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Hench

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  9,600 ratings  ·  2,108 reviews
A smart, imaginative, and evocative novel of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, told with razor-sharp wit and affection, in which a young woman discovers the greatest superpower - for good or ill - is a properly executed spreadsheet.

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking b
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 22nd 2020 by William Morrow
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Popular Answered Questions
Kathleen The protagonist is bi, one hero is mentioned as a trans woman, others have same sex partners or use they/them.
Borders Are Global Apartheid 2020-10-15: "I am beginning to work on a sequel to Hench, hoping one will take shape"
https://www.lapl.org/collections-reso...

2020-11-13: "I would love…more
2020-10-15: "I am beginning to work on a sequel to Hench, hoping one will take shape"
https://www.lapl.org/collections-reso...

2020-11-13: "I would love for there to be a sequel. I want to spend more time with these characters, and in this universe; I think there are many more stories to tell here. Nothing is net in stone right now but nothing would make me happier than for there to be more books in this series."
https://old.reddit.com/r/books/commen...

2021-01-04: "believe me when I say nothing would make me happier [than a sequel or TV show]"
https://twitter.com/NatalieZed/status...(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,600 ratings  ·  2,108 reviews


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carol.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Wild Cards, supers
I'm not saying I was looking for lifestyle alternatives. Just because I've left the path of self-sacrificing medical worker doesn't mean I'm swinging another way. In fact, I might have shelved this on the Infinite TBR List if not for a group of enthusiastic friends. Interestingly, most of us were under the impression that this would be a somewhat humorous look at the hench role--a sort of re-imagination, perhaps a humanized Minions via Despicable Me. It most certainly was not. Instead, it was m ...more
Nataliya
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
“It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote.

Well, here is the book about a soul who’s obsessively consenting to evil without a glimpse of a second thought or a shred of self-awareness, but with a ready batch of irritating excuses for it, backed up by spreadsheet data.

It’s a good book in the sense that’s it’s well-crafted and well-executed and well-written — but it uses all these to create something that for me was very unsettling, disturbing and, fr
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Riley
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
the villain origin story i've always wanted!!!

after an encounter with a superhero that leaves her leg shattered and with a permanent limp, Anna sets out on a path for revenge and to expose the collateral damage and pain inflicted by superheroes.
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David Putnam
Hench Aug 2020
Yikes, two stars. I really wanted to like this one too. I won it on Goodreads giveaway. The premise sounded so interesting and promising. And it started out just so. Great Point of view, strong female character, good writing craft. The first part of the book had me all the way while she built the new world. It came out natural and easy to follow. I always talk about the Fictive Dream and as the book progressed I got dumped out too many times. This was caused mainly by my own inabil
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Elle
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Hench didn’t end up being what I thought it was going to be. I suppose that’s my fault, because halfway through I went to re-read the synopsis and it turned out to be pretty faithful to the events of the novel. Suffice to say, I was expecting more action. What this was instead was essentially ‘super accounting’ with some mean-spirited pranks thrown in for good measure.

I don’t think that’s necessarily a knock against the book. Natalie Zina Walschots writes with a lot of momentum and charisma. Her
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K.J. Charles
Oh my god this was fabulous. A superhero setup from the POV of a minor henchperson in a temp job. It's brilliantly structured and well told, taking you every step of the way along the path that leads a temp to become *sinister font* The Auditor, a villain in her own right.

Or then again not, because everyone in this is as grey as cats in the dark, morally speaking. The villain gives good health coverage, the heroes don't care about doing right but only about looking it. The only things that shin
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Anne
It's got a great premise and the story is really interesting.
But. The ending is weird.
Now, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger or anything, but there was just something dissatisfying about it when I closed the book. It feels as though this was going to be a series of books instead of a one and done, if that makes sense?
Maybe it is? <--how should I know?!

description

Other than the odd conclusion, why wasn't a book about henchmen (hencepeople) a complete win for me?
Bottom line, Anna is a whiny asshole. I mean,
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jade
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers interested in snarky humor, a descent into villainy & spreadsheet torture
Recommended to jade by: carol.
“[he] had a great deal in common with a diamond: aesthetically tacky; value artificially ascribed by corporate greed; cultural significance vastly overinflated; and incredibly hard to damage.”

hench is one of those books that’s probably not perfect, but it was definitely perfect for me. there’s something about its theme, tone, and general diabolical villainy that made it feel as if the author made a fantastic fucking dish out of a lot of my favorite story ingredients.

it’s not a ‘class
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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
Omg this is a novel about a supervillain's henchwoman.

