Title: The Hunger
Author: Alma Katsu
Publish Date: March 6, 2018
# of Pages: 400
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?”
Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 7
Pace – 6
Plot Development – 6
Ending – 7
Characters – 7
Enjoyability – 7
Ease of Reading – 8
Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Hunger by Alma Katsu follows the lives of several families in an Oregon Trail group. When they start getting picked off one by one, they start questioning the “wolves” in the woods. Who’s good, who’s evil, and who’s simply hungry?
I think I can best describe this book by saying it’s an interesting mashup of Oregon Trail and zombie apocalypse. While the book didn’t blow me away, it was certainly an intriguing read and had an addictive quality that made it hard to put down.
The quality of writing in the book is decent. It’s clear the author did her research and understood the perils of early settler life.
Overall, I thought the pacing of the book was slow. I didn’t find myself invested in the book until about 25% of the way through. Even once I was invested in finding out what happened next, the action dragged.
I really liked the plot and concept of this book. As if crossing the Oregon Trail isn’t a stressful journey already, throw in the “what’s going to eat me in the woods?” idea, and you’ve got the recipe for a compelling story. Once people started dying off, the mystery started to escalate, and I found myself eager to turn each page.
The ending was so-so. The book covered so many different characters and so many different points of view, and I feel like some of the characters got left hanging at the end. I wanted to know what happened to all of the characters, not just some of them. Regardless, the ending was unexpected and fell into the range of gruesome and creepy. It wasn’t a bad ending–I just felt like additional details were needed to really wrap the story up.
The characters–wow, so many characters! As I said before, this book follows the point of view of several different characters. Because of this, it was really hard to care about any one person. My favorite characters were probably Charles Stanton, Mary Graves, and James Reed. I liked Charles because of his touching backstory, I liked Mary because she just wanted to find love, and I liked James because he struggled with being gay in a time where being gay wasn’t acceptable.
Honestly, if you’re looking for something a little different, this book is worth the read. I found it to be an enjoyable quick-read.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Hunger? What did you think?
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