Donners of the Dead follows a young woman named Eve as she helps track the trail of some Donner Party’s family members. The trip has to be fast, because winter is coming. You know real winter, with lots of snow. Snow so deep they had to tunnel through it. Yeah, that kind of winter. Anyway. Eve, her friend Avery, and this rag tag group of former Rangers and shady characters set out. Within days of being out in the wild they encounter not only a ton of snow, but a monster like nothing they have ever seen. It appears to be human, but is not. The monster craves human flesh, and hunts the search party as they make their way through the pass.
The book is one part horror, one part romance, one part western, and a whole bunch of parts amazing. Ms. Halle can weave a great story. The pacing of the book is flawless. It’s a slow build, that constantly moves the reader forward. It takes us from one extreme to the next. One second she’s scaring the crap out of our pants, and the next she is romancing them off. And yes this book has romance, but it’s so real and believable that to not include it in the story would have be a failure to the characters and the tale. A lot of times in high risk books romance comes off as being unnecessary and even dangerous to the characters, but in this book it fills out the story. If Eve and Jake the two main characters had never found each other they would have had no reason to fight their way out of the horrible situation they were in.
I’m a zombie fan through and through. I love all types of zombie myths (except the zombie love interest) and these zombies were no exception to my love. They are merciless eating monsters. They are creepy, and fast, and scary. It’s everything I want in a zombie book. They have their own twist and Halle’s take on ‘zombies’ did not lessen the creature. If anything she made them more terrifying.
The characters are just awesome. Eve, is instantly likable, and I wanted her to live through the story (sometimes that’s not only the case). And she grows throughout the story. She doesn’t walk into the tale being an ass kicking zombie killing machine. As a matter of fact she doesn’t even know how to shoot a gun. But she a fighter and it comes through.
Jake was sort of quiet and seemed mad throughout the first part of the book but as his character opens up and develops you can’t help but swoon for him. He’s in charge, he’s tough, and he knows what he wants. He’s not a clean cut pretty boy, but he’s also not a sadistic loser. He’s a MAN.
This is a fast read, one that I devoured very quickly. I highly recommend this to readers who are looking for something a bit different than their normal zombie tale. I don’t think you will be disappointed.