YES
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Lukasz
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hench expertly deconstructs superhero stories and offers a fresh perspective on the subgenre. Instead of following heroes, it focuses on Henches, expendable employees of supervillains.

Anna Tromedlov works temp jobs for minor baddies. Her newest job ends in a disaster - Anna ends injured, out of work, and disillusioned with reckless superheroes who pay no attention to casualties of their superhuman feats. Her data-based research confirms superheroes, for all their good PR, are terrible for the w
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Barbara K
I had no real idea of what to expect with this book. When a group of friends picked it for a buddy read I decided to take a walk down the sci-fi aisle, a place where I don’t spend much time. Plus, as someone who leveraged her back-door access to a SQL database into providing the small company she worked for with a wealth of information about their own operation that they wouldn’t otherwise have had, I was intrigued by the reference to “weaponized data”.

Given that intro you may understand that it
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Justine
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this!

Hench imagines what life is like when you are part of the Supervillain's admin staff. Anna's speciality is data analysis and strategizing the downfall of Heroes through careful planning. Her technique is the data analysis equivalent of death by 1000 cuts, or in this case, micro-manipulation of events.

For me the book was massively enjoyable and compulsively readable. I would love to see the author write a sequel! One of my favourite reads for 2020.
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Richard Derus
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because I'm damn near popping from impatience to get her next book

I CHECKED THIS BOOK OUT OF MY LOCAL LIBRARY. SUPPORT YOUR LIBRARY, FOLKS! USE THEM OFTEN!

Several book ideas later, Author Walschots realized they all fit into one if she used a different frame...

I will make no bones about or apologies for my complete disdain for superhero crap. It's a bad social message. It's worse storytelling. The violence it does to physics and reality is incalculable.

Hey w
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Faith
Oct 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Anna is a hench, which is basically an assistant to supervillains. While I can watch superhero movies for 2 hours of mindless entertainment I don’t think that I have ever read about super heroes and villains before, and I probably won’t again. After Anna and other henches are injured in a failed child hostage situation she becomes obsessed with proving that superheroes actually cause harm to society. She is eventually hired by supervillain Leviathan to help him disrupt and destroy superheroes.

T
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Bradley
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For a great deal of this novel, I was practicing -- or rather, reveling -- in my nefarious "muahahahahahaha" laugh.

Sometimes, I had to hold back and try to unleash my vast coil of villainy in tiny little bursts, but by the final action scene, it all came bubbling out in waves of gut-propelled dark joy.


Seriously though, the first part of the novel felt like I was back in my old job as a customer support rep for a big cell-phone agency. The sheer evil that I had to endure, with me as a lowly peon
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Ellen Gail
Aug 06, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: want-it-now
This synopsis is giving me Dr. Horrible vibes and I am HERE FOR IT.

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Allison Hurd
Don't read this if you want to go in with no preconceptions to the SFFBC BOTM!

Content warnings (view spoiler)

(view spoiler)
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Wanda
Well, that was and wasn't what I was expecting. It has its funny moments, but it deals with many more serious issues than I expected. We meet Anna when she is a temp worker as a hench, scrambling for jobs to keep her from eviction and calculating carefully how to afford enough vegetables to avoid scurvy. I was a bit unclear on why she chose the role of hench. Perhaps it was that old “do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life” bullshit. At any rate, she is hired by the villain Ele ...more
Rosann
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally something different in SciFi. Informed by the modern penchant for statistical analysis, marketing, data mining, gig economy, temp workers, and possibly influenced by the Amazon series "The Boys", Natalie Zina Walschots gives us, at last, the story of the villains and the hench folks that support their evil plans. The superheroes are revealed to not be so heroic, the villains, not so blackhearted, the support staff that make all tales of the 'supes' tick are revealed in all their glory. T ...more
Audrey
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
You will never look at super heroes or super villains the same way again. What started out as a commentary on the millennial gig economy (because hey, villains need data entry and organization as well) quickly morphs into betrayal, scheming, mean vindictive pranks, inadvertent lol in horror and above all, loyalty. Anna’s unique point of view brings forward the fallout, one rarely thanks about: the collateral damage that super heroes wreak when ‘saving’ the world. One can see that the line betwee ...more
Janet Newport
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oooohhhhhhhh...
As someone who spends a lot of time with spreadsheets myself, it can get mind and butt numbingly boring. But Anna has found a way to cope with that, even though she keeps finding herself up to her armpits in alligators.

