Book Review- The Hunger

Thursday, 19 April 2018
Title: The Hunger
Author: Alma Katsu
Published: 5th April 2018
Pages: 376
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4/5

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--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?"-Goodreads
My thanks to Transworld Books and Netgalley for the review copy.
This novel is based on the Donner Party Tragedy. I will be honest and say that when I read this it meant nothing to me. It is an important part of US history, but not something I was aware of. The Donner Party were a group of people, mostly made up of families, who were making the move across the US heading to a new settlement in California to begin their lives again in the mid 1800s. They packed up their belongings into wagons, and drove their livestock across the wilderness to reach their new life. As the name of the party suggests, things don't end that well!!
This novel isn't just a historical retelling, the novel is marketed as a horror, and the author has taken some artistic liberties with the facts in order to spin a tale of something hunting down the travellers. 
Katsu does a wonderful job of writing a tense, atmospheric horror novel. The atmosphere is intense and brooding from the first page, and this intensity does not let up until the final page. This is not a bloody, gory horror, it's a psychological, pressing horror, the threat and danger is there on every page. When the author needs to scare the reader, she does so not with bloody, graphic imagery, but with subtle chilling images and language.
The plot is fairly simple, there is the main narrative thread in which we follow the Donner Party, there are some flashbacks which give more of certain characters' backstories and help flesh out these characters, and there are some letters interspersed throughout the novel from a character to his wife, which help the reader piece together exactly what is haunting/killing the members of the party.
The reader follows quite a few characters during the novel but I never found this overwhelming. Katsu does an excellent job of making all the different POVs included in the narration read differently, so the characters are clearly defined.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel. If you enjoy horror novels, or historical fiction I would highly recommend this novel, it blends both genres together with ease.  


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top