Published by Independently Published
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2014
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Also by this author: Darkhouse, Red Fox, The Benson, Dead Sky Morning, Lying Season
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
***This is NOT New Adult***
It’s no surprise that I am a HUGE Karina Halle fan. Why? Well not only are her books against the norm when it comes to characters/plot and the like, but because of all these little details that manage to suck me in. For instance, the Donner party was a group of pioneers that once stranded they resorted to cannibalism. While this is a fascinating and disgusting, Karina manages to take this part of history and weave it with unforgettable characters, plenty of terror, and some romance along the way. Donner’s was my first zombie book, but most certainly not my last. If you have yet to read a horror romance check out my top 4 reasons why DoD needs to be on your kindle!
1. Eve Smith
Eve Smith is at a disadvantage. Not only is she a woman in the 1800s, but she is half native. Not only does she have to deal with prejudice against her sex, but because of her race, she is perceived as savage and treated as such. But Eve possesses a fire and spunk that goes in odds with what society demands of her. Despite the obstacles in her way she is smart, resourceful and hopeful.
2. Jake McGraw
I have a thing for alpha men and jerks. What can I say? Jake is rough around the edges and makes no apologies for it, well almost. Although Jake is rough and tough he is very passionate and protective. While he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I found his character to be extremely layered and full of depth. His growing relationship with Eve leads me to my next point.
3. The Romance
I am a HUGE fan of love/hate relationships and Eve and Jake are the perfect example of that. Eve is a girl with no experience with men. Aside from her crush on her friend Avery, that is going nowhere, Jake is a shock to Eve’s system. He is all male and also a huge jerk. Jake has some prejudice towards “savages” and Eve is branded with that label because of her heritage. What starts out as a rocky and hostile relationship between the two of them blossoms into something that neither one of them was expecting. When death looms around every corner, Jake and Eve find life within each other.
4. The Zombies
Like I mentioned above, I am new to zombies in books. While I’m not a stranger to the horrors that Karina Halle has filled my kindle with (Experiment in Terror/The Devil’s Metal) I wasn’t prepared for just how creeped out I was going to feel reading this. I’d like to say that I don’t scare easily, but I won’t lie. I totally read this in the daytime. The terror that leaps from the pages makes DoD fast paced and thrilling to read.
Donners of the Dead left me shrieking, swooning, and suspended in terror from the first page till the very last. Books like these remind me of why I love reading. Not only was it very entertaining but I feel like I learned something along the way.