Book Review

How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee: a Guest Review by CarrieS


Title: How to Date a Henchman
Author: Mari Fee
Publication Info: Carina Press 2012
ISBN: 978-14268-9431-2
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

How to Date a Henchman: a dude is carrying a chick in a white dress or slip against a bright yellow starburst background. I like the art because the woman is not stick thin! How to Date a Henchman is short and blissfully fluffy, but it is also quite original.  Many, many points to author Mari Fee for finding an original take on telling a superhero story.

The book was funny as heck.  There's no sex and no major resolution to the romance – this is a book about a first date, not a full-scale romance.  But it does its job of telling a first date superhero story superbly and is fun and interesting and left me wanting to read about the further adventures of Burke and Gina.

Gina is a bored receptionist for EnClo Corporation.  She keeps a toy Alien Queen in her inbox and plays scrabble at work all day (“The little plastic Alien Queen seemed to give her a reproachful look for her laziness.  Apparently gestating hundreds of acidic babies makes alien queens judgmental”).  All that changes when Burke (GET IT?  BURKE?  HEE HEE) shows up with his mysterious boss, Mr. Sparks.  Is Mr. Sparks more than he seems?  Will we ever learn the secret behind EnClo?  Will Gina ever, ever get a raise?  All these questions and more are answered in the course of Gina and Burke's first mayhem filled date.

This book explores some of the same themes as the movie Megamind and the darker novel Soon I Will Be Invincible, but by focusing on the role of the henchman, the story stays fresh.  Things stay light and funny throughout even as the questions they raise are intelligent and interesting.   If you ever wanted to know why someone would want to be a henchman, or how to apply for the job, this is your chance to find out.

If I must quibble, I'd say first of all that the story ends quickly and is more like the pilot to an awesome TV show than a full romance novel.  I don't want the actual novella to be longer.  It's just right.  What I need is another installment.  In fact, I need it to be a TV show, especially since I've watched all the episodes of The Tick on DVD and there is a void in my life that even Community cannot fill.  Really, this is a sitcom that must happen.  Don't make me beg. 

Secondly, even though the henchman thing was original the story itself was very predictable. 

Final quibble:  at times Gina was way too stupid to live, but once she adjusted to her new circumstances she became quite the badass, which gives me another reason to want to read the next installment.

In short, you can read this book in roughly the same amount of time it takes to drink a frappachino and both experiences are similarly enjoyable.  I'll always be grateful for certain lines of dialogue:

“Listen to reason?  By definition, Static is unreasonable.  He's an evil supervillain”, Gina said flatly.  “He stole all the quarters in three states to protest, and I quote, 'the dictatorship of parking meters.'”

Burke shrugged.  “Static used to smoke a lot of pot…”


Thanks Mari Fee, now get going on the series.  How about a web series?  Pleeeeease?  See, now I'm begging.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kristy says:

    This sounds fun!

  2. 2
    LG says:

    This is so going on my wishlist. If it’s as much fun as it sounds like it is, then I’m already disappointed there isn’t another installment.

  3. 3

    I do not get why Burke is funny. Please to explain to the humour impaired.

  4. 4
    CarrieS says:

    @Jacquilynne – Burke is the name of a character in the movie “Aliens”.

  5. 5
    JW Ashley says:

    This was a fun review to read. I haven’t read the book… though I might now. Seriously. You’re review is $#%&ing awesome. (You should know I don’t use superlatives as a rule.)  And I’m thinking I will enjoy this novella on Saturday with a Frappaccino!

  6. 6
    Jody Wallace says:

    Thanks for the head’s up :). My kind of book!

  7. 7
    katherinelynn_04 says:

    This sounds fun! I can’t help you with book recommendations but I CAN point you towards a show that is pretty awesome. It ran for about a season in 2008 on ABCfam and it’s called the Middle Man. If you like the Tick you’ll enjoy it.

  8. 8
    Allison P. says:

    I still have no idea what this book is about, or even have a good handle on the genre.  I do know CarrieS enjoyed it.  Is this sci-fi?  Sit-com alternate universe?  What happens other than the H/h have a date?  Any kind of basic premise that can be commented upon?

