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The Hunger

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  16,899 ratings  ·  2,697 reviews
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

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-
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  16,899 ratings  ·  2,697 reviews

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Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Maybe it takes one demon to keep the others away." He paused. His eyes glistened with tears now. "Lucifer had been an angel first. I always remember that."

Is it okay to say that I devoured this book?

Seriously, I picked this book up after I had read "The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing saga of the Donner party" (It's wonderful and I highly recommend it.) I was worried that I would not like this book as much. I had read some positive reviews of this book and even Stephen King endorsed it,
A book that I was not very excited about throughout does not get me all that excited to write a review. To that end, it is time for another official Bullet Point Review! (Disclaimer: All opinions my own . . . I am glad some of you enjoyed the book and did not feel this way!)

- It’s over!
- Some interesting historical fiction (I guess . . .)

- Not really all that scary or terrifying
- Random time jumping, and not in a useful way
- I was daydreaming throughout – never a good sign!
- Silly plot
The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a 2018 G.P Putnam’s Sons publication.

Deeply engrossing!

The Donner Party is an epic tragedy that has been explored and analyzed for ages. It’s a gruesome and ghastly tale all on its own. But now, Alma Katsu has added a paranormal tint to the story which only adds yet another horrifying possibility into the mix.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It has been categorized as a horror novel and since it is centered around the Donner party, it certainly should f
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best horror 2018! what will happen?

when history’s not bad enough, add monsters!

writers adhering to this philosophy can either turn that historical atrocity frown upside down and play it for laughs by making zombies stagger across the deck of the titanic, OR use it to exculpate humanity by redirecting blame; identifying a villain that is not (or no longer, in the case of the undead) bound by human expectations of civilized behavior - 'oh, hitler was
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I need therapy after this book.
Holy crap! Someone show me a puppy video, STAT! I may have nightmares tonight.

Okay, so the biggest thing that will fuck you up is that you know this book is based upon a true story. Yes, it gets strange and has a paranormal thing that comes in, but you also know that these are real people who ended up eating each other in real life. So, you know how absolutely fucked they were to get to that point. They had been traveling together for months. How desperate were the
Okay. Alright, Alma Katsu. I see you. I like you.

Reimagining the true events of the infamous Donner Party, Katsu brings a haunting atmosphere to this historical Horror novel.

I must say, the atmosphere had me. I was hooked.

It was like watching a movie that is dark for a large portion of the time. It leaves you squinting, trying to figure out what is coming next.

After a series of unfortunate events, rations for the traveling party become depleted, the weather gets progressively worse and tempers
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-e-book
Son of a gun! I tell ya' what, I loved this book! I love horror of all kinds, but I'm a happy camper when someone takes a history, "that was ALL kinds of messed up to begin with," and then adds horror upon the real horror. I'll admit that I do wonder just what in the heck the current day relatives think of it...But, if they're anything like me, "probably not" I would be absofuckinglutely delighted!! I'm odd that way. This is a story that everybody knows. I learned about it in grade school. I act ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished another novel on the Oregon Trail, I decided to read The Hunger which had been on my list for a long time. The title is meaningful as although the story concentrates around the Donner families and those who travelled in the train with them, it is the hunger that is the main motif. Ms Katsu included the element of horror into her novel and I think it was a splendid idea and the tragic finale is the consequence of all horrors that the main characters carry with themselves and of al ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, horror, kb
Haunting and eerie reimagining of the Donner Party tragedy. I enjoyed the creepy paranormal elements the author added to the story. A very captivating read with great atmosphere and tense situations. Many characters that I didn’t like at the beginning of the book I felt bad for by the end. This is the first book I’ve read by Alma Katsu and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a fictional novel that is centered around one of histories most famous events when it came to settling the western U.S. This story gives a new imaginative supernatural twist to just what may have happened to the Donner party on their trek across the country.

The book uses the real characters and events from that time to give the story that realistic feel while also adding in it’s own elements to make a whole new version of events. The story starts off letting readers g
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hmmm, I’m not sure how to rate this! I think it’s between 3.5/4.0 stars for me. I liked the historical fiction aspect of the book along with the horror elements. I thought the writing in The Hunger was well done.

