Book Review: D.O.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Black and white image of a dog's snout with the title in yellow
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - book 2

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for S.T.A.G.S.*

Synopsis:

Book cover for D.O.G.S.: Yellow cracked surface with black fur-like blocks around red eyes

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 . . .

Will Greer be the hunter or the hunted be?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

D.O.G.S. is a solid sequel. There was more of a mystery in this book, which I really liked. Who was providing the pages and why? I was also wondering if the pages were real when everyone simply accepted that they were the real deal.

There was also an element of who could be trusted, after the revelation that the order if the Stag was very much alive at the end of S.T.A.G.S., kicking off the book. Who was in the order? Were they manipulating the events? How? The unease played into the atmosphere so well.

The dynamic between the de Walencourt twins was so much fun to read. There was an uncertainty over how much I could trust either or both, which shifted from suspicion to trust and back throughout the book. It was so well written. I wanted to trust them, but couldn’t always. The power dynamic was great too, always shifting depending on setting and information gained.

There was a bot of to-ing and fro-ing with Shafeen, which irritated me. There didn’t seem to be any real reason behind their tiff, or a reason why they couldn’t simply TALK the issue out. I really like his character, and his quiet wit, but the tiff meant he wasn’t in a big chunk of the middle

The ending got a bit odd, a bit occult. I’m not sure how much of it was mind games and how much was real. I’m really hoping for the former, as the rest of the book feels rooted in real life and this felt like a massive deviation from that. It did make me question what was real and what was in Greer’s mind, brought on by stress. It was a little unsettling and unsatisfying when it leant too much towards the occult.

The conspiracy grew from the previous book, requiring a bit of suspended disbelief, but overall it sets up an interesting stage for the next book. I’m intrigued to see how the intrigue grows with the series.


Read my reviews of other books by M. A. Bennett:

Young Adult:

S.T.A.G.S. (this series):

Middle Grade:

The Butterfly Club:

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