I was expecting S.T.A.G.S to be a dark boarding school tale with a hint of horror and was thoroughly looking forward to reading it. Greer has received a scholarship to attend the prestigious school whilst her single father is working abroad. She’s from Manchester and not from old money, so she doesn’t fit it. So she’s quite surprised when she received The Invitation from the Medievals to the annual huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ weekend at Longcross.

Now at the very start Greer admits to being a murderer and the blurb gives away the fact that people end up being hunted. So the main impetus to carry on reading was to find out who they killed. It was overall a bit tame, no one ever seems to be in mortal danger. Yes, the hunting aspect is cruel but it felt more like pranks played by bullies rather than any murderous intent. I thought there’d be more running (or hiding) for their lives.

The Medievals were all tall, beautiful and clever, as if they were especially bred for the job.

Honestly, I found the Medievals were caricatures of posh people and therefore were a bit unbelievable. They reject technology and all things they consider “savage”, wishing that the world had never moved on from feudal days. Although they have more moral arguments against technology. And Greer was so ridiculously mooney-eyed over Henry, even when it was obvious to everyone that he was a bit of a nob.

When you’re not caught up in the story or characters, it’s a lot easier to be irritated by small details and unfortunately this happened a lot in this case. One thing that’s worth saying is there is a spoiler for The Fault in Our Stars. Why do that? I know it’s been read/watched by a lot of people but there will always be new readers coming along, especially when you’re writing for young adults. There are ways you can reference things that will be understood by fans yet vague enough not to directly spoil.

Pheasants and peasants, both expendable and worthless.

I probably should have DNFed it but I was reading on my daily commute and I’d got so far that I wanted to know who they actually killed. It’s all a bit convoluted and I felt it was trying to be too many things at once.

S.T.A.G.S is published by Hot Key Books and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 10th August 2017. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.