A review of Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots

So, Hench…. When I read the book blurb for this, I wasn’t all that excited to read it. It sounded kinda…. Meh. “The Boys meets My Year Of Rest And Relaxation.” Okay? I like the show The Boys, and I have My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, on my TBR pile… but this just doesn’t sound all that enticing. I brushed it aside a few times, choosing other books in my pile, first. 

But I started it. And I can tell you this much: It is so, so so, much better than I had expected. I am no where near finished it yet, but I look forward to each page turned. It is creative, interesting, and a heck of a lot of fun. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*** Mild Spoilers Ahead***

The main character, Anna, begins fairly incongruously, just a normal person, who is struggling to keep a job, to pay the bills, to eat. Working odd jobs – not glamorous, through a temp agency.  And that’s where it takes a twist – to service Villains. Super Villains. Even a Villain needs a support team. So it seems.  And then it gets interesting. 

Anna gets a temp job, that turns in to a more steady job… usually she’s more of a behind the scenes office type , her thing being brilliant with data, and spreadsheets. Geek girl. But this Villain gets her along with him, when he’s doing some sort of publicity stunt, in which he pulls out a villainous act, kidnapping a kid in ransom from money. To use in his tech start up, of course. But things go sideways when the ‘Hero’ swoops in, and leaves a lot of damage in his wake (yes, think The Boys.) Anna inadvertently gets hurt  when the Hero, Supercollider, brushes her aside. Leaving her severely injured, and as a result, out a job. Again. 

In her spare time – which is all her time, she begins a side project while confined to her only friends couch while she tried to heal – is start a blog of sorts, that catalogs all the damage caused by Heroes. The property damage, innocent lives lost, bystander injuries, etc. Because As Anna personally knows – a Hero swoops in to save the day, and infinite amounts of damage is left in the wake, and it’s all overlooked. Well… she’s bed-bound, and chases this thread down with. Vengeance. And she has something, as her data geek skills prove it. All of which, she begins posting online, on anew blog and various social media. Much to the fright of her host – who does not at all appreciate the undue attention this could ( and likely will) bring on herself, and now her host. An angry Hero who wants you to shut up, is not an ideal situation. 

The upside, is that another Villain, Leviathan, becomes very interested, and discovers Anna’s identity, and interviews her, to work for his Villainous organization. It opens a world of doors, and I  that instant, Anna’s life changes. She is no longer homeless, and starving. The new job  gives her an ‘on campus’ apartment, all the medical attention and rehab she needs. An excellent paycheque, and the opportunity to take her data mining skills… and put them to use, expanding her exposition of the Evil Heroes leave in their trail of damage, ‘doing good.’ Her new Villain employer wants to know what else she is capable of doing with the data, and gives her free rein to see how much havoc of her own she can sow. 

Anna accepts. Her own retaliation against the Heroes (and Supercollider specifically) – leads to her getting quite a lot of undesired attention The Hero who ruined her life, leaving her broken; has now kidnapped her, tortured her, and has evil plans to disable her, with brain surgery, to dampen her ability to cause havoc. He wants her gone and will stop at nothing to get his way. Too bad though, the Villain who she works for values her immensely and will also stop at nothing to keep her safe – and thus rescues her from the operating room, in the nick of time. She’s already had her skull cut into. But since we’re in there – our favourite Villain, Leviathan, has taken the opportunity to add some ‘upgrades’ and tech to Anna, while his medical team is putting her back together. 

Things reach a boiling point, and get pretty out of control after that, as the book reaches its tipping point. I’ll try not to spoil any more than I have. Stuff happens. Lots of excitement, and stress, and confrontation. Interesting and unexpected twists! Happy endings. Though… not all the happy parts we want to hope for. 

Hench wrapped itself up in a nice little bow, tying up all the plot  thread, and  leaving a good feeling of completeness at the end. Though, naturally, I did not want it to end. It was very good, and  am pretty certain we can expect it to end up as a movie. Hopefully half as good as the read! I’m also hoping for another instalment in the world built up here – it lends itself nicely to that possibility. 

Pet peeves are minimal in this read – but our author did use the word ‘Beat’ wayyyyyyy too many times. And it’s you’re read my blog post on the ‘7 inexcusable sins of writing’, then you know I really am bothered by that. 

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