Villain: A Novel (Paperback)

Villain: A Novel By Natalie Zina Walschots Cover Image

Villain: A Novel (Paperback)


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The Boys meets Starter Villain and Assistant to the Villain in Natalie Zina Walschots’s electrifying, sharp, violent, and hilarious sequel to the highly acclaimed novel, Hench, in which the Auditor must confront the near-impossible in order to right the many wrongs in the superhuman industry…or cause more of them. She’s not picky.

Anna, better known to superheroes as the Auditor, has carved out a name for herself. Any hero unlucky enough to cross her path knows her potential and powers. Surely, success should taste sweet: she has an incredible job with lots of perks, and her boss will literally annihilate anyone who crosses her, and her greatest enemy, the former hero Supercollider, has been utterly defeated and literally ground to a pulp.

But Anna still has her sights set on a greater work: destroying the Draft, the organization that makes, trains, and manages the world’s most powerful superheroes. These “heroes” have shown time and time again that they do more harm than good, and now is the time to stop the damage at its source.

Yet all is not well for the Auditor and her fellow evildoers. Her employer, Leviathan—the world’s most feared supervillain—is not coping well with Supercollider’s defeat at someone else’s hands. Moreover, her unlikely ally and unexpected friend, Quantum Entanglement, has vanished without a trace, leaving Anna to examine all the ways they deceived each other. Tension and uncertainty fill the air, and fear that this moment of triumph is about to crumble looms over all of them.

Anna soon finds herself facing down an opponent unlike any she’s taken on before—not another superhero, but someone like her…someone much more dangerous: the Draft’s Chief Marketing Officer. This isn’t a test of physical prowess, but ideas, and as the fight spirals deeper and deeper, with new foes popping up every day—she’ll need more than just her superpower—data research—to keep ascending through the supervillain ranks.

It’s guerrilla ad warfare, and the Auditor might have finally met her match.

Natalie Zina Walschots is a writer and game designer whose work includes LARP scripts, heavy metal music journalism, video game lore, weirder things classified as “interactive experiences,” and, unfortunately, experimental poetry. Her first novel, Hench, was a finalist on the 2021 season of Canada Reads and nominated for a Locus Award for Best First Novel. She plays a lot of RPGs, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies, and reads a lot of speculative fiction. She lives in Nova Scotia with her partner and two cats. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780063410572
Publisher: Harper Large Print
Publication Date: October 1st, 2024
Pages: 496
Language: English

“Witty and inventive . . . the pleasure of the novel is the slow rollout of the rules. Creating a universe involves inventing lots of little problems, and the solutions here don’t disappoint.” — New York Times on Hench

Hench is an engrossing take on the superheroic. It’s smart and imaginative; an exemplary rise-of-darkness story, one I won’t soon forget...I honestly can’t wait to see what Natalie Zina Walschots does next with the genre.” — NPR Books

“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) on Hench

“A fiendishly clever novel that fizzes with moxie and malice.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Hench

“In this refreshing, subversive, and darkly humorous debut novel, poet and journalist Walschots slowly reveals the nuances of her superpower-filled world, keeping readers guessing. Hench reads like a comic without the illustrations and is packed with subplots and rapid-fire wit. 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)