Review: The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Over a year after reading The Inheritance Games and The Hawthorne Legacy, we finally finished this amazing trilogy. The Final Gambit was one of our most anticipated books of 2022 and we’re happy to say it lived up to our high expectations.

Avery Kylie Grams is only weeks away from being the richest teenager in the world when she gets control of $46.2 billion. However, the game Tobias Hawthorne left isn’t over…not even close. When Jameson and Grayson return for Avery’s 18th birthday celebration, she expects they’ll be leaving shortly after. But an unexpected arrival changes everything for Avery and the Hawthorne brothers.

The group has one more mystery to solve. One that’s even more twisted than any other Hawthorne mystery. Get ready for surprises, puzzles and unexpected players to turn everything upside down.

We didn’t know what to expect when we started reading about Avery’s latest mystery. However, right before we started The Final Gambit, we found out about Barnes’s next book: The Brothers Hawthorne. While it’s technically a sequel, it’ll be from Grayson’s and Jameson’s points of view. So we know that the story wouldn’t be over with this book.

Again, we think Avery is a great main character. We love her intelligence and her ability to solve mysteries. While she’s super stubborn, she has a strong moral compass, which guides her through her major decisions.

As for her romance with Jameson, we might be in the minority when we say we like them together. They make sense to us. Jameson challenges Avery in the best way and she makes him more mature/down to earth. We wish we got more scenes with them together because Jameson can be swoonworthy when he tries to be.

Grayson, the other part of the love triangle, had some unexpected moments. We wish he wasn’t such a mopey zoo lion for a lot of the book. Instead of just being jealous of his brother and being haunted by his past, we wish Barnes addressed Grayson’s mental health struggles earlier. Grayson had the chance to play a bigger role in the book and the mystery. But maybe Barnes has more in store for his character growth in her next book.

As for the other two Hawthorne brothers, Xander is the much needed comic relief, while Nash is the overprotective parental figure. Nash and Libby, Avery’s half-sister, are so cute together. Opposites certainly attract.

The mystery is easily the best part of The Final Gambit. The mysterious new character opened up a whole new can of worms. The mystery had two parts: the part Tobias Hawthorne left and the part a new player sent to Avery. It made for a twisted, complex challenge that takes multiple minds to solve. Just know it’ll keep the most seasoned readers guessing.

A big surprise in the plot was how the mystery led to Avery learning about Tobias’s past more. It asked the readers the question: is there a moral way to become a billionaire? Tobias lacked in the morality department, even though he believed the ends justified the means. It made for a thought-provoking discussion.

Now, the only challenging part for us was the ending. Avery’s choice made sense for her character, even if not everyone agreed with it. We didn’t mind this part, we had a problem with how it changed everyone’s lives. Without spoiling anything we were annoyed with Grayson’s decisions revealed in the epilogue. While The Final Gambit was great overall, we’re not sure with the outcomes of Avery’s choice in the epilogue, which takes place one year after the ending.

Have you read The Final Gambit yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

34 thoughts on “Review: The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  1. I absolutely loved the finale of this initial trilogy! I think it was written wonderfully and honestly, and everything turned out precisely as I had hoped. I love Jameson and preferred him with Avery (especially after she spent 75% of the book talking about how she was choosing him. If she’d left him for Grayson, I would’ve been soooo peeved haha)! I also liked that there were a few elements that were left slightly open-ended to give the reader more to anticipate in the spin-off! I can’t wait to read what comes next!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought the author did a great job of tying up this trilogy – I think we all had high expectations for this one, and was worried it would be a let down, but it wasn’t! Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oo, I love the sounds of this engaging, compelling read, as I just love a good mystery. However, I also love that it weaves in big-picture elements by posing the million-dollar question (pun intended) on what it takes to become a billionaire. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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