My posts may contain affiliate links, if you buy something through these links it doesn't cost you anything, but I may make a small commission which helps to keep this site up and running. Your virtual dog could be the next champion!

08 August 2017

Review: STAGS by MA Bennett

This book took me completely off guard. I was not expecting STAGS to blow me away quite so completely. It has shot straight into my list of all time favourite books and I loved the way that privilege and desperation collided.

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. BennettAdd to Goodreads
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...

Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Privilege, power, huntin', shootin', fishin'.

Holy wow. I misjudged this book a lot.

I knew from those first gripping pages that there had been a death, that someone thought they had murdered someone else, but I loved how unreliable it felt.

I'm not entirely sure what it was about the cover or the blurb (yes, I read it for once!) that made me think that this was set in the US, but it's not. And that came as a very pleasant and welcome surprise.

I found myself quickly sucked deep into the world of the Medievals and Savages and the intrigue of school politics, and that was enough to keep me feverishly turning pages even before the main story kicked in.  And once that main story kicked in I was hooked by the ominous cloud hanging over everything, the portent of what I thought I knew was to come (I was wrong).

I loved Greer. I loved how she had this film connection with her father and how it was such a large part of her life that slipped into Greer's narrative.

I feel like this would translate amazingly into film or TV - and the setting would be all the more breathtaking. Think Skins set in Downton Abbey with a dash of Mean Girls.

The ending of STAGS was left open, ready for a sequel. But I actually hope it is left on its own, as that would make the story (and the ending) even more powerful. Also, I can carry on the fanfic in my head.


  1. Great review, Cora! I'm looking forward to reading this - picked up my copy at YALC!

  2. Hi another fantastic review Cora I'm glad you were gripped by it. Sadly, it's not for me.

  3. For some reason I thought Greer would be a guy. And for some reason this cover gets me really excited about the story. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, because it's always sad when a good cover has a bad story.

    x Envy

  4. Haven't read this, and am on the fence about it as I've seen such mixed reviews, especially as my library don't have a copy. I'm glad you enjoyed it 😊
    Amy x


Please leave a link to your own blog when you comment, I'd love to visit yours!

Thank you so much for your comment!