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The Hunger

Written by: Alma Katsu
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bram Stoker Award Nominee - Superior Achievement in a Novel 2018

A Suspense Magazine Best Book of the Year

An NPR Best Horror Novel

One of The Observer's Best Books of 2018 

"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

What the critics say

 

  • 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

Like many people, I'm fascinated by the story of the Donner Party. Also a fan of horror fiction, I was looking forward to this adaptation of the Donner story. The author took a bit too much license, in my opinion. I understand the author was asked to write the story as the basis for a future screenplay. However, I found it more like a soap-opera drama rather than horror. There was not much creepy atmosphere or build-up to the real action. And when it came it was nothing really shocking or scary. Just okay.

The narrator was just okay, too. She was reading with an attitude and sounded contemptuous when narrating simple descriptions of characters and events. Strange.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story about the dooner party

It was an interesting read. I wish thou the book would have followed thru with the rescue parties finding the other party members, I would have like to know what happened. The narrator has away of speaking that makes you think you right there with them. I would recommend this book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Fun listen

fun but predictable story. author tries to drag out the supposed plot-twists for too long. It could have been a shorter novel. Parts of it feel unnecessarily salacious like the author is trying to rely on drama rather than talent as a writer to create a more interesting story. It could have been a better story if it played more with the subtleties and the depths of fear as the wagon train progressed. instead it relied on constant flash backs that revealed the dramatic pasts of each character. these flash backs sometimes gave us insight into the character's psychology but usually just felt like a ploy to add more "juicy details" so that it ended up as a wagon train filled with the most interesting people in the world... in the 1800s.... it was a bit over the top in that sense.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen!

I throughly enjoyed this book from the very beginning to the last word.
1 con - SHOULD HAVE BEEN LONGER! I didn't want it to end yet.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • A
  • 2019-05-11

a good historical horror story

this is not the typical type of book I would read it, but the fact that it is historical fiction and a western theme made it more accessible. the story was very interesting and well laid out. the characters are also different from what you would typically expect. although I don't think that the ending was the best. Good narration

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

great

well performed gripping take on the donner party or should I say... the dinner party...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

4.5 Stars! Who's the real monster?

History is filled with many fabulous stories that can skillfully be turned into fictional horror. The less we know, the fewer the survivors, the more horrific the actions of the participants, all the more readily we are to accept the involvement of evil.

The Donner Party’s trek across America in 1846 wasn’t really all that long ago, not even 175 years. The events are fairly well-documented, the survival rate above fifty percent, not bad considering, but what those people had to do to survive…Katsu took this story and brought it to life. She delved into the nitty gritty details of life on the wagon train. The image that I think we all have is of the flat plains that roll across the country. I always forget that the most difficult part of this voyage would have been the Rocky Mountains. The true trials would have been during the last half of that voyage. Katsu played off of this, creating a monster to instill fear in all of us.

I love how Katsu kept her casting to the historical records, it lends a certain plausibility/possibility to her story. She changed perspectives during the story so that her audience could get the full picture of events, a peek into everyone’s head.

My experience of The Hunger was through the audiobook. I found that the narrator did an excellent job. Kirsten Potter enhanced the creepy factor to an already eerie story.

Listening to The Hunger, I was constantly pulled back to the feeling that I had while reading The Terror. What’s funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) is that these two events are so similar while completely different and only a year apart. This was a time of exploration, when people thought they were masters of the world. Although, in both of these stories Mother Nature showed them who was really in charge – something she still likes to do from time to time.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story

The best thing about the book was the narrator. Ms. Potter is excellent. The story itself was very good. I will listen to other books by this author and will look for other books narrated by Ms. Potter.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • j
  • 2018-03-09

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.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan M
  • 2018-06-11

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Karen Weaver
  • 2018-03-23

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.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R. A. Orr
  • 2018-03-24

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Par Saver
  • 2018-05-15

horrible narrator

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

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel Ann Millar
  • 2018-03-24

Fun!

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

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tara Jones
  • 2019-07-09

wow <br />

I lost my breath throughout this book
the story was so well read!
What a great twist.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brother John
  • 2019-03-04

okay, glad I read

pretty good book, I wish it had a little more killing and cannibalism,but overall pretty pretty good

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • john willett
  • 2018-05-23

The Hunger

The Hunger does not satisfy the hunger for a good novel. It is a cross between the Donner parties doomed trip West and The Walking Dead. For my part, I prefer the Walking Dead. The Hunger is dead and can not even stand up much less walk

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Leigh
  • 2018-04-13

Not bad, not great, but worth a listen

Little tedious at time and I wasn't sold on the narration, so 3/5. That's average and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Not a waste of time by any means, it had me definitely tripping the edge of my seat at times! Worth a listen for sure.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful