The Hunger by Alma Katsu Book Review

There wasn't enough horror here for me.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Released March 2018

Horror Fiction |  Goodreads | Amazon 

Source: Library Borrow
The Hunger is a tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a Walking Dead-style twist.

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?"

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point. 

These Are My Thoughts

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 it.

The supernatural aspect was woefully underplayed for my taste and I didn’t care about any of the characters. It also wasn’t nearly as gruesome as I was expecting knowing what happened to these people. The terrible things were mostly skimmed over. Those things all combined made the read slow down to a crawl for me. With all that said, the historical details were excellently written and life on the trail did come alive but this is a long book and those things weren’t enough to keep me glued to the pages.

3 out of 5


  1. I enjoyed it a lot, but I wasn't as disappointed in the slow story as you were. I felt this is more on the literary side of horror, and you're right, for the subject matter, I expected it to be a lot more gruesome.

    1. It might've gone down better for me in its paperback form. The audio was just too much info/too many characters/not enough gore haha

  2. I feel like I don't even have to say anything. Those who know me know how I feel about this book - it's made every "disappointing list" I've made for the past year. You were still a tad more generous than me but those who don't like this book are few and far between so we have to stick together :)

  3. oh no everything about the book looks and sounds great. sorry it didnt go farther
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. You might enjoy it, Sherry. Many of my friends do.

  4. That's surprising. Her books are usually very dark.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. It was dark just not as dark as I expected considering the source material (ewww!)

  5. I liked the sound of this one but I've seen too many negative reviews of it now. Slow is one thing that I really don't like in a book!

    1. Maybe get a sample and see if it works for you? So many love this book - you never know!


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