"Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you."--The New York Times Book Review
"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."--Stephen King
A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.
That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.
As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.
Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We’re suckers for a ghost story around the fire—and The Hunger is exactly that in book form. Alma Katsu reimagines the doomed Donner Party expedition with ghoulish detail, chilling character detail, and lots of supernatural horror. As the ill-fated wagon train heads deeper into unforgiving landscapes, the suspense and dread flare higher and higher. We got totally absorbed in this shiver-inducing spin on a historical tragedy.
Katsu (The Taker) injects the supernatural into this brilliant retelling of the ill-fated Donner Party. In the prologue, set in April 1847, a team of rescuers sets out to find the last survivor of the expedition, Lewis Keseberg, but they locate only his abandoned cabin. "What looked like a human vertebra, cleaned of skin" and a "scattering of teeth" lie outside in the snow. Flash back to June 1846. George Donner is leading a wagon train to California. Those headed west often leave letters under rocks in the hope that an eastbound traveler will retrieve them and take them to the nearest post office. In one place, one of Donner's teenage daughters finds hundreds of such letters, all with the ominous message: "Turn back or you will die." Then a young boy disappears and is later found savagely mutilated, as if by an animal. The members of the party come to suspect that shape-changers are responsible for the carnage, and they encounter increasing challenges to their survival. Fans of Dan Simmons's The Terror will find familiar and welcome chills. Author tour.)
Hooked from the star
I read this book after being recommended by a friend and I was hooked immediately! The author’s build up of suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire book. She plays up the mystery so well that I was trying to figure out what was happening all up until the very end. Would recommend this book to anyone who loves a very well written mystery/thriller 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
The lengthy exposition crammed into inopportune areas ruins the tension, interrupts the dialogue, and bogs down the horror scenes. There were countless moments in which I was thinking to myself, “Stop telling me and just SHOW me!” Overall, the reading experience didn’t ignite my imagination. The writing itself is mediocre at best. It frequently seems like it’s written by a middle-schooler. Words such as “spooky” and “scary” should never be used in a horror-drama set in the mid-nineteenth century. There are also awkward moments where the point of view shifts unexpectedly.
Now for the good qualities: I loved how the author described wild natural environments, and a few abstract concepts such as young love or the presence of paranoia. She demonstrates great skill sporadically throughout the story, especially in the prologue. I appreciate the effort to produce an emotional attachment between the reader and the settlers; it almost worked for me. The sense of isolation and inevitable approach of death was described quite well. If the exposition had been more appropriately placed (or shaved away in many areas), and if the vocabulary had been more mature, I think this book could have been much better. Sadly, it fell short of its goal — at least, in my opinion.
To summarize, it’s childish and simplistic. If you get the free sample and see the exasperatingly thick exposition in the first chapter, just ask yourself if you really want to spend money to have more of that. Don’t make the same mistake I did.