Book Review//S.T.A.G.S

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Goodreads Synopsis:

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… 

[Amazon CA] [Book Depository]

My Thoughts

This had the potential to be a great novel as I enjoy YA novels, but it fell flat for me. It was an entertaining read, but the plot wasn’t fully fleshed out for me. There were a few moments where I felt that it was slow and dragging a bit. I think some of the aspects were a bit too convenient and that the teenagers had too much power. They were left alone in a huge house all weekend and the only adults were the housekeeping staff who followed all the orders from these teenagers, which seemed a bit of a stretch for me. This has the potential to be a good novel/series, but it was missing some elements for me. Maybe I need to lower my expectations of novels or just start going into the blind. I’m sure others will enjoy this novel and this series, but it simply wasn’t for me. (Just not my cup of tea. Can I keep using this in all my reviews or is it getting old?)

There was a lot that I enjoyed in this novel, the twist at the end was great and I didn’t see it coming. I liked how the author left it open for the rest of the books in this series and where the plot and series could possibly go. The ending was done well with more characters being introduced that were tied back to what some of the characters said earlier in the book, it was a nice set-up for the series. Unfortunately, I won’t be continuing with this series. I couldn’t relate to the characters, and it didn’t hold my interest to read the other books.

I didn’t find any of the characters to be likeable, they were OK for me, none of them really stood out. Greer is a big movie fanatic and there were endless references to movies. At first, I thought these were nice little additions, but then it got overwhelming to the point where I glossed over it. I’m not a huge movie person, so I found it to be annoying after a while.

I think this book did point out privilege and that having the ‘right’ kind of money and prestige can get you in with the right people. If you’re like the three characters that got invited to the weekend retreat, you didn’t belong with everyone else at the school. Greer doesn’t have the ‘old’ type of money that everyone else at the school seemed to have, and she doesn’t fit in. Chanel, the other girl invited comes from ‘new’ money and doesn’t fit in along with Jadeja. These three characters were specifically chosen because of their ‘otherness’ and not meeting the status quo of the rest of the student population. I did have to suspend my belief a bit in this one, but once I did it and kind of just went with the flow it worked.

Similar to The Inheritance Games, I was drawn to the cover for this book. It looked like it has so much potential, but it just fell flat for me. The dark undertones gave me all the creepy vibes that something was not quite right and something sinister was happening.

With all this in mind, it does have a unique and captivating premise, but it could have been executed better – more editing and fleshing out the details were needed in this one.

Let me know you’re thoughts!

Cups of Tea: ☕☕☕

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Published: January 30, 2018

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