I think if you go into this only looking for horror, you’ll be disappointed. The horror elements were more at the end. They showed up with about 15% left in the book. I liked the concept of (view spoiler)
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a re-imagining of the tragedy of the Donner Party. There is terror and horror contained within these pages. The characters both real and fictious are fully developed with backstories that enhance the tale. You will want to keep the lights bright when reading this one.
Sadie Hartmann
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: night-worms
Thank you to Glasstown Ent. for giving the Night Worms a copy of this book to all seven of us for an honest review.

I'm a native of Northern California. I grew up in a historical mining town. For history lessons in primary school, we read books like, Patty Reed's Doll and played a computer game called Oregon Trail where you and your family had to make your way to California in a covered wagon. I often died before reaching the elusive Sutter's Fort. I had too many supplies in the wagon and my oxen
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
4.5 Hungy, hungy stars

The Pioneer wagon train that was DOOMED….and a HUNGER that was lurking within!

“Evil was invisible, and it was everywhere.”
― Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu did an amazing job when combining actual history and blending in fictional elements intrinsically. Researching The Donner/Reed parties that attempted the migration west through uncharted regions of the Sierra Mountains with little choice for survival is a brilliant setting for a fictional novel, and Katsu explored and executed thi
Ok!....Alright!.........Alma Katsu takes us on a spook-filled journey with a mix of historical-fiction and horror as we follow The Donner Party wagon train from Independence, Missouri west toward California.

Month by month beginning June 1846 through January 1847 we become acquainted with the pioneers, their tumultuous lives that sent them west in the first place and the disastrous mistakes made along the trail that leave them struggling for survival in the end. (no spoiler here)

And when IT all

Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Donner frowned. "We have ninety people in our party . . ."

Not for long you don't . . . hehehe.

The sad tale of the Donner Party has been told many times. It's been fictionalized, and nearly mythologized. Katsu's retelling is a welcome addition to the canon. Her twist? There are supernatural influences afflicting that doomed party as it weaves its way through forbidden mountains.

"There's no game in these woods - have you noticed? That's because there's nothing left. Nothing. Something's out th
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
In April 1846, 90 settlers left Springfield, Ill headed for California. The Donner Party was led by Jacob and George Donner. At first they followed the established route -- The California Trail -- reaching Wyoming without incident. It was at that point that they took the advice of a trail guide, Langsford Hastings, who offered a quicker route. This route proved to be dangerous and nearly impossible to navigate. The Donner Party wasted precious time trying to get through, and arrived at the Sierr ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
"He told her of a hunger that lodged not in his stomach, but his blood, an excavating hunger that festered like an unclean wound." (148)


The story of The Hunger is a fascinating concept, and I have been so excited for this book for months. As you can tell from my rating, this book was pretty hyped, and I ended up disappointed.

The Hunger is a slow-burn story, but the sense of dread that carries out from the beginning is so well done. I was expectantly waiting for it all to come together in th
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
Oh my gosh, I LOVED this book! It was so well-written, it was creepy and haunting, and I loved the paranormal spin on a story we were taught in school. The characters, their feelings, the cold, the hunger, the landscape was all described so well... I cannot wait to read everything else Alma Katsu has written. 5 very big stars!
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to come.
In The Hunger, Alma Katsu takes a real historical event – the dreadful fate of the Donner Party – and reimagines it as a horror story. (Of course, you could say it's already a horror story, but in this case it's the supernatural kind.) We follow a large cast of characters as they head out on a journey from Missouri to California in 1846. They're beset by bad luck from the start, and their inept 'leaders' repeatedly ignore warnings to avoid the treacherous route ahead. When a boy goes missing and ...more
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s books like these that make me mad, mad, mad. Not mad because the book was bad or poorly written (it wasn’t), not mad because of the liberties taken by the author (they enhance the story, and are therefore acceptable), and not mad because a favorite character died (this is about the Donner party, people die). No, I’m mad because I didn’t think of this concept first. I mean, come on, a group of settlers/pioneers who get trapped in the mountains and resort to cannibalism? That’s the perfect zo ...more
Okay, so I realized while reading a book on similar subject matter Aka The Donner Party tragedy I never reviewed this book properly. I sure did read it fast enough.
What got me about this book was that you have real life tragedy and horror and then the author uses actual creepy horror to turn it into a sublime and freaktastic story!
The weird thing is, it could be totally plausible ! You have to use your imagination a bit and think and then voila !
I loved this book. The ending left a little to
Actual: 3.75/5

