S.T.A.G.S Book Review

There’s no point hunting if there’s no kill.

At St. Aidan the Great School, or S.T.A.G.S., new things–and new people–are to be avoided. Unfortunately, Greer MacDonald, token scholarship student, is very much a new person. She has just transferred to S.T.A.G.S., and finds herself ignored at best and mocked at worst by the school’s most admired circle of friends, the Medievals.

So imagine Greer’s surprise when this very group invites her to an exclusive weekend retreat at the private estate of the parents of their unofficial leader, Henry de Warlencourt. It’s billed as a weekend of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin’,” and rumor has it that the invitee who most impresses the group will be given the privilege of becoming a Medieval themselves.

As the weekend begins to take shape, however, it becomes apparent that beyond the luxurious trappings–the fancy clothes the maid lays out on Greer’s bed, the elaborate multi-course dinners held in the Great Hall–there are predators lurking, and they’re out for blood. . . .

Things That Were Okay

Plot Twists: There were a few plot twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming and I truly believe that this was the only redeeming quality of this novel.

*Even with this one point, I was quite annoyed by the end of this book because I just don’t understand why this has such a high rating on GoodReads.

Things I disliked

Execution of Plot: Look, I read the synopsis of the book and I was fully prepared to read about huntin, shootin, and fishin, I just didn’t realize this novel was really a how to guide on these activities. As much as I appreciated the explanations, I wanted suspense, back stabbing and an epic fight to the death. Instead I got lack luster carbon copy characters, very minor action scenes, and an anti-climatic ending. I forced myself to finish this novel simply for the fact that everyone claimed it got “even better” towards the end, especially at the waterfall scene. Just no. I’m here to tell you that “even better” is code for “somewhat redeemable.”

Characters: As I mentioned above, the characters were very bland and as much as the author tried to make the “outcasts” different from their peers, it almost seemed like they were too different. Somehow there are generations of families that go to this same school, who all look and act the same and yet somehow there are these three unique children who were admitted to this school. As you get to the end of the story it makes a bit more sense but also it made me not care about them. I didn’t care about any of the characters in this story, the good and the bad ones. They either didn’t have any personality of their own or they had vastly different and “out there” personalities that made it seem like they were trying too hard.

World building: From what I understand, this school and story is set in modern times with fully developed technology and yet its highly frowned upon? It’s deemed savage and the Medieval’s, what the popular kids call themselves, simply don’t interact with anything savage. They are fully committed to the technology free lifestyle; yet they do use cars. The estate that Henry lives on was beautifully described and I did enjoy that imagery in the story as well as the land that they used to go huntin, shootin, and fishin.

End Thoughts

I’m quite disappointing that I didn’t enjoy this novel more. For the most part this has gotten quite good reviews and the synopsis sounded very promising but it fell VERY flat for me. Maybe I missed some underlining plot theme or twist and that’s why I didn’t connect like others did? Regardless I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless maybe you enjoy partaking in the above activities.

2 out of 5 stars

Have you read S.T.A.G.S? What were your thoughts? Lets chat!

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