Hench

by Natalie Zina Walschots

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED this book. I really enjoyed seeing the superhero trope from a different perspective. It’s not the first book to tell the story from the villain’s perspective, but the characters really pushed the story to a whole new level.

I was impressed at how far things went in terms of the situations the main character was involved in. I was pleasantly shocked and disturbed many times. This book does not hold back and this also really elevates the story for me as well.

All My Thoughts

May contain spoilers.

This book was so much more than I had expected it to be. I was already really interested in reading a superhero story that was from a villain’s perspective. While not a new concept, I really feel like this book gives a fresh, interesting, and brutally honest perspective. Also not exactly new, but it’s the characters in this book that put it above and beyond for me.

Anna is a villain, though not the arch-nemesis to a hero-type villain. She is a henchman, and not just a henchman but one that takes henching jobs through temp agency. I adore this concept. I love the idea that people choose to be involved in the criminal life without any real attachments. It’s just a job like any others. Anna is a great character. I love her personality from the very beginning. the fact that her “superpower” is the fact that she is incredibly smart and clever is perfect because it feels like a very real and human trait to have. When she suffers pointlessly at the hands of a hero, she finally starts to really see the flaws in the hero/villain system and makes it her mission to expose them, particularly on the side of the heroes. I have always enjoyed this idea that under the surface, heroes are not perfect. They make bad choices, cause collateral damage, are surprisingly self-serving, and tend to see the world in only black and white. If you’re not good, you’re bad. Period. Anna, with her incredibly gifted mind, breaks down the numbers to show in detail how much suffering they cause.

Using her gift to really see into the fine details of the information presented to her, Anna begins picking apart heroes starting with the smaller cracks in their lives that soon causes them to shatter completely. This was handled so well through the book, and with her in the employee and having full support from one of the most powerful villains this is when she really shines.

As I was reading this I had certain expectations in mind. Everything I expected did not happen. Instead, the author took everything to a much more intense level. Things got dark, people died I did not expect, and Anna suffered so much more than I thought she would. And all of this at the hands of heroes. I was shocked and moderately uncomfortable in the best ways. Anna essentially takes down the main hero of this world using her wits and cunning. No she technically isn’t the one to actually take him out of the picture, but without her planning and genius none of events in pretty much the whole book would have come to pass.

The book ends incredibly open-ended. Will the story arc does conclude there is no real finality for Anna or her motivations. I would LOVE to read more about her and see where things go after the climactic events, but this in no way takes away from the book at all.

Overall

This was a fantastic book with a well-written main character that makes a great story even better. Full of surprises and genuinely humorous moments as well. Fair warning though, there is a bit of body horror that may make some a bit uncomfortable.

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