The Hunger

Alma Katsu

Historical Horror Fiction

Tamsen Donner must be a witch. 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 pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow a disastrous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck–the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest and most disastrous western adventures in American history.

While the ill-fated group struggles to survive in the treacherous mountain conditions–searing heat that turns the sand into bubbling stew; snows that freeze the oxen where they stand–evil begins to grow around them, and within them. As members of the party begin to disappear, they must ask themselves “What if there is something waiting in the mountains? Something disturbing and diseased…and very hungry?”

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion 

“Evil was invisible but it was everywhere.” 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) As pioneers in the Donner Party embark on their trek, mysteries surround them and face them head on. They are struggling with food scarcity, fights and now a missing child. Trust is already at a minimum among these strangers and many are fighting to be the leader.

This took a dark twist to an already tragic story and made it into horror. The trials they had to endure were heart breaking against insurmountable odds. Now, this twist turns their tragedy into a nightmare.

The characters are many and very few are memorable. There were so many hardships that the worst was shown in people. What were once kind people, slowly turned into “every man (or family) for himself” with very little sway to help others. The conditions were unimaginable so when the few kind acts were portrayed, a little hope was felt, only to be crushed by the darkness following them.

A slightly creepy atmosphere lingered throughout enhancing the intrigue into the larger mystery. It definitely turned somber and ratcheted up the adversity making people more and more desperate. I can’t say I loved the dark twist even though I expected it. I wanted it to feel more believable and that just didn’t do it. It was still a fun chilling read to get a few spooky vibes.

AUDIO REVIEW: Kirsten Potter did a great job with her voice that added a bit of suspense. Listening added a more chilling atmosphere than reading.

General content summary: F words= 6

Fagg*t= 4

Human skeletons found 

Missing child found apparently ravaged by animals or possibly by an evil person (few details)

Missing children (multiple)

Baby born stillborn 

Intimacy (infidelity, few details, multiple)

Hunting death (previous, shot)

Drowning death (previous)

Alcohol (young kids)

Rumors of human sacrifices 

Man attacks woman (no details, man shot)

Body found tied up and mutilated (some details)

Men with sickness attacks (multiple)

Gun death (multiple, few details)

Attempted suicide (near drowning)

Physical violence (fist fight)

Bodies found burned

Secret LGBTQ relationship (shame)

Parent child sexual abuse (previous, pregnancy, no details)

Child sexual molestation and abuse (few details, attempted rape) 

Stabbing death (multiple, some details, blood, cutting off ear and eating it)

Strange illness allegedly makes people crave meat, even human (eating babies, few details)

Being stalked by unknown animals or people (multiple)

Suicide (gunshot, no details)

Burning a body 

Many corpses (few details)

Inappropriate feelings for family member

Cannibalism (multiple, few details)

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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