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Publisher's Summary

“This book is fast, furious, compelling, and angry as hell." (Seanan McGuire, New York Times best-selling author) 

The Boys meets My Year of Rest and Relaxation in this 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 beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy? 

As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. 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. 

A sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics. 

©2019 Natalie Zina Walschots (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Hench

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator was a major deal breaker for me

This was a first for me in all the books I've gotten from Audible. I always listen to the sample before I buy an audiobook so I know if I'll like the reader. I did that with this one as well, but apparently I didn't get to the parts where the characters were having a conversation. I gave this book about 2 hours before I had to stop listening. The narrator's voice was fine and normal when she was just reading through the story, but as soon as there was dialogue, she would become very (VERY) annoyingly nasally. This was particularly bad when the character named Julie was speaking. It was like the reader was channeling some incredibly horrible sounding young, whiny teenage girl for the intonation. It was awful. I would highly recommend listening to the sample and seeing if there are any parts in it that have conversation between the characters before buying this audible. I will definitely be taking note of this narrator and staying away from her from now on. I will also be reading the book myself instead since I'm still interested.

78 people found this helpful

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Voice acting is not good

I couldn't make it through the first few chapters because the voice actor used such a strong vocal fry for one of the characters. If vocal fry drives you nuts, don't bother listening. The story itself seems really interesting!

53 people found this helpful

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Suspenseful, weak ending, over-dramatic narrator

Most of the story is compelling, with a couple of big holes in character development and loose ends that feel like a naked play for a sequel. The narrator sounds more like she's emoting at a table read than reading a book aloud--I found myself reviewing passages to imagine how they'd land if read without maximum emphasis on every word.

40 people found this helpful

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really good

short review before bed and days after finishing. I almost returned it after the first event of potential child abuse. Then another time it was just a mention of child endangerment. just the two times i believe.. But I was caught in the story, curious how it would pan out for the hench. MC really connected with me in her thorough ways. The book has characters who felt like flawed humans, motivated and caring but villainous. I think she is bi which is fine but I didn't see the purpose of her only ever making mental appreciation for so many people. That assessment be off as I don't seek romance in books though, not that there was really much here. I don't know if she should be also recognizing the appearance of more around her other than what she was liking, or not.

I'm going to have to keep an eye out on this author! I'm often looking for good superhero audiobooks that aren't male wish fulfillment or veiled romance. Glad I found it!

32 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the narration of “Hench.” The writing felt so modern and as though written and spoken by a colleague over brunch with mimosas-a-flowing. The wit and characters were engaging and the sub story lines of workplace dynamics in a male-dominated field rang so true it had my neck sore from nodding in so much agreement. Thoroughly enjoyable!

24 people found this helpful

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On to something big

Telling a funny, clever, coming of age, screwup grows up story while creating an entirely new universe is some tricky business. It’s also likely a lucrative one.

I have no idea why I bought this book. It’s not my usual fare, but I’m so glad I did. I feel like I’ve found the next thing before anyone else.

The narration was good, though about halfway through the book the audio quality goes in the toilet. I blame COVID as it seems to have happened to podcasts, too.

It’s worth suffering through anyway.

Great listen and you’ll be able to say “I read that the week it came out” when it’s at the Multiplex.

16 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, tense, inventive, amazing!

I loved it! Perfectly paced. Dynamic, fully developed characters that are consistent with themselves. A well thought out and planned world. Excellent and snappy dialog. A truly grand plot. The narration was great. McKenna did an excellent job portraying the characters and narrating plot. Her voice is expressive and enjoyable.

I want MORE!

13 people found this helpful

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An unexpected joy

In the day of considering the other side of Heroes, this offers a fascinating look at how the actions of Superheroes might go sideways. and what the consequences of that accidental slippage might just bring about. I highly recommend it.

13 people found this helpful

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Original and compelling - very fun read!

Excellent storytelling, and an original perspective in a genre I believed to be fully played out. One of those where you get to the last page and immediately check to see if the next book is out yet.

Alex McKenna gives a fabulous performance as well, adding depth to character emotions and nailing the story pacing. Highly recommend and I look forward to more from Natalie Zina Walschots!

