Hench - Superheroes and Villains Galore
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published Sept 2020, 416 pages
This book has been on my TBR for a couple years and when I started the "Beat the Backlist" challenge (track my progress on the Challenges tab at the top of the page), I picked it for the superhero category. I listened to this book and the audio is excellent - the narrator voicing is so great and makes it easy to follow the various characters.
GENERAL PLOT LINE
The story is ...... different. It's entertaining, but kinda gruesome. It's a revenge story, but kinda over the top. It's a societal commentary story, but kinda grim. The hench of the story is Anna (as in henchman or sidekick), an IT whiz kid who, through a series of events, works for the baddest villain in the world, Leviathan. And his goal is to get rid of the baddest hero in the world, Collider.
Anna's devious mind is at the core of the story as she thinks of ways to discredit heroes and damage them and their reputations. Using spreadsheets, social media, and old-fashioned research, she decimates hero after hero, leading up to the big catch, Collider. There are grand battles, injuries and wounds, bad guys and worse bad guys, so, a fair amount of action.
This book was off to a slow start for me. I was bombarded with a bunch of random, odd superhero and villain names but it took me a while to build up a context for them. And, to realize most of the names didn't matter since they didn't really impact the story.
The premise is interesting and kind of like watching a car wreck that you can't turn away from. Are the villains the good guys? Is Anna a 'good guy' by causing so much death and destruction? And what about the innocent public - they're never part of the story. Are there ANY good guys?
I can't really say there's any particular world building in this fantasy because the environment is never part of the story. There's no particular character growth or even much in the way of backstories. Anna has moments of levity or introspection so she's not a worthless character, but there are no depths to plumb there. So why read it? Well, it's kind of superhero entertaining. A lot of the superhero movies are one big action scene - that's kind of this book.