eBook - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
-- The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Publishing Group,, 2018
Description: 1 online resource (384 pages)
ISBN: 9780735212527
Additional Contributors: Katsu, Alma. Hunger


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
JCLKathrynC Mar 23, 2020

Researching the Donner Party and what became of them will either fascinate you or disturb you. This eerie retelling of the wagon train's fate will have you feeling like something or someone is always watching from the tree line. While Katsu never comes out during the narrative to states what "the monster" in the novel is, if you do some research it should lead you to the wendigo. My personal favorite demon from Native American folklore. Wendigos enjoy long hunting trips through wintery forests, have a strong dislike for fire, and have a diet that consists of, well, everyone.

Nov 11, 2019

An eerie novel, rather than scary. Really made me think about how it would feel to be on a wagon train in the mid-1800s, and how I might behave if I were starving and wanted to protect my family.

Jul 18, 2019

A creepy retelling of the Donner party. Katsu creates convincing back stories and motivations for her characters without bogging you down with endless exposition. Not sure which is scarier: the evil presence seemingly hunting them down, or their fellow travellers.

Jun 08, 2019

The Donner Party story is fascinating and horrible enough without adding zombie-esque elements to it. This isn't a terrible book, but actual accounts of what happened at Truckee lake are far more interesting (and disturbing). These were tough people who had to make devastating choices, and turning their lives into a melodramatic, supernatural tall tale skirts the most troubling questions of humanity and survival. Read Daniel James Brown's The Indifferent Stars Above instead.

Mar 25, 2019

It was an easy read because it wasn't written well. It's unfortunate because it was a good story line but they didn't go anywhere with it and afterwards I felt like really.

Mar 23, 2019

Haunting describes this story of the Donner Party. It begins with the mystery why and what happens to of a young boy who disappears from his tent one night early on the trail. Personalities are explained in flashbacks (not too often however). Interesting theory as to the fate of the Donner party. Katsu has taken liberties within her story to make you wonder "IF" that could have really happened.....

Feb 22, 2019

Was unsure whether to begin this book or not because of 1846 setting, but turned out to be a pleasant read. The characters stories were developed nicely allowing you to form a connection and there was just enough action and romance/infidelity to keep the story moving. While not a terrible conclusion, it was quite abrupt and not very detailed.

Starting with a few families on wagons, they merge up to 90+ people strong traveling from Illinois to California in 1846 searching for a rich and more fulfilling life. The most notable families are The Donners (George older rich man with Tamsen young attractive wife and 5 kids), The Reeds (Gay man who married a wife and took on her kids kids), The Graves (Mary young woman who falls for Stanton). Stanton and Bryant are two single men throughout the journey (although Bryant is engaged). Along the journey, the group encounters obstacles on the trail creating problems with their food supply and warmth as winter approaches. If that isn't enough to deal with there is a disease transforming humans into cannibals that attack and transform members of the group.

JCLMeghanF Jan 28, 2019

Like your historical fiction with a dose of the supernatural and more than a little horror? Look no further! This new take on what really happened to the Donner Party is atmospheric, suspenseful, and very, very unsettling. Tension builds as the wagon train heads out to California and members of the party start disappearing along the way. Something seems to be hunting them, something with an insatiable hunger. Katsu is such a great storyteller that even if you know what happened to the original party, you won't be able to put this book down until you reach the horrific conclusion.

As a fan of both historical fiction and supernatural horror, when I heard there was a new novel out about the Donner Party, I knew I had to read it. Enter Alma Katsu’s new novel, The Hunger. Set in 1846, this novel is based on the true story of the Donner Party, a doomed group of 100 people heading to California’s fertile valley farmland by way of wagon train. As tragedy after tragedy laid waste to the group, only a handful ever made it.
The Donner wagon train contains two large wealthy families, a beautiful woman rumored to be a witch, a large Mormon family without a patriarch, and some single men, who are all leaving their family farms in Illinois hoping for a better life. As Katsu weaves her story around their lives and voices, the reader gets a good sense of just how hard it was for people on the trail to make it: they must give birth on the trail, tend to the sick, hunt their food, gather their medicine from plants, and deal with the physical act of walking nearly 12 hours per day. Though many of the group start off as strangers to one another, the reader comes to find their lives and sins are intimately connected, revealed through haunting glimpses into all of their shady pasts. As the group members begin to become aware of these connections, their camaraderie is quickly worn away. These divisions spell their doom as their environment grows more barren and a supernatural evil begins to prey on them. (No spoilers!)
This book is not for the faint of heart. It showcases the best, as well as the worst, parts of human nature when faced with a raw survival situation. Despite the difficult subject matter, I found this to be an extremely captivating read, and eager to read more about the Donner party (perhaps my next read will be a non-fiction account of this tragedy, The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party, by Daniel James Brown). Katsu changed a lot of the real story, but she used many real life events that happened to these real people and seamlessly added a supernatural evil. The result is totally thrilling and cinematic. I eagerly await a film adaptation! (Submitted by Mandi)

Karen_Weber Jul 11, 2018

An alternative and fictional account of what REALLY happened to the famous Reed-Donner party and their doomed 1860s expedition from Springfield, Missouri to the western edges of the US. A fascinating look into local lore and legends of settlers and native people. This story left me wanting. The pace was slow and repetitive. I often lost track of characters because they were referred to by different names (first name, last name, nickname...). It was an interesting concept but I didn't love it.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top