3 Stars Book Reviews

Book Review: The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Hey everyone and happy Tuesday! I have an extra-late post for all of you today because I completely forgot about posting until now. I’ve been all over the place with starting and not finishing reads, but I was able to push through and finish this one over the weekend! This year has been packed with so many sequels to books I’ve read last year, and I’m glad that I was able to add this one to my tally. Anyways, let’s get started!

*Note that this review will have spoilers for The Inheritance Games*

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The Inheritance Games was one of my favorite reads of last year, and I was so so excited to finally get to The Hawthorne Legacy. It was one of my top anticipated releases for this year (even though I say that about so many others), and I guess my expectations were just too high. This book disappointed me. This book felt like it was all over the place, and it did not have the same appeal as the first.

I’m going to warn you that this review might be a whole disorganized mess, but I wanted to sort out the scramble from my brain into words when it’s fresh before I forget stuff in the next few days. I’ll probably come back and clean it up a bit in the next few days if I’m feeling it.

This book picks off right where the last one left off, with the huge cliffhanger of Toby being alive being revealed. We see that Toby is the same Harry that Avery has constantly played chess with at the park of her old town. Avery and Jameson instantly make a bet to see who can solve the mystery of what truly happened to Toby first, this time with the potential of their romantic relationship on the line. We continue to find out why Avery was chosen for this huge inheritance rather than the rest of the Hawthorne brothers throughout the book.

There’s a reveal towards the beginning of the book that honestly made me so uncomfortable with the romance in this book, until I finished going through the mental gymnastics of what actually happened by the end of the story. I’m trying to be as vague as possible for everyone who hasn’t read this book, but I have to mention that the inclusion of this plot point made reading a large chunk of this book weird and awkward. I mean it was a great reveal and all, but its implications on everything else definitely brought down my mood and excitement for the rest of the story.

Also, I came into this book remembering essentially nothing from the first book, and I paid my price for it. The plot of this story requires you to know about a lot of the characters from the first book, which I did not. I barely remembered Jameson, Grayson, Xander, and Avery, and it definitely led to a lot of confusion. I didn’t even know there was a fourth Hawthorne brother! Like who is Nash? I’ve never heard about him in my entire life. I had to look up his name writing this review because I already forgot who he was. There’s also this whole sub-plot with Eli, but I’m still confused over it because I don’t know who this guy is. This issue is definitely 100% on me, but I just thought it would be worthwhile to talk about my endless confusion throughout the story and my short-term memory loss.

I also really want to talk about the romance and love triangle. I did not like it. I have only loved one love triangle in my entire life (the one in The Infernal Devices), and this one just added another tally to my list of the ones I didn’t. I don’t remember disliking it all that much in the first book, but for some reason, it just got worse in the second. It felt forced in my opinion, and there wasn’t enough development in either relationship for me to particularly care. It is 100% a sub-plot, but that in itself was a problem for me, because that meant that there wasn’t enough time to have that slow burn and actual development in the romance besides the occasional emotional moment or kiss out of seemingly nowhere.

To make things worse, this girl can’t choose either! Like pick one! Plus, it’s obvious how the “conclusion” to the romance is going to end. I could see what was going to happen at the end, right from the beginning of the book. The other person felt shoved in there for the sake of keeping up with the love triangle. I knew who she was going to choose before she did. Even the conclusion with her “making her choice” was just unsatisfying.

Now, the characters. Avery…annoyed me. I don’t really know what else to say. She’s interesting for who she is, but not what she does. She makes rash decisions and can’t really get her romantic life together. I didn’t really like her best friend, Max, either. There was something about the way she talked that rubbed me the wrong way. As for Libby and Nash, neither of them were that interesting either because they barely had a spot in the story.

Now, the Hawthorne brothers minus Nash are more interesting. I remember really liking Xander in the first book, and I still do, but I feel like he got more awkward. So essentially, he’s me if I was placed into this story! He feels a bit left out from the mystery-solving of the whole story, with Jameson and Grayson making up their own duo, despite his efforts to get involved. He’s on the sidelines of whatever is going on, and makes his own “team” with Thea and Rebecca (I forgot how to spell her name) to compensate. I felt a bit bad for him at times. Out of Jameson and Grayson, I did like Grayson more. Despite that one chapter that described him “dripping confidence/power” a bit too many times, I thought he was more interesting than Jameson.

This book also has too many random sub-plots that distract from the story. I wish that there was just more focus on the Toby mystery, without getting side tracked by everything else. There’s a lack of closure in the ending, but in a way that made me feel apathetic if anything. I actually didn’t know that this was going to be a trilogy before reading through some other reviews, so I guess you can say that things might finally tie up in the final book.

After all of my negative thoughts, I will say that one of the things I loved about this book was the short chapters. I loved how the story was broken up, and it made the content much easier to consume. It gave me the chance to take a break whenever I felt like it, without having to read another 40 pages for the end of the chapter.

Overall, definitely not my favorite, but I will still be reading the third book to see what happens next. The covers are beautiful too, so this book can be some pretty good shelf decor if anything. I’d still recommend the series as a whole because of how much I enjoyed the first, but I’d be cautious as to setting any expectations for this one prior to reading it. There are still a lot of people who enjoyed it though, which I kind of see, but unfortunately I was not one of those people. 

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Thanks for reading through my review everyone! If you’ve read this one as well, feel free to let me know what you thought of it as well.

I know that I’ve been getting a lot worse with maintaining my blog when it comes to comments, etc. but I’ve been a bit busy with school lately. I always get spam comments in the hundreds too whenever I come on here to post and respond, so if it takes me a while to get to these things, it’s because I don’t have the mental stamina to sift through all 300 spam comments haha.

Anyways, hope you all have an amazing Tuesday, and I will see you all in my next blog post!

Happy reading!
-Allison

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