Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a superhero? How about a villain? In Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots, readers take a deep dive into the world of superheroes, but hear the story from the point of view of a civilian who temps for villains. Set to be released on September 22nd, this novel will take all preconceived notions about good and evil and give readers a new way to view the world around them.
Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine that is a villain's headquarters. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one. So, of course, then she gets laid off. With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks. Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing. And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance. It’s not too long before she’s employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.
This book is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read and I don’t think I can express accurately enough how much I think this book should be on everyone’s bookshelf. This book takes the idea of superheroes and villains and turns it onto its head! It’s full of characters you’ll love to hate and characters you’ll hate to love, while crushing the stereotypes of good and bad people. Anna is a fabulous narrator and her character development is so interesting to see, especially from her first person point-of view. The entire cast of villains and heroes is so well written and helps keep the plot interesting and engaging. And even if you think you know what a character’s motives are, Walschots will turn those assumptions on their head and leave the reader gobsmacked with new developments and ulterior motives.
Jam-packed with action and scheming, this story also showcases themes like self-worth, vengeance, ethics, and morals. Above all, this book is about good and evil and how the only difference between the two is from which side you’re looking at the world from. Everyone believes themselves to be good. Even the villains in this story believe they are doing bad things for the right reasons. However, there’s a fine line between doing something for the good of humanity and doing something for your own self-preservation.
Walschots also makes a point to showcase how this battle between good and bad never truly ends. It’s just a continuous cycle of trying to fight for what you believe is right and how far you’ll go to get it. Yet, she also shows that regular people can be just as powerful as those with supernatural abilities if they learn to utilize their own skills and talents in the right ways.
Hench is dark, gritty, funny, raw, and just overall amazing! While there are some parts of this book that are dark and disturbing, the way Walschots creates the world of this novel is astounding and proves that it’s not just the heroes and the villains whose stories matter.
*I received an ARC from William Morrow and HarperCollins in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!