This was FUN. Fast & Furious pace and action. Great, relatable characters. A strange world that made sense (to me at any rate).
Matthew Galloway
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super-hero
It's not that the themes here are new -- I could name at least a good handful of books that explore the darker sides of heroes and the underpowered in a superpowered world (The Refrigerator Monologues, Soon I Will Be Invincible, Heroine Complex, After the Golden Age, etc.) -- but this does refine some of those ideas for the current day. Plus, a lot of these kinds of stories stick to superheroes or supervillains, so it's great to get this from the henchperson's point of view.

I'm personally not o
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I had a lot of fun with this book, as someone who doesn’t engage much with superhero media. It’s that perfect mix of magic and mundane: the real world seen through the eyes of supervillains’ henches, who get in the door through a temp agency and have to think about things like HR and rideshares, and who go out drinking with their coworkers and say the same kinds of things modern people do in real life—and then return to work for ridiculously-named bosses who are wildly irresponsible with made-up ...more
Trish
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an impromptu buddy-read and it couldn't have been more perfect.

I watched The Boys and loved the show not only for the blood and gore but also the quirky look on heroes and their impact on the world, the PR bullshit surrounding them. This novel had all of that and then some.

You see, we don't get someone working in the CIA or some special forces soldier. Instead, we get a temp working odd jobs for this or that villain, just trying to get by. And there is a point to be made (in fact, the b
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Stephen
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Not what I expected. Much, much better.

Anna is a hench, a temp-working data analyst minion working for a minor villain until terribly injured by a hero seeking to thwart said villain. While recuperating from her injuries, angry Anna begins to assess the large-scale human, property and fiscal damage caused by Heroes putting down villains who usually only want a bit of ransom, or stolen tech. Few are actively trying to kill people or destroy property. She concludes that heroes are a monstrous cos
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Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Jun 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
This is such a fun villain origin story! I'd highly recommend this if you like the show The Boys. I really hope there'll be a sequel! It was so good.

Booktube | Instagram | Twitter
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Lindsay
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtiq, superhero
Natalie temps for various B-list supervillains, doing the work behind the scenes that no-one pays attention to. Right up until an assignment lands her in the field and in the frontlines of a battle between her boss and a superhero. To the superhero a glancing blow is completely minor, but to physically-ordinary Natalie, it's a life-changing injury that leaves both her impaired, both physically and financially.

After getting her life back on track, mainly by letting her obsessive maths-brain tackl
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Justina Ireland
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I wanted The Boys to be but was not: thoughtful, addictive, and most importantly upheld by a strong core of storytelling that was based around ideas of justice and vengeance AND included a diverse cast of not only people of color, but an array of genders and sexual identities (the Auditor might be my new favorite Disaster Bi).

Seriously great, it also leaves room for a sequel, which I would eagerly snatch up.
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
A really good debut novel told from the POV of the hench of a supervillain, a data analyst hellbent on revenge when a superhero casually ruins her life. It turns out when you run the numbers, heroes are just plain bad for the world, and aren't really distinguishable from the villains, except for the PR. I loved the snarky attitude, the sharp writing, and the whole concept.

My main disappointment is that I didn't connect with Anna all that much, and I'm not sure exactly why. She's not a flat char
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Hench" Discuss Everything *Spoilers* 49 115 May 28, 2021 06:23PM  
Diverse Canadian ...: Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots 3 17 Jan 30, 2021 01:37PM  

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