Moth City


Fiction - Dystopia
690 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Moth City by Kenneth James Allen is a speculative fiction novel that centers around a dystopian future where the laws that govern families are sweeping in both scale and enforcement. Once considered a unifying piece of legislation and roundly embraced by most, once implemented, the draconian measures turned a once lauded child social services program into a terrifying revocation of any and all parental rights. Emerson Barnes, known only as 'Boy' before being ripped from his parents, grows up to become Sergeant Barnes, an Enforcer himself. But all it takes is a rainy night encounter on the path of 'Runner Boy Shaw' and a Mr. John Berry, and the relative security of Barnes' life on the 'right' side of the law is once again ripped from him. “Do the right thing, and you’ll be fine. Do the wrong thing and suffer the consequences of your actions. Penalties were severe.”

Moth City happened to fall into my lap quite serendipitously. I had passed on it twice because of its length and because Kenneth James Allen was not an author I'd heard of before, which made committing to a novel this long a bit of a gamble. What a shame it would have been to have missed out on Moth City and the exceptional writing style of Kenneth James Allen. From start to finish this book is riveting, ripe with tension and characters in a society that is both deeply and richly developed. The narrative is intelligent and occasionally witty, such as when Barnes is in a pretty pivotal full-circle moment and muses, “It was a dystopian fantasy...” As a reviewer whose job is to remain objective, I did look for shortcomings, either from the writing or the plot. The truth is, there aren't any, and like it or not, Kenneth James Allen has just roped in a new fan. Very, very highly recommended.