If you’ve ever heard of the Donner Party, you know that they were a group of people who migrated to California by wagon through the Midwest during the 1840s. And well, there were a lot of events that went wrong during this trip: snowstorms, power rifts, and oh yeah, cannibalism.

And it’s all true.

Of course, Katsu fictionalized this story because no one can truly know what was said or happened, but it’s obvious she did ample research. That, and I could tell the facts were pretty acc
Will Ejzak
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
About 70% of The Hunger is an industry standard romance novel: 40% rustic heterosexual fanfiction, 8% juicy incest fanfiction, 22% overwrought homosexual fanfiction. There may not be a ton of food, but there are plenty of longing, furtive glances to go around in the Donner party caravan. The women have eyes like the ocean and waists so thin you can "circle them with two hands." The men are either guilt-ridden sexy brooding heroes or slobbering rapists (whose raping tendencies, as it turns out, a ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The tragedy of the Donner Party is retold with a supernatural twist in The Hunger, a dark mix of historical fiction and horror. For context, in the May of 1846 a wagon train led by George Donner and James Reed set out from Independence, Missouri like so many other pioneer families hoping to settle a new life in California. Instead of following the typical route, however, the Donner Party opted to travel the new Hastings Cu
Mike's Book Reviews
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Full Video Review Here:

As a full on history nerd in high school, the real-life events of The Donner Party is something I have researched and learned about tirelessly over the years. So when I heard that Alma Katsu was writing what has become known as historical horror fiction about The Donner Party, my interest was peaked.

The sad part is, I was greatly disappointed with this book. It is a topic that was primed to have a supernatural spin put on one of the darkest sto
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
A retelling of the famous story of the ill-fated wagon train with an added twist. Not only are there horrors in the form of fellow travellers within the group, their behaviour worsening as conditions decline, but there is also something stalking the group into the mountains.

Katsu's writing is tight and evenly paced. The story builds inexorably to the inevitable and horrific conclusion we all know is coming, making for a tense and compelling read.

Death had been chasing them a long while, she knew
Frank Phillips
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm on the fence between 3-4 Stars, so I'll give this 3.5 Stars.
The premise got my attention right away, but i'd heard so many mixed reviews on this one, so it took me a while to finally pick it up. As anticipated, this was a slow burn. That can be a bad thing to some and an acceptable thing to others, I was a bit frustrated with it. I don't know if it was the writing, due to the time period, or the author herself, but I felt this could have been told with a much swifter overall pace.
The writi
4.5/5.0 stars. Very interesting take on this tale of real life terror. It was a pretty slow building story, but very well told.
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Another World Boo...: January 2021: The Hunger, by Alma Katsu 4 4 Jan 13, 2021 12:50PM  
Random Reads : Chapter 34-END 13 38 Nov 21, 2020 12:13PM  
Random Reads : Chapters 23-33 6 24 Oct 20, 2020 07:49AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 10-22 7 32 Oct 20, 2020 04:27AM  
Random Reads : Prologue-Chapter 9 13 39 Oct 20, 2020 04:22AM  
Random Reads : October 2020 Pick - The Hunger by Alma Katsu 12 56 Oct 04, 2020 08:20AM  
Horror Aficionados : September 2019 - The Hunger by Alma Katsu 106 286 Oct 18, 2019 10:00PM  

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"Hard to put down. Not recommended reading after dark." -- Stephen King

"Makes the supernatural seem possible" -- Publishers Weekly

THE HUNGER: NPR 100 Favorite Horror Stories

THE HUNGER: Nominated for the Stoker and Locus awards

Author of THE DEEP, a reimagining of the sinking of the Titanic, and THE HUNGER, a reimagining of the Donner Party's tragic journey (Putnam);

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