Published: April 3rd 2014
Ash's dad has just returned from war, close to breakdown, far from the war hero Ash was expecting. Ash is going to be the stag boy in the annual Stag Chase. He's been waiting to tell his dad he's following in his footsteps, he'll make him proud. But Dad is stuck in a world of imaginary threats. When Ash's grieving best friend pushes him away too, his world suddenly seems lonely and threatening. So Ash retreats to the mountains, to his punishing training runs. But in the mountains dark things are stirring - the hound boys of old haunt his running steps and Ash hears the death cry of a stag boy. Ash starts to wonder how much of the sinister pagan stories about the Stag Chase are true, and what it all has to do with his friend's anger and grief. As death haunts his every step, Ash has to find a way to live again.
I wasn’t going to review this book originally as I didn’t think I had enough to say it to form a decent review. But as the book isn’t exactly popular and not many people know of its existence I feel like I should summaries my thoughts on it.
Ash’s dad returns from war broken. He isn’t leaving his room, gets scared at the slightest of sounds. Ash has been waiting to make his father proud of being the stag boy in the annual stag chase, following in his footsteps.
This book was slightly weird. I mean the fact that most of the teenagers in the town chase one chosen boy dressed in stag and hound costumes seemed ridiculous to me. Ash’s bestfriend Mark in his grieving madness tells Ash crazy things about the chase and where it really originated from. Mark mentions that he land is sick and that “the old ways are back and things have to be put back” basically meaning that Ash will be killed when caught in the stag chase in the hopes that Bone Jack the mystical dark figure will take Ash’s life in order to bring Mark’s dad back from the dead.
Okay so I made a mess from the plot as there is quite a lot going on and my summary isn’t that great. But the book is really good. I didn’t think that Ash’s dad’s post-traumatic stress disorder would have been mentioned that much, but it was and I was rather glad. War is a horrible thing and I haven’t yet read a book that highlights the ugly bits of what it’s like to return home.
I don’t particularly like folklore and wouldn’t probably have picked up this book if it wasn’t for my friend. But I’m glad I did. It’s an interesting story with some great characters; but the book wasn’t anything special.