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The Hunger

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  8,182 ratings  ·  1,470 reviews
"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
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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3.65  · 
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 ·  8,182 ratings  ·  1,470 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 Stephen King endorsed it,
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
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 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  ·  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 explored and executed thi
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
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
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

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
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
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
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 all to come together in th
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 wagons forced pio
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; incorporating
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
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 long while, she knew
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 NEEDED.

The H
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
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
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 t
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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 that the real story of the
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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Grim Readers Book...: * General Discussion - The Hunger by Alma Katsu (SPOILER FREE) 26 31 Jul 05, 2019 11:38AM  
Hudson Valley Hor...: May 2019 Book Club Meeting 1 4 Apr 06, 2019 03:04PM  
Stephen King Fans: The Hunger 8 61 Jan 26, 2019 06:08AM  
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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 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
“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.” 2 likes
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