Thank you to Poppy Stimpson at Transworld Books for completely throwing me out of my comfort zone by sending me a very special book that goes by the name of The Hunger. Stephen King refers to it as “deeply, deeply disturbing”, so surely what could go wrong… apart from vivid nightmares of course!
‘After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.
Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the brink of madness, the ill-fated group struggles to survive and minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements, to something more primal and far more deadly.’
Delirious descriptions started me on a path that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down, but I wasn’t going to back out. I had heard many a rumour about the terror of The Hunger, but nothing could prepare me for the way Alma has beautifully written and researched this tale, and given it the justification it deserves. I still cannot get my head around the fact that this story is based on the true events of ‘The Donner Party’.
This book is basically every man, woman and child is out for themselves. Nothing and no-one is safe. The Hunger is a slow-burning, climatic, terror of a read, that makes me so relieved that I did not live in those times. I feel that dark forces and witchcraft were more at work back then, and today it is chemical weapons and bombs – although, I am not sure which I think is worse!?
There are a wide array of characters of which I was addicted to. I loved reading some of their backstory, where they came from, and why they are making this treacherous journey. Each has a secret, a purpose, and an air of mystery surrounding them. There are odd-goings on; thievery, missing people and unknowns suddenly appearing. Alma twists a true tale into something mystifying and magical, and has made me want to care for the characters she has created. She has shown the full force of human endurance and what lengths people will go to when pushed to their limit. Alma shows her ability well to craft and show in her writing the true extent of what times were like back then, and both the physical and mental strength people needed to survive.
The Hunger is utterly compelling and I dare you to add it to your reading list!