WARNING: I AM GOING TO STRAIGHT UP SAY WHAT THE BAD/SCARY/KILLY THING IS IN THIS STORY – CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED. HOWEVER, MS. HALE FLAT OUT SAYS IT HERSELF IN THE SYNOPSIS CONTAINED ON AMAZON, SO IT’S OBVIOUSLY NOT A SPOILER, ALSO, THE TITLE???? I’M PRETTY SURE MOST OF Y’ALL ARE BRIGHT ENOUGH TO HAVE FIGURED IT OUT ON YOUR OWN ANYWAY.
I could say this was a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” when it came to this book . . . but I’m not going to. I picked Donners of the Dead up once it finally became free for me to do so. It had been on my TBR for quite some time (it’s got a goooooood title and premise, after all), but I was leery to read it because I usually fall on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to authors known for writing “New Adult.” I’ve dabbled in that genre a time or two and have found it to be really hit or miss for me. However, this book had a big ol’ disclaimer on Amazon saying it was definitely NOT New Adult. Too bad for me I didn’t check the smaller disclaimer contained on Goodreads that said it was a “horror romance.” WTF is a horror romance????
The whole idea behind the story is that a wagon train (following the same route as the Donner party from years before) has failed to reach its final destination. A relative of said party wants to find conclusive evidence of what happened to the missing pioneers and hires Eve Smith, a young half Native American girl known to be the best tracker in the area, to assist his group.
Okay, there’s the basic idea. Now, not only is this group on a quest to find a bunch of more-than-likely dead folks who were following the trail of another group of dead folks who had such a great journey they ended up EATING EACH OTHER, but they are also about to encounter some super scary bad guys . . .
What’s the obvious thing that should happen? If you’re thinking “those poor bastards better figure out how to nut up super quick in order to fight the undead or else they need to hightail it back to where they came from pronto,” well unfortunately you would be wrong. But if you’re thinking “Eve should totally act like a damsel in distress 99% of the time and focus on perchance hooking up with one of the sexy strangers who is a member of the search party and thank her lucky stars there aren’t bazillions of these creepers roaming around the woods so there’s plenty of time to chop off evil undead heads AND bump uglies,” then you’re right (and also super good at guessing storylines!). Me no likey : (
Oh and one other thing that needs to be mentioned about this plot – there must have been some serious backlash from people who called out the author on the racism contained in this book ‘cause there is a big paragraph explaining about the time/place/mindset/etc. Although I like to think that I would have stabbed every single one of these guys in the face were I in the same situation as Eve, if some fictional dumb broad wants to fall for a fella who spends the majority of the book referring to her status as an “Injun” (and other derogatory terms), that’s on her.
So yeah, obviously I’m not a fan of mixing my horror with romance and this one did not work for me. I can say, however, that Ms. Halle is not a terrible writer and I will probably give her another shot in the future.