Sunday, March 12, 2023


Moths by Jane Hennigan
3/14/23; 312 pages
Angry Robot

Moths by Jane Hennigan is a highly recommended dystopian novel concerning a pandemic which infects men and boys and is spread via toxic threads left by mutated moths.

The pandemic hit forty years earlier and either killed males quickly or turned them into raging killers. The surviving males are kept confined in special clean facilities to keep them safe. Mary was an adult when it hit and she remembers life before. Now she is in her seventies and works in a facility helping to care for the male residents. She has no real clout or power, but she does hear and has secrets. She also knows how to keep silent and simply do her job.

Mary's narration alternates back and forth in time between the present and flashbacks in the past. This novel depicts a world where women are in charge and men are subservient, sort of an antithetical A Handmaid's Tale (only not as well written) where the roles are due to natural forces rather than societal, at least at first. The characters are caricatures, but that and a role reversal of sexes is seemingly sort of the point of the novel and the virus is simple a way to set everything into motion.

The pace is even and the narrative is interesting enough to capture your attention and hold it throughout the entire novel. The ending is satisfying. Moths is a novel that you only need to know the basics before reading so nothing spoils it for you. Those who like dystopian fiction will very likely enjoy Moths. This is an impressive debut novel for Hennigan and it will be interesting to see what she writes in the future.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Angry Robots via NetGalley.

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