The BookBrowse Review

Published September 16, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

Discussions are open to all members to read and post. Click to view the books currently being discussed.

Publishing Soon

Novels


Historical Fiction


Short Stories/Essays


Poetry


Mysteries


Thrillers


Romance


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Biography/Memoir


History, Science & Current Affairs


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Novels


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Extras
  • Blog:
    What To Do When Members Come to Book Club Without Reading the Book?
  • Wordplay:
    L N Take I C
  • Book Giveaway:
    Memorial Drive
    by Natasha Trethewey
Book Jacket

Hench
by Natalie Zina Walschots
22 Sep 2020
416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
ISBN-13: 9780062978578
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History
Critics:
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A 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.

"Boldly drawn characters of sundry ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities engage in realistically complex relationships that evolve (and devolve) over the course of the tale, illustrating the relativity of good and evil, the corrupting influence of power, and the necrotic nature of revenge. A fiendishly clever novel that fizzes with moxie and malice." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Walschots playfully pokes at both office politics and comic book absurdity while offering gripping action and gut-wrenching body horror. The inventive premise, accessible heroine, and biting wit will have readers eager for more from this talented author." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"With a diverse and inclusive cast of characters, Walschots' original tale performs a brilliant and exciting variation on the superhero trope and is not to be missed." - Booklist (starred review)

"This Anti(super)hero tale is jam-packed with action and fueled by Anna's breathless, dizzying, exhilarating rage. Anna faces off with the supernatural, but she feels so very real as she rockets along on her furious and furiously-paced trajectory. Hench is a ride—I loved it." - Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

"This book is fast, furious, compelling, and angry as hell. It's a beautiful deconstruction of the superhero genre, and I'm only a little annoyed that I didn't think of it first." - Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author

"Sharp, unexpected, and hilarious—Hench takes the classic superhero story and cleverly turns it on its head. Get ready for a delightfully twisted adventure that will make you want to root for the bad guys." - Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M

Natalie Zina Walschots is a freelance writer, community manager and bailed academic based in Toronto. She writes everything from reviews of science fiction novels and interviews with heavy metal musicians to in-depth feminist games criticism and pieces of long-form journalism. She is the author of two books of poetry. In her free time she has been exploring the poetic potential of the notes engine in the video game Bloodborne, writing a collection of polyamorous fairytales, developing interactive narrative classes and composing short text-based body horror games. She also plays a lot of D&D, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction.

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