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The Hunger

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  9,591 ratings  ·  1,689 reviews
After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.

Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The sea
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Transworld Digital
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  9,591 ratings  ·  1,689 reviews

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Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 St
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
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 a vampire, no won
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 d
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 they that cannibalism cam
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 letti
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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) ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 expl/>“Evil
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
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 begins....the warning....the phantom voices....movement in the dark of night, andhere)


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!
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
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
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 Cutoff, encountering poor terrain
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 his body is later ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"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 al
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.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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 wagon
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 lon/>Death
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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; in
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
Ann Girdharry
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
Frank Phillips
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
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 N
Bark the Overwrought Keyboard Warrior
This book has a zillion reviews so I’ll spare you from another and only say that I was a wee bit disappointed with the horror aspects of this novel. It was a super slow burn, and I like those usually but The Hunger was peopled with so many characters and their dramas and romances and jealousies and stupidities and - well, you get the point. There was just too much of all of that and not enough struggle, pain, fear, and horror (and I’m here for the horror) and I was bored throughout too much of i ...more
Michael Hicks
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 the mountains o
The Grim Reader
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's get this out of the way now: blurbs are bullshit. The Hunger: "Deeply disturbing, hard to put down" isn't particularly disturbing, nor is it hard to put down. Regardless of these opinions of mine, I did quite enjoy the book. I was always going to compare The Hunger to The Terror by Dan Simmons. The Terror is an all-time favourite of mine; it is truly a work of horror fiction brilliance. The Hunger isn't nearly as gripping, nor terrifying, nor does it quite project the feeling of utter desp ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The Donner Party is headed West. The wagon train faces a perilous journey, with harsh weather, food shortages, and a supernatural horror.

This horror novel reimagines the historical and tragic Donner Party journey to the West. Using both real and fictitious characters, this is a character driven horror story. Characters range from the young to the old. From the innocent to the corrupt.

A suspenseful story of hardships, distrust, love, and a lurking evil. It could be said th
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"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
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“She was continually shocked by the fact that the others seemed to forget the obvious: that the mountains, like most beautiful things in this world, were deadly.” 4 likes
“I don’t believe in monsters,” Stanton said. “Only men who behave like them.” 3 likes
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