  9. 9
    Mochabean1 says:

    I too have a Tick shaped void in my heart that has yet to be filled, so I may give this a try. 

  10. 10
    CarrieS says:

    @Allison p.  It’s a contemporary superhero romance.  So it has some futuristic elements but is basically set in the here and now but with superheros.  Its about a romance between a secretary and a henchman of a supervillain.  They go on a date that is interrupted by super shenanagins and have to save the world. 

  11. 11
    cate says:

    I thought you were going to say that Gina’s surname was Hare – ! Oh well…..I’ve bought it & so far so rib tickling – As for Middleman – thank goodness for DVD’s . It was criminally cancelled far too soon, & never made it to UK tv, but the geek buzz was enough to get me to buy it – & it’s fab.

  12. 12
    appomattoxco says:

    I didn’t neeed to get past the grade and title to buy. I blame Dr Horrible.

  13. 13

    Everything is more interesting on the villainous side of things, because they’re not bound by traditional morality. Maybe that’s why I love heist movies and Megamind so much. This one is going on my TBR pile for sure.

    Also, re: the tyranny of parking meters, I was never so delighted as the day my city installed card-reading meters. Seriously, who ever, EVER has change? I have to buy quarters just to wash laundry!

  14. 14
    mamselli says:

    Seconding or thirding the The Middleman rec. So, so wonderful!

  15. 15
    Willaful says:

    Was also just about to recommend The Middleman.

  16. 16

    Downloaded! This sounds like my kind of book.

  17. 17
    Amy Raby (Alpha Lyra) says:

    Sounds interesting. I love how e-publishing has opened up the market for books like this.

  18. 18
    CarrieS says:

    Middleman on the way from netflix – I blame the bitchery for the plummet in my productivity once it gets here :)

  19. 19
    Christina Auret says:

    I bought this based on your recommendation and you are so right, this just has to be a series. It is so, so very good. It also has the potential of being so, so very addictive.

  20. 20
    Bharati says:

    I knew this would be good just from hearing about the set-up. Why have we never explored the romantic prospects of villainous sidekicks? This sounds like gold, especially for someone like me: comic book nerd who mourns the shallowness of most comics.

  21. 21
    Kisah Meyer says:

    am i the only one who thought of burke devlin when burke was mentioned?

    from dark shadows?

    *crickets chirping*

    never mind…..

  22. 22
    Jimthered says:

    Neat!  The only real exploration I’ve seen of the henchman was Nodwick (, but that was a medieval henchman who had no romance but was always stuck carrying everything and frequently got used to set off traps and lure monsters by the other party members (after which the Cleric would put him back together with duct tape).

  23. 23

    Thanks for this review. I found the premise intriguing and have the novel on my “maybe” list, now I think I’ll buy it.

  24. 24
    Vasha says:

    The webcomic Sidekick Girl involves dating a henchman (as well as getting meta about the role of sidekicks); I haven’t read it in a while (not the author’s fault, just me impatient about the slow pace of webcomics in general), but it was pretty amusing and interesting back then.

  25. 25
    Pointyears42 says:

    Light and fluffy as promised but VERY entertaining. Most of the flaws come down to the novella just being too short to explore anything in detail – Gina has only just getting past her initial ditzy-ness by the end and its easy to see how much of a corporate kick-ass heroine she could have been if the book had a dozen more chapters. (Bonus points for referencing female sci-fi-action movie characters).

  26. 26
    Cammy6 says:

    I just finished it.  I quite liked it.  My favorite line:

    Burke shrugged.  “Static used to smoke a lot of pot…”

    I adore The Tick-the comic books, cartoon and the tv show so this was perfect fluff reading for me.  The end of the book promises more in 2013, I think?

  27. 27
    Kelita05 says:

    I’m not a comic book fan but I really enjoyed this.  Wish it’d been longer. It was essentially a novella about a first date with a henchman (which, frankly, took a moment to wrap my head around).  I would love to read further installments to see how this relationship unfolds.

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