama, quests for healing deep familial wounds, and a side of justice being served, The Final Gambit just might take your breath away.
The Final Gambit is available now, wherever books are sold.