Book Review: DONNERS OF THE DEAD by Karina Halle

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Adult, Romance

Released on: February 26th, 2014

18524947Pages: 286

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Goodreads Summary:

*A note about this book: Donners of the Dead is set in 1851 – couples were often thrust into marriage together with short courtships, racism was widespread and not overly frowned upon, and women had little to no rights. What wouldn’t fly in today’s day and age was unfortunately the norm back then – it is worth keeping that in mind when reading this book.

Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive

The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.

My Review:

Guys, Karina has done it again.

I was on the hunt for a good, spooky read for October and when I found out Karina had this book published, I knew I had to read it for the month of October. And, naturally, I read it in October and am barely reviewing it now. I’m awful, I know.

But there’s a few things to mention before proceeding. Before reading this book, please take the disclaimers VERY seriously. It explains a lot of things, why the characters are the way there are, why the situations unfold the way they do, and so on. It by no means excuses their actions, but understanding that some of those things were the norm back then, it explains why it doesn’t faze some of these characters.

Anyway, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a super fast read – I finished it in a day – and it kept me so engrossed from start to finish.

I love the way history was incorporated in this book. I mean, it basically sets up the entire plot! And I love it! Historical horrors like this one are always a crazy, mind-blowing ride for me because, well, we will never know for sure if it didn’t happen. Wink wink. Who knows, maybe wendigo/zombies really did come out of the Donner party and its tragic downfall. The myths and folklore of this tale are convincing enough that I thought so.

The  main character, I will admit, fell a little flat to me. More so because the summary is kind of misleading in regards to her character. She never outright says she’s a tracker. And on top of that, she’s a bad one. I don’t know but for some reason, I never believed for a second that she was as skilled a tracker as everyone else was making her out to be. So when I went in expecting a badass tracker girl, that is so not what I got. She’s a lot more timid than I thought she’d be and goes along very quickly with what all the males in her life want her to do – which correlates so much with the time period, I just wish the summary didn’t get my hopes up for a badass heroine when that’s not what we got.

As far as the romance goes, the disclaimer is totally right. It happens kind of quickly. I wish there was more development there but from what there is, I enjoyed it. I just know that Karina has the capacity to make a better one.

There is a definite gross, gore factor in this book that I loved and thought was perfect for the month of October. I think Karina did a great job with that and the myths behind it all. Really well thought out.

Overall, a fun and fast read. It wasn’t the best Karina Halle book I’ve read, but still a good read.

MY RATING: 4/5

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