The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
The premise of The Regional Office is Under Attack! is very exciting: a secret underground organization of badass warrior women who save the world, is under attack. It’s Die Hard with cyborgs and angsty teenager girls, with Oracles in turtle bathtubs and orange macbooks; what’s not to like? Or so I thought.
It starts out well enough; one of the assassins, Rose, is counting down the minutes until she can give the infiltration signal, before she can descend the mile underground to the Regional Office under stealth, before things go wrong.
But soon enough, the story gets lost in the spiraling backstories of characters I can’t find myself liking and the confusing narration, and it loses that initial spark.
The story follows two main characters: Sarah, the Director’s right hand, who has a mechanical arm and a broken past; and Rose, the newest and youngest recruit, but who is also rash and angry and doesn’t quite fit in.
Alongside them are a handful of other secondary character that are perhaps more important to the plot than the two main protagonists are: Henry, the Recruiter on whom Rose has a crush, and who is perhaps behind this attack; and Mr. Niles, who, along with Oyemi, created the Regional Office and broke Sarah’s life. The men are the ones pulling the strings, despite the womens’ best efforts.
The story is told in sections based on each of the female characters, with chapters flip flopping between the past and present; in between these character sections are dissertation accounts on the Regional Office and it’s history and what could have happened to it. Much of it is speculation, but it does add backstory to the Regional Office and offers an outsider viewpoint on what happened.
Basically, this story is weird. I appreciate the tongue in cheek narrative about heroes and hero plots, but I had a really hard time getting through this. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters, and had a hard time getting past the writing style (there’s a lot of “I could have done this, then I would’ve done this, and watch this… except I didn’t do any of it”) and a lot of it is left up to the reader’s interpretation of events.
I thought the premise was cool, but didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I wanted to.