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Publisher's Summary

As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue.

"Supernatural suspense at its finest.... The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you." (The New York Times Book Review)  

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark." (Stephen King)

A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. 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 isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone - or something - is stalking them. 

Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history. As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

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.

©2018 Alma Katsu (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

 

  • Winner of the 2019 Western Heritage Award for Best Western Novel 
  • One of NPR's "100 Best Horror Novels"
  • PopSugar's "31 of the Best New Books You Should Read in March"
  • Vulture's "13 Great Horror Books Written by Women"
  • io9's "28 New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Well Worth Checking Out"
  • PureWow's "20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018"
  • NerdMuch's "20 Best New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books"
  • SyFy Wire's "Out of This World Book Releases"

“Katsu shows an acute understanding of human nature.…[She] is at her best when she forces her readers to stare at the almost unimaginable meeting of ordinary people and extraordinary desperation, using her sharp, haunting language.” (USA Today

"A reimagining of the ill-fated Donner Party but with an eerie supernatural twist." (New York Post)

"Combines meticulous historical research and a keen understanding of human nature with a monstrous original metaphor to reimagine the ill-fated Donner-Reed party as a haunted endeavor, doomed from its first mile." (Salon)

Featured Article: Authors Like Stephen King


Best-selling author Stephen King has published a staggering amount of work, from gripping crime thrillers to epic fantasy series, winning prestigious awards. Yet King’s varied writing is united by common themes, styles, characters, and settings. King fans will recognize a book by him for elements ranging from child characters to atmospheric settings, from eerie psychological horror to New England locations. Undeniably, King’s influence is evident in many of the horror genre’s leading and emerging authors. If you're a fan of Stephen King, these horror authors should be on your radar.

What listeners say about The Hunger

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creepy

...but too short. A breezy ten hours means this story glossed over the depth that could have taken it from good to great. It's hard to track the number of characters but I enjoyed it, for the most part and who doesn't love a good historical western ghost story? I don't want to send anyone off the book, it's worth the buy, but it's good...not great.

17 people found this helpful

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  • j
  • 03-09-18

Intense, visceral, excellent read

Listened to this over the course of 3 nights, and we had a hard time pausing it to go to sleep! So good. It was riveting, suspenseful and terrifying, and yes, the ending was surprising, yet fitting. It was the detailed, gut churning descriptions that really made it - I could feel the filth and was convinced my clothes were picking up the scent of decay and rot with each line. Overall, such a satisfying story for this horror junkie.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Soap opera posing as horror

I bought this because Stephen King gave it a high rating. If you are looking for horror the first two thirds of this book aren't for you. It's all about who's cheating, who is sleeping around, petty spats and a bunch of sketchy people traveling together. The horror finally comes into play near the end with hints of it scattered throughout the first several hours. I was not scared or impressed. Think The Walking Dead meets Days of our Lives.

39 people found this helpful

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kind of painful.

an awkward attempt to make a romance out of a historical tragedy. not a fan. starts strong, but winds down quickly. if you're gonna make the Donner party story about sexual abuse, please include Sutter's harem; really this was missing a lot of real horrors about the time period, instead focusing on the chaste sexual tension between Mary Sue characters.

5 people found this helpful

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good story.... But

It was a good fictional story but my hopes were very high to begin with. I think the actual story with starvation and desperation is exceedingly more terrifying than the this fictional story. was a little disappointed... Oh, and I wasn't expecting the romantic angle. probably my fault. I could've done more research on the author.

4 people found this helpful

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A wonderful reimagining the Donner Party tragedy.

This is the type of audio book that warrants repeated listening. I found myself looking up details of the ill fated Donner Reed excursion time and again. A wonderful reading that continues to build tension and dramatic action as events unfold. Masterful storytelling.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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horrible narrator

I wanted to go buy the book I wouldn't have to listen to the horrible narration

16 people found this helpful

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Not scary or creepy. Very Rape-y

The book has a really unsatisfactory ending. For the most part the only characters whose plot arc gets an ending at all are the ones that get killed. It's like Alma hit a certain page count and said, "Well that's long enough, I spose I better end this thing!"

Also, she spends the least time on the part of the journey that would be the best horror fuel, the winter.

Way too boringly sexual. Almost all the characters interactions revolve around sex, but the book is about as sexy as a doormat. Also, so much sexually violent content, It's awful. This book is one of those ones where there's as much or more time spent describing sexual violence as there is describing normal sex.

Content warning:
Threats of rape
Rape
Molestation
Partner Violence (Physical and Sexual abuse)
Incest
Incest again!

3 people found this helpful

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Finished in one sitting!

I put off way too long purchasing this audiobook due to the mixed reviews. But I’m SO GLAD I didn’t listen to all the negative things people said! It’s become obvious there’s WAY too many people with no mind for horror, yet claiming to be horror fans! I couldn’t hit pause! The mix between truth, the torturous things the party was dealt, with a paranormal twist... made for a GREAT listen!!! I loved the narrator! She gave life to ALL the characters both men and women alike.. in such a smooth persistent manner it was like spring water running over smooth stones! I could listen to her for days.

3 people found this helpful

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Fun!

I loved the darkness in each member of the Wagon party, I just didn’t love the ending.

7 people found this helpful