Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For a great deal of this novel, I was practicing -- or rather, reveling -- in my nefarious "muahahahahahaha" laugh.
Sometimes, I had to hold back and try to unleash my vast coil of villainy in tiny little bursts, but by the final action scene, it all came bubbling out in waves of gut-propelled dark joy.
Seriously though, the first part of the novel felt like I was back in my old job as a customer support rep for a big cell-phone agency. The sheer evil that I had to endure, with me as a lowly peon, felt like I was BACK.
And then the middle of the book, the rise of Hench stardom, becoming an evil mastermind from deep within the bowels of the leviathan... or rather, under the auspices of Leviathan, was pure joy. I felt like I was reading Flex again for the first time.
On the other side of it, I felt like I was watching (or reading the comic of) The Boys, but having the story told from the funny and unique perspective of a smart middle-manager go-getter.
But it was the end that made my innards boil. What an end! Deliciously evil.
But the very, very end?
I didn't expect that. It's not a celluloid ending. It's dark and cruel and if I'm to be utterly honest: I really appreciate it. Most of the novel definitely IS a darkly realistic trip into a moral trap, but it also satisfies all those revenge fantasy cravings, too. It's the very end that elevates this to a question of philosophy. And I loved it.
Well worth the read. Truly.
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