BOOK TITLE: The Hunger
BOOK AUTHOR: Alma Katsu
GENRES: Historical Fiction, Horror, Psychological Thriller
CHECK IT OUT AT: Goodreads
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?"
If you’ve read any of my literary thoughts, you’ll know that probably my favorite modern writer is Stephen King.
But I can’t say I’m a huge fan of traditional horror.
I like King because, despite the supernatural and monsters in his novels and stories, the biggest horrors belong to humans and the dark side of human nature.
A story psychologically creepy story scares me more than anything. Yes, the monsters and gore can add to that, but the dark side of human nature makes it scarier than any supernatural monster could. It’s the same reason I love dark, psychological thrillers.
The Hunger played into my idea of horror perfectly.
Immediately after reading the blurb for Alma Katsu’s The Hunger, I was intrigued, and I was excited when I received an advanced copy. But when Stephen King gave it his stamp of approval, I knew I had to read it.
And Katsu’s book did not disappoint. It had so much going on — historical fiction, psychological thriller, horror — but it all came together and worked. The Donner party is perfectly suited for all three genres, and combining them was brilliant, especially when you realize that it would have been so easy to make a wrong turn and have it all fall apart.
Katsu does a beautiful job of rolling out the story and building the tension and suspense. Bad decisions are made, relationships develop, personalities conflict — just as you would expect. As things start to go wrong in all the traditional ways, people start to disappear, and the characters’ nerves are pulled tight. It’s at this point when Katsu slowly introduces the idea of the supernatural, using a light hand, sprinkling it into the story, until that element is the story.
The Hunger is perfectly laid out, adding layers to the story with impeccable timing. Using the historical elements of this mysterious wagon train worked so well. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to fill their nights with a little terror.
Wondrously creepy. LOVED it!