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…
Even though this book was fiction, I could connect some of the themes with today’s reality. Greer and his friends don’t completely fit in at her boarding school, but when she invited to the country manor she believes that she might be able to make friends. Then, she realizes that she wasn’t invited there for fun, but to be targeted by the privileged students that attend the school.
I flew through this story, and I thought that the plot twists were dark and entertaining. Nevertheless, I thought that the world could have been expanded just a little bit more. Some of the descriptions seemed basic, and I couldn’t connect with Greer and her friends that much even though they were supposed to be the normal underdogs.
The character development was also nothing super special, but it was interesting to see the true sides of certain spoiler-y characters. I also wanted to be able to see how the world changes after the weekend, and this book does allow you to see a little bit of that.
The plot moved smoothly, but because the majority of it occurred over the time period of three days, it seemed to be packing as much content as possible into that three-day story timespan.
My favorite part of the story was definitely learning more about the true history of S.T.A.G.S. I won’t spoil anything, but it definitely surprised me in some ways. Again, I could relate it to how some colleges or even high school boarding schools have issues with rich kids and whose parents basically pay them through school pretending to befriend the underdogs and then hazing them horribly or bullying them constantly. It’s tough going to a school where the wage gap for parents can be steep, as I have seen on reviews for colleges and such. This book highlights some of these issues.
I would recommend this book to someone looking for a new action-mystery novel.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5