***A Standalone Horror Romance***
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***
For the first time in a long time I can actually say that I am still a bit scared after reading this book. When I was younger I used to hang around many different types of people. We have Chauilla Indians where I am from and I loved going to the reservation and hearing the elders speak of their ancient stories. I also hung around stoners and they swore that there were cannibals that lived in our mountains. Did I mention we used to party in said mountains? I mean all these things I never paid much attention to ya know. After reading this book all these stories I heard as a kid were conjured back up in mind and dreams. A bit freaky.
I liked Eve straight away. She is half Indian half white and an outcast. When a team of men come searching for a tracker to help them go into the Sierra Nevada's to search for any clues to what happened to the Donner party. So at this point I am already in disbelief and consumed because of what happens right in the beginning of the book. So to read about these men, I was like please don't go, but c'mon you know she has to because what would the point of the book if she didn't? I still didn't want her to go though. Eve lives with her uncle and aunt. The men offer to pay her $100 dollars for her services. Since the book is set in the 1800's that was a lot of money. Her uncle agrees even though Eve isn't sure she wants to go. Avery a ranch hand also Eve's best friend is commissioned to go along as a chaperone as well as Eve's neighbor Donna.
This is where things get interesting. First they come upon some Indians. Eve doesn't know the language, but can tell that something is not right. They forge ahead. The first night they make camp, something wakes Eve up and she smells rotting flesh and blood. Okay creepy right? At this point I am like OMG what is that smell...like I could smell it, but I was so into it that I was wrinkling my nose funny right? Well they don't encounter anything but damn it if I wasn't already freaking out. The next night wellllllll....
The first encounter with WTF ever these damn things are.
Here I am reading at like 2AM....
I swear I heard these gross things that smell like rotting flesh and blood tell me.....Yeah I was freaking out, plus I sleep next to the window and my hubby has it open all night! You would think that after whatever the thing is that attacks these people are going to give up but noooooo. One of the guys was attacked and still they kept going. They set out and are ambushed by these creatures and all hell breaks loose. This is where it gets REALLY freaky. Eve eventually finds out a secret all these men were holding. Her and Avery decide they should leave, and oh man it goes all wrong. I was cuddled so close to the hubs. I am pretty sure I was chanting
Oh damn it, I forgot so at the beginning of this excursion Eve has a crush on Avery. He is a nice gut but he has his eyes set on Rose (Eve's cousin). As time goes on Eve and Jake start talking and not all romantic and lets hook up, no he is a jerk. Again you have to remember this is set in the 1800's so many people were prejudice and hated Indians. *le sigh* needless to say that after Avery and Eve took off and it goes array Jake is the one who saves her. Then know what happens? I was super nervous and I got up and was pacing the floor because I just couldn't with this story.
I mean seriously??? WTF WHAT.THE.FUCK! Yeah so picture me pacing the with my e-reader in hand, jumping at every noise and this totally being me...
All the while trying to act like I am not scared shitless. That was me. Then try sleeping and wondering if all those stories from my childhood were even real. No they're just legends and myths or are they? This book totes creeped me out. I loved it though. I mean I really really loved this story. I was just so engrossed and yeah I may have peed myself a bit but it was so well written that I couldn't stop reading. Just writing this is creeping me out again. I will leave you with this though. If you are into legends and creepiness this is defo a book you need to read. I love Karina's writing. The story from the jump just had me captivated and even though I was pacing and freaked out it is one of the best books I have read this year.
I gave this book 4.5/5 hearts