9 people found this helpful

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Three words: Lobotomized Super Villains!

You know somethings gone wrong with the world when the superheroes are lobotomizing super villains...

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 05-18-21

An interesting dive in the superhero genre

I was drawn to the unique premise that it was a hench instead of a main villian or hero, this is what drew me to a another book with a similar idea redshirts by John scalzi, a great book.


I quite liked the writing, the conversations and the few funny moments. I would say anyone who is a fan of the superhero genre too take a look at this book.

The only downsides come from the audio version where the narrator doesn't do the most convincing male voices...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 11-03-20

a very very clever and refreshing read

I don't know what made me choose this novel it's not my usual genre but I just completed this for the 2nd time and it is an incredibly clever and fresh take on the 'superhero/villian' genre. not only is the overall arc of the story ingenious and unexpected, the characters are nuanced, unique and well conceptualised. underneath all of this excellent writing and story this is a contemporary feminist masterpiece in disguise. not like anything I have read before. I absolutely love its unexpectedness and its rawness.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 01-01-21

Enjoyed it enough to finish it in 2 sittings.

Thought it would be a silly distraction and instead found a real book worth recommending to others.

Would love to see a sequel.

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  • R. Maines
  • 10-12-20

Interesting

A nice take on superhero story from the point of view of a Hench for supervillains. Anna is a great protagonist as she discovers how much the actions of superheroes lead to a high cost in damage and human lives.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-02-20

fantastic!

A great story for people who love villains!
delicious Dom/sub subtext that left me craving more!

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  • Jacquelyn
  • 02-01-22

Data is data no matter which side you're on

In an alternate reality where teenagers are routinely screened for 'enhanced abilities' and recruited by The Draft to become superheroes, some are bound to end up being villains. And those villains need henches just like any other organisation needs office workers. Someone to man the reception desk at their high security compound, crunch numbers, enter data, monitor social media trends...

This is where Anna comes in. To Anna data is just data, no matter which side needs it. And if someone is going to pay her to enter in a system from the safety of her home, then she will take the job. Until the job is not so safe that is.

After being injured in the wake of a Superhero's rescue of the victim of a routine kidnapping, Anna starts crunching different numbers. How much damage do Superheroes actually cause? And is it worth it?

Natalie Zina Walschots explores some of those questions that are usually ignored by Superhero pop culture. What happens to the people whose homes/offices/cars are destroyed? What about the people who are just trying to make a living and lose their job when a villain is foiled? Why is a hero's life and loved ones worth more than the ordinary person on the street?

A little long winded at times, but generally humorous Hench is worth a listen* for any comic fan regardless of which side of the DC/Marvel paradigm you sit.

*Note: Be prepared for a limited range of character voices - apparently all females except for Anna have the same nasal twinge and pretty much all guys sound like a prepubescent cartoon character. I guess it kind fits the genre but was a little annoying at times. Also, a fierce Maori woman with traditional face tattoos is unlikely to have an upperclass English accent...

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  • Darya Toumar
  • 05-18-21

fresh, fun and engaging

A refreshing new take on the super hero genre, I enjoyed this book a lot.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Daly
  • 04-06-21

Unique and gripping!

Do u cheer for Vader? Did u want Mr Glass to win? Would u champion Victor Von Doom? Do u get behind Butcher and the Boys?

This will be your jam.

As an antagonist..the ‘hero’ is pure twisted idealism. As the central character the ‘villain’ is essentially a fallen pawn who did nothing wrong. This was an amazingly well executed concept and the characters were so relatable and fresh. It’s got powers, it’s got tech and robotics, it’s got politics and government issues, it’s even got humour..dark AF humour!
Well worth the time, would have benefitted from other voices, sounds or even some music but no matter. Great book!!!!

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  • Katherine Cherry
  • 01-15-21

A lot of fun.

Loved the evil office politics and bringing the heroes down one annoyance at a time, looking forward to the sequel.

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  • Duncan
  • 11-15-20

Great unusual take

Unusual take on superhero tropes with the deal and world building to back it up.