David is growing up in a world where something is very badly wrong but everyone is protecting David from knowing what it is. People are going missing, bodies are showing up with wings, or bones in nests if you believe the rumours from the kids at school. David doesn’t really know because his parents turn off the news whenever he might get a handle on what is happening around him and his older sister just doesn’t seem interested in sharing.
Most importantly for David the centre of his world – his grandfather – is gone. His parents say he is dead but why is his grandfather’s backpack and jumper missing from the house? Alongside this we have a man abandoned in a hostile landscape and trying out run nature itself to get back home with some information.
I was sent a copy of Mothtown in exchange for an honest review.
Okay I sat on this review for ages because I thought I was getting a horror story, but in reality I got a stunning story of self-discovery and an exploration of mental health all wrapped up in an addictive horror.
It took me a while to figure out where this was going. I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers so this review is likely to be pretty vague in most places. I thought it was a story of journeying to Mothtown, this otherworldly place where there has been a mass exodus throughout David’s lifetime. But as. You get deeper into the story you start to see things that aren’t quite adding up, and you begin to wonder if David is really right in all of his beliefs.
There are characters that dip in and out of the story, with David’s grandfather taking centre stage as the character we hear about the most, even if he goes missing very early on in the story. Told in both the past and the present you see characters you think you know introduced in unexpected places, and part of the creepy atmosphere of this book is the discoveries of what is really, maybe, going on.
This is definitely more of an atmospheric horror. You won’t be scared of the dark but you’ll have that sinking feeling that you won’t be able to shake, even weeks later.
There’s a handful of Chris Riddell sketches throughout Mothtown and it’s an absolute treat every time one appears. The sketches capture the mood of the book so perfectly and my only wish is that there were more.
I love a story that leaves a lasting impression and Mothtown did just that. It haunts me to this day and I think it’ll follow me around for quite a while.