Published by Bloomsbury on February 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, YA
Buy on Amazon
Outlandishly wealthy Grandmother VanDemere has decided to leave her vast fortune to the family member who proves him or herself worthiest-by solving puzzles and riddles on a whirlwind race around the globe, from the mines of Venezuela to the castles of Scotland. There will be eight competitors, three continents . . . and a prize worth millions.
Seventeen-year-old Avery is the black sheep of the VanDemere clan, the ostracized illegitimate daughter. Finally, she has a chance to prove herself . . . and to discover the truth about her long-lost mother.
Marshall might be Avery's uncle, but there's no love lost between the two of them. He's her main competition, and he'll do anything to win-including betray his own children.
Riley is the handsome son of Grandmother VanDemere's lawyer. As the game progresses, Avery falls hard for Riley. Suddenly, losing the game might mean losing him, too.
As the competition takes treacherous turns, it becomes clear there can only be one victor. Who can Avery truly trust? And is winning worth her life?
How to describe this book? Basically, if ever Amazing Race and the National Treasure film had a baby, it would be Inherit Midnight. Family secrets, ancestral history dating back to the founding of the New World, a race around the world to see who would inherit the family’s moolah… I mean, it’s really not hard to find the similarities in pop culture.
The only difference is, I would rather watch Amazing Race and National Treasure over reading this again.
Now, don’t get me wrong; this is NOT a bad book by any means, but in the same breath, it wasn’t all that memorable, either. It’s a stand-alone that you may want to suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy… because holy shit, guys, there are so many stuff here that I can only see happening in a 1 to million chance (unless you guys have a deranged grandma to force her money-hungry, non-remorseful kids and grandkids to go to a really deep hole in Venezuela and mine a diamond, because it’s not like that’s extremely dangerous for a bunch of pampered brats who never worked for once in their lives…. right?!). However, if you’re looking for something fun without it making you think too much, this could be a good candidate. Just… be wary of a few things that may piss you off a bit, if you’re as nitpicky as I am.
For starters, this book is a huge info-dump. Because the heirs are on a race to get to the finish line (read: $$$$$$), they will need to solve puzzles and riddles their grandmother has left them – something she thought to do on a whim after she nearly died – which, consequently, results to a shit-ton of background history that are given to us in heavy doses. I am not kidding. In every challenge (there are seven in all), the reader is thrown a bunch of names, a bunch of places, a bunch of stuff that happened to their ancestors, all told in such a matter-of-fact and lecture-like way that it leaves the reader rather overwhelmed, if not, detached, which honestly happened to me. It truly felt like I was in high school again, listening to this boring history teacher of mine spout facts after facts after facts, without even looking at any of us. And why should she? She was reading the “facts” from that goddamn history book. That’s what it honestly felt like, which was a shame, because I love history, especially if it’s taught in such a fun way (shout-out to my two history teachers back in university… you guys were the best).
Thankfully, Inherit Midnight did some cool “reenactment” bits in some scenes, but for the most part, you could pretty much skip the “history lectures” and not really miss anything. Although I don’t think that’s really a good thing for our book here.
Secondly, the writing here leaves a lot to be desired… there were a lot of awkward phrasing here. The number one culprit was:
“I stared at him in a way that showed I was annoyed.”
Like… uhhh… really? How the frack did this phrase pass the editor?! It’s just so awkward! I tried reading it out loud and couldn’t help but cringe in second-hand embarrassment. I was like, surely, there must be a shorter and better way of saying this? Not to mention, the dialogue exchanged sometimes were so incredibly cheesy that I had to pause reading the book at times because I felt like I was being doused with cheese myself. Example (non-verbatim):
Lawyer: We’ll strike a deal. If you win this race, we’ll give you these letters.
MC: Fine, but for every competition won, I want one letter back.
Lawyer: *starts to disagree*
MC: Take it or leave it. *heads to the door*
Lawyer: WAIT! *chuckles* *shakes head* *chuckles softly* This is why we bet on you. You’re ~~*DIFFERENT*~~. You’ve got yourself a deal.
When I got to that bit where he was chuckling and shaking his head, I wanted to rip the world apart. Is it just me? IS IT JUST ME?!?!?!??!?!?!?!!?!
Thirdly, Avery. She was an alright girl, but it felt like she couldn’t do anything without Riley (the love interest and the lawyer’s intern) by her side. It’s like, without Riley she would’ve a.) chickened out; b.) chickened out; c.) chickened out; and d.) not get the clues; or e.) not notice the clues. She had her moments of intelligence and courage, but it was always after Riley would help her, and it really made me feel discouraged. Thankfully she does grow out of her shell later on… unfortunately, though, that’s not my only issue with her. I felt that the way her reactions to certain events were very exaggerated and stupid. She reads a letter from her mother, and this MC right here than RUNS AWAY from where she and Riley were researching, leaving their things vulnerable to the grabby hands of their money-hungry, battle-ready competitors. I really get her being emotional with regards to her mother, as we learn she has never seen or heard of her, and it’s really a nice side story here, but I just couldn’t help but feel the way the way this was handled was so unrealistic.
Other than that, it was okay. I did feel that the romance could have been better set up. No, there were no insta-love, but it did still feel underwhelming somehow. And the competitors and side-characters were also really one-dimensional… pretty much a rinse and repeat of each other: backstabbing, money-hungry (yes, this demands to be repeated every time) fools. Like, after a while, it becomes hard to differentiate them because they’re pretty much the same vultures as each other, with little to no depth at all. They’re all just so intolerant and nasty to our special Avery for such a petty reason that it was hard to even take them seriously.
But, hey, like I said, this is a fun book if you suspend your disbelief. These factors included.
All in all, it was an okay read. Like I said, not bad, but not memorable, either. Try it out if you want to have something akin to The Amazing Race with American and family history mixed.
3 Hot Espressos
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I am not sure what to think about this book after your review. The excerpts were just crazy. I am by far not an editor and even I can find a better way for that first excerpt. I am not so sure about the history dumps either. Every now and then, when are very relevant, I like a bit of history. Just not tons of dumps.
I am not sure about this one. Pity too. I was excited for the book. It sounded like it had great potential.
Nick @ Nick's Book Blog
I haven’t seen the best reviews this book lately, so I think I’ll be skipping it. It does sound like it has a cool concept though, which makes it such a shame that it doesn’t live up.
Great review, Faye!
I haven’t seen many reviews on this book, and a lot of the complaints were in regards to the writing. The excerpts you pulled out were cringe-worthy. Where is the editor??
The cover is neat, though, and actually reminds me of one of old school Avril Lavigne’s album covers. haha!
Hmmmm, I think I’d probably skip this one, I don’t mind all that much suspending belief because after all we’re reading fiction (in the same way when we’re watching a movie) but I was wondering about this book and your review has made me go all “nah, not gonna bother” about it! The writing might end up bothering me big time!
This doesn’t sound like something I would like, but thanks for sharing 🙂
I haven’t heard that many positive reviews about this one, I might check it out later for myself .. Thank you for sharing the honest review! 🙂