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08 August 2019

Book Review: DOGS by MA Bennett *AD Gifted

I claimed a free review copy of DOGS by MA Bennett from Hot Key Books via the Readers First program.

After reading and reviewing STAGS by MA Bennett exactly two years ago, I was pretty desperate to get my hands on the second installment. And when I picked up DOGS I was not disappointed, and just like with the first book I raced through it.

DOGS by MA Bennett coverAdd to Goodreads button
After the dramatic events of the last few weeks, Greer Macdonald is trying to concentrate on her A levels. Stuck for a play to direct for her drama exam, she gets help from an unexpected quarter...

A priceless lost play, buried by time, is pushed under her door. It is Ben Jonson's The Isle of Dogs, a play considered so dangerous in Elizabethan times that every copy was burned... Except one.

As the students begin to rehearse it, events become increasingly dark and strange, and they lead Greer back to where she never thought she would return - Longcross Hall.

There she discovers that not only is the Order of the Stag alive and well, but that a ghost from the past might be too...

Source: Readers First

5 Words: Privilege, power, ambition, secrets, ghosts.

When I first read STAGS two years ago I said that I would be happy for it to be a standalone. That was a lie, and we all know it. So knowing that

I think one of the great things about this book is that you don't necessarily have to have read STAGS first - but if you have you will get a lot more out of it. There is a recap of sorts in the first chapters - and it's not info-dump style, it fits well into the narrative - and it means that if you wanted you could just start from here.

Again I really connected with Greer - she is so relatable at times that it's almost a bit jarring, and I definitely agree with her verdict on Romeo and Juliet. She is the narrator and I love being in her head, she's dry and witty and I laugh a lot. With DOGS there are even more characters introduced, and I  loved Ty. I felt like the de Warlencourt twins are creepy, but that could also be that I kind of find twins in general a bit creepy because in the book they're actually not.

I loved how the play within the story got darker and darker as the story itself got darker - it was almost poetic and I thought it was really clever. DOGS has a lot less on page action and thrills, the physicality takes a bit of a back seat and the thriller aspect is much more in your head. I loved it, it made it all the more chilling for me.

And that ending? Now I'm desperate for the third installment! I am so glad that this is part of an ongoing extended series, because I love the twisted world of privilege and entitlement at Saint Aidan The Great School.


  1. I am even more excited to read this now.

  2. I tried to read Stags last year and just couldn't get into it. Loving this cover though!

  3. I'm glad it isn't info-dumpy! :) Sounds really interesting, great review!

  4. This was a fab review and I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

  5. I’m yet to read S.T.A.G.S it’s been on my kindle for the longest time!

  6. I really like the cover, lovely review Cora!

    Shirley |

  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Great review !

  8. I have not heard of this book yet, but it sure looks interesting! Great review!

  9. Great review! This sounds really interesting, and the cover is intriguing!

  10. its really nice to see that this book was worth it (given you were originally happy with it being a standalone) - lovely review

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