Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.
Well, ain’t that true? Based on the true story of the ill fated Donner Party, Alma Katsu created a disturbing, slow burning story that seamlessly blends historical fiction with horror, and supernatural elements.
The tragic story of the group of pioneers that was the Donner Party is heart breaking and horrible as it is. They set out out for California in a wagon train in May 1846, hoping for a better life and great opportunities. After a series of mistakes, the worst being the decision to take the Hastings Cutoff – a new route promoted, in spite of its proven difficulty by Lansford Hastings -, they became trapped in the Sierra Nevada after an early snowfall, causing the death of many, while some survivors resorted to eating their dead.
I would venture to say, that having to travel for six months cross country in an ox cart is bad enough, but if you are following a leader who lacks the basic skills required to navigate such a journey, and repeatedly ignores warning signs, such as having directly told not to follow a certain path he later leads you down, you are very likely doomed, even if you don’t encounter any vengeful demons intent on picking your group off one by one.
The story alternates the focus between some of the main characters, and through their eyes we see the tension and desperation grow. Everyone’s on edge, and despite the mounting evidence suggesting external interference, they still find it easier to blame each other for the unexplained deaths and strange attacks on their camps. Some of these suspicions might not even be completely unfounded. Playing on their fear of the unknown, certain members of the group prove to be more heinous than the ever hungry evil that follows them closely.
A glimpse into the lives of 19th century American pioneers, The Hunger is an atmospheric story of supernatural evil, and the darkness that lies within all of us.
P.S. If I ever drop dead and your survival depends on eating me, please do so, I have no issue with that. I just hope I taste good!
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The review and opinions are my own.