After finally reading and loving This Is Our Story I was in the mood to read another mystery with a hunting component in it. And I just happened to own S.T.A.G.S. With a tagline like this; Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend. I knew it would be exactly what I wanted to read. Did I love it as much as This Is Our Story? Or was is a bit of a disappointment? Keep on reading and find out!
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.
But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...
S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
Published by Hot Key Books on 10/08/2017
The hunter…became the hunted,” she translated haltingly. “The hounds…were struck with a wolf’s frenzy…and tore him to pieces as they would a stag.
The cover is pretty simple, but I like it a lot. I love white covers with red details, and that’s exactly what S.T.A.G.S. has. The antlers give you that hunting feeling right away and that spot of blood brings a bit of a creepy vibe. I like the cracked background although I’m not completely sure on what it’s supposed to represent.
When you’re at STAGS, there’s only one thing worse than no money, and that’s the wrong kind of money.
Greer transferred to an exclusive boarding school but has some troubling fitting in. She hasn’t made any friends in the first semester and the school has some unwritten rules that Greer had to get used to. For example, none of the students use their cellphones. The most popular kids at school invite Greer and a couple of other students to a weekend of huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’ at the estate of Henry. Of course she’s super excited, and maybe I’m just very skeptical but I would’ve never trusted an invitation like this haha.
The story is written in the first person, and Greer tells us immediately that she’s responsible for a murder. She looks back at everything leading up to that moment. I didn’t mind the first person perspective, but I was a bit disappointed that you immediately find out who dies. It would’ve been a bit more thrilling I think, to keep that part a mystery. However, this story was still quite interesting and I did enjoy the road to the death.
I didn’t really care about Greer as a character, or any of the others to be honest. But I did like she compared situations to movies. It was fun to see them and it brought something extra to the character. In the end though, Greer was very naive, kept reminding us she’s a feminist, and was a bit boy crazy in my opinion. Chanel was probably my favorite character but all of them could’ve been developed a bit more. The popular kids are quite horrible and it was a shame that there didn’t seem to be any redeeming quality to them.
While I have quite some complains, this was also a fast and fun read! I really enjoyed the hunting aspect and the ruthlessness of the characters. The story didn’t have very unexpected twists unfortunately. I was quite disappointed in the way the murder we heard about in the first chapter plays out. That definitely wasn’t what I was expecting and hoping for haha. I did quite like the ending, and while I did see it coming a bit in advance, it was precisely the ending I was hoping for.
For me the ending was perfect the way it was, and I don’t really need a sequel. However, I just found out that there already it a sequel, and that it will probably be a 5 book series. I will definitely read the sequel but I’m not sure how this story will be stretched out over 5 books. All in all this was a 3,5 star read for me. It wasn’t completely what I was hoping for, but it was definitely enjoyable!
It was like that bit in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast dances with Belle.
Except there was no Belle.
And no music.
And no candlelight.
Just a beast.
While I didn’t like S.T.A.G.S. as much as I hoped I would, it was still an enjoyable read. I especially liked the ending although I don’t think everyone will agree with me on that. While I didn’t think it needed a sequel, I do plan on reading it! Do you want to read S.T.A.G.S. And do you like a hunting aspect in book mystery thrillers? Tell me in the comments!