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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,570 ratings  ·  840 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
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published September 22nd 2020 by HarperAudio
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Kathleen The protagonist is bi, one hero is mentioned as a trans woman, others have same sex partners or use they/them.
All Cops Are Bastards 2020-10-15: "I am beginning to work on a sequel to Hench, hoping one will take shape"

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"

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."

2021-01-04: "believe me when I say nothing would make me happier [than a sequel or TV show]"

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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,570 ratings  ·  840 reviews

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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
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it
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?!


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,
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
Omg this is a novel about a supervillain's henchwoman.

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
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.
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.

Ellen Gail
Aug 06, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: want-it-now
This synopsis is giving me Dr. Horrible vibes and I am HERE FOR IT.

May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an entertainingly and delightfully evil read! Such an interesting and unique concept I've never seen before! If you love a good superhero read this is definitely not for you. But, for the fans of supervillains and their henchman...or woman, this is a must-read! ...more
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
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: superhero, lgbt
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
Justina Ireland
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a ride! I'm actually disappointed this is a standalone because I NEED MORE. Absolutely hilarious; this had me giggling out loud. Unputdownable, compelling, and smart. Plus, I've grown attached to these characters and relationships and hate to let go. I loved everything about this, from our henchwoman turned supervillainness protagonist Anna, to the wider cast of characters (her friendships are great, as is her surprisingly tender relationship with her scary villain boss Leviathan), to the p ...more
April Sarah
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
*ARC received from Netgalley in return for an honest review*
Video Review:

This book is a strange mixture of data, superheroes, and walking that fine line of good versus evil. And I liked it.

This is the story of Anna, who is a temp henchman. She works through an agency and is farmed out to different villains. She is in data entry, so she does a lot of cataloging and moving and analyzing data. One day she starts a job under a villain called the Electric Eel and she is
Toya (the reading chemist)
When it comes to superheroes and their sidekicks, I am usually not all that interested since these stories tend to follow the same formulaic script. Hench brilliantly flips the script to give us a fresh new take on hench people, the expendable people who work for villains.

Anna Tromedlov alongside her friend June work crappy temp assignments for minor villains that no one really cares about. Anna can’t complain though because she needs to make money to be able to eat. Anna finally gets her break
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I need a little break from YA, so I decided to pick up HENCH by Natalie Zina Walschots and ended up binge reading the whole thing because I was hooked from the get go—that’s how much I enjoyed it.

Anna, the protagonist of the novel, makes a living ‘henching’ for various villains on a part time basis. Even criminals need office help, and in this economy, there’s no such thing as turning down work. When Anna is seriously, permanently injured by an encounter with a superhero gone wrong, she takes it
Super witty, super charged, and super villainous! Anna is a normal temp hench, working for ho-hum villains to make rent. But when she finally steps out from behind her desk, she's severely injured by a superhero. The pain and unpaid time off leads her to start running the numbers on the damage to humans and material objects caused by the so-called good guys. Burning with revenge and hatred, Anna soon captures the attention of the online world and a true villain- Leviathan. Soon Anna is using her ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
This was phenomenal!

Anna Tomedlov, later known as The Auditor, is an out of work hench. Her last job ended and she's been struggling to get into a new role with a villain who could use her data skills. After a quick application at the temp agency, she gets assigned to the Electric Eel. The job is boring, it's a lot of recalculating information on known identities of superheroes, but hey, it pays. Then she gets told that she is expected to be at his press conference, mostly to correct the ratios
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 30% - apparently I'm not in the mood for it. Perhaps again later. ...more
3.5/5 stars

Although I really enjoyed this book for the most part, by the end I was left with a sinking and disappointed feeling despite liking the story. It's weird because on the surface, it was a very striking, unique and fun read that I very much enjoyed. It completely flipped the superhero genre on its head, focusing the story on the perspective of a temp hench for villains. This idea is honestly amazing. Reading about superpowered people from the perspective of a data collector/analysist ma
Lady H
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
I picked this up specifically because I was looking for some supervillain/henchwoman vibes, and this book gave it to me, albeit in very tiny increments. We follow Anna in Comic Book Universe, where superheroes wreak havoc on ordinary people's lives. After an encounter with a superhero shatters Anna's femur, she begins investigating the numerical cost associated with superheroes: she's big on data and spreadsheets. It's basically her superpower. Her work catches the attention of Leviathan, a supe ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book was phenomenal! It works as a stand alone but could easily have a sequel. I really really REALLY hope Natalie Zina Walschots does write a sequel to it. I'm recommending this book to all my book club members and anyone who loves heroes, or especially loves villians. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, audio
This book started off with a bang for me and I really enjoyed the first quarter or so. But unfortunately I became a bit bored after that and I never regained my interest. I did make it to the end just so I could see how it ended, but it would have been enough for me to have read a recap instead. Still, I give it 3 stars for really pulling me in at the beginning, and there are a lot of great ideas to be explored here.
Sep 15, 2020 marked it as abandoned-books  ·  review of another edition
For the moment, I’m shifting this to the abandoned books shelf. Perhaps I’ll have a change of heart. I was so excited about the concept within this book and while I am grateful for the ARC, I wonder if I might have an easier time with the audiobook when it becomes available. I’m struggling a lot with the pacing, as very little has happened and I’m at page 111. Plus, the chapters are insanely long. For example, chapter one was 68 pages. So this isn’t something I can take a short break with during ...more
Lisa Ladd
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if the bad guys are really the good guys? That is the driving theme of this debut novel by Natalie Zina Walschots, aka poet, community manager, and game designer. superheroes and supervillains are just part of the everyday landscape therefore they need employees to support their work. Enter the Hench, who is basically a temp for hire, to do whatever jobs their bosses need done, usually administrative tasks like crunching numbers or window dressing for press conferences. The Meat are the mus ...more
What a great twist on the superhero trope—thinking about the damage their “heroic” acts cause to both people and property. And who are all the villains’ henchmen/women? Why, there’s a temp agency for henches, of course. An imaginative and smart fantasy for our times. Highly recommended.
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Readers Unbound: Hench 14 19 Nov 12, 2020 08:37PM  

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