Monday, January 15, 2018

The Hunger (Alma Katsu)

The doomed Donner Party mixed with elements from The Walking Dead -- what could go wrong? Be sure you don't have a fresh manicure as you're reading Alma Katsu's The Hunger because you're sure not to have any nails left by the end.

Most readers will already know the horrible story of the ill-fated Donner Party, so I won't rehash it here. Katsu's characters include those people that are historically accurate, as well as a few fictional characters to flesh her story out. The Donners' dreams of going West are dashed as they must survive brutal weather and diminishing rations. Before long, things begin to happen that are unexplained, and their party has an uneasy feeling that they are being stalked. But by whom? And how will this contribute to what is known as one of the most horrific episodes in American history?

Katsu builds almost unbearable suspense, and it is almost made worse by the fact that as readers, we know at least part of what is going to happen. The middle of The Hunger was a little slow for me, but once things started to happen, I raced through each page to get to the ending, which included one terrible event after another. A truly original read!