Reviews

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

enbrady99's review

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

weatherleyk's review

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adventurous dark mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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kma711's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

nmellor's review

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adventurous dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

thislittlemel's review

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dark mysterious fast-paced

4.0

bookish_gems's review

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3.0

Rating: 3.5*

This was a hard one to rate. I really enjoyed the narration and I liked the storyline but there were a few things that brought the rating down.

Positives:
The setting- I really enjoyed he settings of this book, bot the school and the big house. The descriptions of both were really vivid and brought pictures of grandeur to mind. Also, the whole thing gave it a real Agatha Christie murder mystery vibe which I loved.
The motive- I just really enjoyed the idea that there is a whole sect of people in a developed country that would turn their back entirely on technology and see it as a route of all evil. They brought up some valid points and the debates over the subject were really thought provoking.
The conclusion- By the conclusion I’m actually referring to the scene at the top of the waterfall (more on this below). I enjoyed the showdown, it was very dramatic and him being undone by the things he hated most (‘Savages’ and technology) was pretty perfect.
The movie references- soooo many and although I didn’t get them all I still enjoyed it. I also like the David Attenborough name drop.
Greer- awful name but I enjoyed her being a proper Northern Lass. She was bright, warm and funny. She was not perfect (see below) but that made her more human.
The Medievals- They really were a scary little cult and I could feel how dangerous they were. They were menacing and had a real aura of predator, like a pride of Lions. But it was more than that. It was the way they had been building to this for months, weakening their prey over time, studying their behaviour and weaknesses so that they could exploit them all the better once the hunt began.

Negatives:
Greer’s various ‘bad feminist ’ thoughts- Greer had this thoughts a few times throughout the book and it really started to annoy me. If she thought of one of the boys as handsome or felt all butterfly belly around them, she told herself she was a bad feminist. When she wished someone would sweep her off her feet and carry her down a hill to the car, she was a bad feminist. When she didn’t immediately believe a girl who said she’d been hunted, she was a bad feminist. NEWS FLASH- you are allowed to get a bit giddy over a boy, it doesn’t make you a bad feminist. You are allowed to want to be swept off your feet and men can want that too. You are allowed to not believe something that sounds crazy and not be angry at yourself just because a fellow woman said it.
Feminism is not about all this stuff. It is about equal rights for men and women: in the workplace, in the street, in the home, in the law. It’s about everyone being allowed to giddy over someone they find attractive or wanting to be swept of their feet. As long as you don’t disbelieve someones claims purely because they are female then it has NOTHING TO DO WITH FEMINISM.
It just annoyed me because people reading this book who might only now be getting to the age of being aware of what feminism is will think it’s about shit like hating men or siding with women always and it’s not. It’s about striving for a world were the gender pay gap is a thing of the past, women don’t get assulted in the street and old white men don’t inforce a tapon tax. Rant over.
The ending- This book should have ended about three chapters before it did. I had already guessed everything that was put forward in those chapters and it was a bummer that after everything they didn’t technically win. Although I did like the fact that the order seeped futher than they thought, I wanted justice and I didn’t really get it.
The foreshadowing- it wasn’t foreshadowing. She just basically told us how it would end and it killed a lot of the suspence for me.

Overall I did enjoy this audiobook but it didn’t quite hit all the notes I wanted it to and fell a little short for me.

missshelbyjane's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Really loved the book but the big reveal at the end turned out to be different than I expected. Still enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the sequel!

tazzypenguin's review

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really struggled with the writing, found it far too hard to read

charkar's review

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2.0

The first sentence of S.T.A.G.S. captures your attention, drawing you in instantly. The rest of the book, however… Leaves a lot to be desired.

After the bombshell that is ‘I think I might be a murderer’ Bennett leaves the reader in what is supposed to be suspense. The idea is to have you hanging off the edge of your seat dying to know just what happened to make the main character open with such a line. The story, however, does not deliver. The majority of S.T.A.G.S. is spent describing the painfully posh boarding school and cast of characters who refer to themselves as the Medievals. There’s lots of time spent killing animals and namedropping films, but not a whole lot spent on actually thrilling you. Greer – the grating film buff main character – reminds you, every now and then, that someone died but then quickly goes back to comparing the wallpaper to that in Pride and Prejudice, and you don’t find out just what happened at Longcross Hall until the book is mostly over. By which point it’s too little too late and all your excitement has long since gone.

The meandering plot isn’t helped by the writing, either, which I can only describe as odd. Each chapter starts with a single sentence paragraph, making everything feel a bit unpolished and essay like. It’s almost as if each single line is acting as an introduction to the chapter, outlining what will be discussed in the following pages. And then there are all the film references that will mean nothing to you unless you’ve seen them all but are guaranteed to be annoying either way.

Add to this a cast of characters you can’t really connect too and S.T.A.G.S. shapes up to be quite a disappointing read. You never really get to know anyone other than Greer, but even she isn’t fully fleshed out and easy to understand or relate to. All the information is there – what she looks like, the fact that she’s a film fanatic, she lives with her dad – but the emotions are just… not there. The highlights of the book are, without a doubt, Shafeen and Nel, but again – they’re written in a way that makes connecting to them difficult as they’re so flat and clearly stuck on the page. If the characters had jumped out at me more, I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more.

The epilogue, however, does improve things. After the final few chapters where there’s talk of change and wanting to move on only no real action to do so from Greer, the epilogue delivers a delicious twist that leaves the ending open. For your own interpretation and perhaps a sequel, though I don’t think the story warrants one. Just when you think you have everyone figured out a spanner is thrown in the works and you close the book with even more questions. A clever move by Bennett, as it lifts the entire book.

Overall though, I can’t help but feel deceived and let down by S.T.A.G.S. What I expected to be a grisly, bloody thriller really was anything but. Not necessarily a bad read, just not what it promised.

luthirialbooks's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A

3.0

Basically, I wasn’t keen on the snobby people being racist. I felt it could’ve been left out. You can be snobby and not racist. It just seemed really weird, idk? Maybe out of place? I didn’t feel it was necessary, anyway. I was not comfortable with those parts, the way poc were spoken about just didn’t sit right with me. Maybe that’s my own interpretation.

However, a tense and surprising read. I did enjoy it. It was very YA, but good to be back in a boarding school setting. Not been there since reading a Jacqueline Wilson book. Very eerie at times. Held your interest. My favourite parts were film references. They made me chuckle.

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