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The Hunger

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  4,923 ratings  ·  957 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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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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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

Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
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
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
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
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Any Oregon child studied the Oregon Trail as part of Oregon history, in 4th grade and 8th grade. In 4th grade we played the Oregon Trail computer game in the Intel-provided computer lab, and in 8th grade we did more of a LARP version of the game. My group named itself the Dumber Party, in tribute to the Donner Party. I was Mary Dumber, the only female of the group.

Do I even have to say that we were obsessed with the Donner Party?

Surviving the trek across the country in covered wagons forced pio
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
Ann Girdharry
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is partly based on a historical event and partly fiction. I didn’t know anything about the history of the pioneering settlers on which this story was based and so this book was pure fiction for me.

A group of ninety settlers are heading west on a trail across America. They want to get from the east coast to California and are in covered wagons, with horses, mules and oxen accompanying them. There are families, lone men and some lone women with children. Winter is approaching and they d
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set between June 1846 and April 1847, this novel is based upon the true story of, “the Donner Party,” which involved a wagon train heading to California, which ended in tragedy. Shockingly, the actual members of the wagon train relied on a book published at the time, “The Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California,” by an author named Landsford W. Hastings, which advertised a shortcut the author had actually never tested out.

The author weaves her story around this real life tragedy; incorporating
Michael Hicks
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
With The Hunger, Alma Katsu does for the doomed Donner party what Dan Simmons did for the Franklin Expedition in his massive work, The Terror, giving the ill-fated cross-country voyage a supernatural twist while maintaining historical authenticity (well, to a degree anyway).

In May 1846, a group of American pioneers set out for California in a wagon train led by George Donner and James Reed. Their journey was beset by a number of problems and delays, which ultimately caused them to be stuck in t
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
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
I wasn’t familiar with the Donner Party but I liked the idea of a historical reimagining that blended fact and fiction with a supernatural twist and when I read a bit about the real life Donner Party I was both horrified and fascinated. That basically sums up my emotional state while read The Hunger I was creeped out one minute and totally engaged the next, I really enjoyed this one.

This is divided into sections by month and follows the Donner Party as they embark on a treacherous journey battli
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

”Maybe that was the curse of these mountains – they turned you mad, then reflected your madness back at you, incarnate.”

I have heard of the Donner party but to be honest I knew very very little of their tragedy and I think that perhaps helped my enjoyment as I was not comparing this to the true story at all.

The build-up may be slower than most horror books, but it worked well to create a solid understanding of the hardships and perils of moving by wagon train across the country in 1846.
Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
 photo Pioneers_Crossing_the_Plains_of_Nebraska_by_C.C.A._Christensen_zpsutqv6djm.png

Release Date-6/3/18

"The Hunger" By Alma Katsu was such an immersing read with such diverse interesting characters you couldn't help but become hooked and transfixed by the storyline.
With its rich tapestry of history, you actually felt transported back into another place and time.
Taking the story of the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party, one of the deadliest and most disastrous western Journey's in American history and putting its own horrific slant on it.
Cody | codysbookshelf
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Thanks to the publisher for supplying the Nightworms with hardcover copies of this book, free of charge, in exchange for honest reviews!

Alma Katsu’s The Hunger is one of the most hyped books of the season and with good reason: this twist on the infamous Donner Party is chilling, and well-told. Through a proper mixture of fact and fiction, Katsu brings to life the Donner Party and the period in which it traveled west, to California, in the mid-1800s. Historical horror fiction can be riveting and
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A big thank you to Glasstown Ent. for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction with a paranormal twist. Books like Dan Simmons' The Terror and The Abominable are some of my favorites in the genre, and both have a paranormal threat on top of an already dire situation. When I heard that Katsu was coming out with a book about The Donner Party facing a paranormal entity, I practically squealed in delight. This was a book that I instantly NEEDED.

The H
THE HUNGER, by Alma Katsu, is a well written, original take on what "could" have happened to the infamous Donner Party. While everyone has heard of the fatal 1846 attempt at crossing to California, and what the members succumbed to in order to survive, this novel takes it on a different note altogether.

". . . Snow kept secrets . . . "

Katsu bases her novel on giving us great details on the various members of the Donner-Reed party, including a fascinating fictional tale of what they might have b
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixing real people and events with the supernatural, the author retells the ill-fated journey west to California of 87 individuals from 1846-1847. The actual people encountered many difficulties, including poor decisions, bad weather, freezing cold, starvation, and physical, (and probably mental anguish) culminating in a terrible situation. Alma Katsu, while adapting the history, added an interesting explanation for many of the deaths: some monstrous being(s) preying on the members of the wagon ...more
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This was a hard book to rate because I liked so many things about it, but it also fell short in a lot of other ways. I was excited to pick this up because I did a project on the Donner Party in 5th grade and I've always felt a sort of kinship to that historical event because of it. The paranormal aspect was quite an interesting addition to what was already a pretty unsettling event in history. I will admit that the story is quite harsh, so I don't recommend it for everyone. There's mention of ra ...more
Rob Twinem
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The hardcover of this book, due for release in early march, shows a horse drawn wagon heading out into uncharted territory. This represented the pioneering spirit of American settlers heading west for California who felt confident in the knowledge that they were destined to occupy this territory irrespective of the affect their actions might have on the indigenous native American tribes who already populated these regions. The Hunger recalls one particular group of travellers historically referr ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another one of those books that walks the tightrope between crime thriller and horror - of late, I have really enjoyed these type of stories. It is based on the Donner party tragedy where a party of pioneers travelling across the American West searching for a better life experience a nightmare. Most Americans have heard this tale, but being British, I had not come across it before. I looked it up and was instantly fascinated by it. This is, at its heart, a thriller but one that draws on ...more
Gianfranco Mancini

"Something’s out there eating every living thing.
“So is it spirits that been clearing out all the game from the woods, is that the idea?” Snyder asked. Thomas looked away. A muscle twitched in his jaw.
To Reed’s shock, it was Elitha Donner who answered. “They don’t just eat animals,” she said, in a soft singsong. Her eyes were clear and blue and troubled. “They eat men.”

The tragic tale of the Donner Party pioneers expedition meets The Walking Dead and Ravenous (1999) in a creepy, atmospheric and
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Creepy Book Club: November 2018 3 12 Nov 27, 2018 07:14PM  
Stephen King Fans: The Hunger 7 45 Nov 09, 2018 02:10AM  
Play Book Tag: The Hunger by Alma Katsu 3 17 Jul 27, 2018 03:28AM  
Around the Year i...: The Hunger, by Alma Katsu 1 14 Apr 18, 2018 06:02PM  
"Hard to put down. Not recommended reading after dark." -- Stephen King

"Makes the supernatural seem possible" -- Publishers Weekly

NPR 100 Favorite Horror Stories

Author of THE HUNGER, a reimagining of the Donner Party's tragic journey (Putnam);
THE TAKER, THE RECKONING and THE DESCENT (Gallery Books). The Taker was selected by ALA/Booklist as one of the top ten debut novels of 2011.

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“She knew that one extraordinary thing was bound to make the ordinariness of her life all the more painful.” 2 likes
“The world was fragile. One day, growth; the next day, kindling.” 1 likes
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