Wednesday 15 June 2022

A Stunning Post-Apocalyptic Debut: 'Moths' by Jane Hennigan, narrated by Juanita McMahon

Moths by Jane Hennigan | Narrated by Juanita McMahon |Audiobook Review

There's something about certain dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels that draws me in, keeps me reading into the quiet hours of night and doesn't let me go until I'm finished. I knew I had to read Jane Hennigan's Moths when a fellow Goodreads reviewer John recommended it, stating that it was going onto his list of favourite dystopian novels alongside a favourite of mine A Boy, His Dog and the End of the World. I went in with such high expectations - usually a bad idea - but in this case, my impossible expectations were exceeded.

I lived, breathed and slept Moths in the two weeks that I listened to it and might have flown through it sooner had I been reading it. I took long lunch time walks out on the marsh as I listened to this dark tale about nature gone wrong, knowing that I needed to draw it out for as long as possible. I didn’t want to finish this book, could think of little else in those two weeks and needed to know what would come next.

Moths is set about forty years into our future, following a catastrophic time when the tiny toxic threads of a previously unknown species of moths begins to kill men or fill them with uncontrollable, murderous rage. Society breaks down, systems fail, changes are made to ensure that both men and women can survive in this strange new world. Most of all, sacrifices are made and controls put in place to ensure that men are not exposed to the unrelenting threat of moth fibres that permeate the entire world.

The future world of Moths is a deeply horrifying place but I’m hesitant to go into details of the structures and practices because I want other readers to go in as blind as possible, to experiences the twists and reveals as I did. I can say that it is at once feminist and misanthropic, that it reminded me of both The Handmaids Tale and The Testaments and that I’ll be reading both Vox and The Power now due to favourable comparisons with those books.

I can also say confidently that it is unique and inventive enough to stand out in the world of dystopian fiction and that, like John, I will be adding this to my list of favourite dystopian books ever. I am absolutely thrilled that the sequel Toxxic is coming out in July!

I felt that Hennigan portrayed the effects of long-term institutionalisation very well as well as the consequential infantalisation of those who are incarcerated, how decades of medication would render them as empty shells. I didn’t quite agree with the complete breakdown of the electric grid, mobile grid and internet but it is clear that this is an issue that will divide dystopian writers and fans for ages to come. Just how much will society collapse following a catastrophe?

I listened to Moths narrated by Juanita McMahon on Juanita’s narration was superb and absolutely contributed to my enjoyment of Moths. I liked how she changed her voice for each of the characters, making them distinctive and nuanced. I definitely recommend listening to this one on audiobook.

I give Moths a superb five out of five stars and recommend it to all fans of dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction. I cannot wait for the release of Toxxic and will be following Jane Hennigan's writing career with great interest.


I was gifted a copy of the audiobook by the author Jane Hennigan. I will always give an honest and true review no matter whether booked are gifted or purchased by me.


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