"In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization—the Regional Office—and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation.
At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.
Recruited by a defector from within, Rose is a young assassin leading the attack, eager to stretch into her powers and prove herself on her first mission. Defending the Regional Office is Sarah—who may or may not have a mechanical arm—fiercely devoted to the organization that took her in as a young woman in the wake of her mother’s sudden disappearance. On the day that the Regional Office is attacked, Rose’s and Sarah’s stories will overlap, their lives will collide, and the world as they know it just might end." - From Goodreads
I don't know what it was that attracted me, at first, about The Regional Office is Under Attack! By Manuel Gonzales. I was, at the time, trying to decide on a book for January that would fit our I've Got the Power theme, and knew (because, let's be real) that that theme would be taken very literally (unlike F of JAF's more symbolic pick, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, reviewed here).
The title definitely played a part, and the description (super powered female assassins + travel agency which is also secretly the headquarters of these femme fatales? count me in) was perfectly intriguing as well. But what really sealed the deal for me was a review on Goodreads which had a short but entertaining quiz to determine whether the book was right for a reader or not. Basically, if you loved Die Hard, this book was for you.
I, ladies and gentlemen, love Die Hard.
So this book and I = match made in heaven. Almost.
The Regional Office is Under Attack! is a very enjoyable, action-packed book. It alternates in perspective between Rose, a sassy teen aged assassin who is aiding in the attack of the Regional Office, and Sarah, the mechanical armed right hand (pun intended) woman who is defending the Regional Office. The novel is divided into "books" with each book ending with a chapter/interlude written like a research paper delving into the potential reasons behind the Regional Office's downfall.
The writing style/tone was (mostly) fun to me. There's a stream of consciousness feel to it, which I always enjoy as its quite realistic, especially in Rose's case (show me one teenager who has straightforward thoughts that don't jump from one thing to another), and you get to see what actually happens in the characters heads. But, adversely, it made the writing super wordy, coming off more convoluted than was intended and getting in the way of the actual plot.
The timeline of the story gets a bit confusing, as it switches between the present, as the attack is occurring, to the past, where you learn more about the events that led each of our main characters to the Regional Office, the people that shaped them, etc.
Rose and Sarah were both very fleshed out characters, driven by their own motivations to bring down or defend the Regional Office. But they're both (clearly) being used/manipulated by the people who's wing they were brought under in the first place. This fact became frustrating because we do not get enough or a lot background information, or anything really from the perspective of Oyemi or Mr. Niles or Henry (basically, the people pulling the strings on either end). There is a lot of speculation and a bit of detail given in the 'research paper' chapters, but even that is vague at best and not concrete.
I think, to a certain degree, Gonzales' decision to make these things vague and open-ended works well with the light/sarcastic tone and the subject matter at hand (the Regional Office is supposed to be secret, after all). But, as a naturally curious person, the more I think about the book the more the missing pieces bother me.
Overall, I do recommend The Regional Office is Under Attack! for anyone looking for an action-movie with awesome female leads in book form, if you don't mind a little roundabout writing and unanswered questions.
If anyone has read The Regional Office is Under Attack!, let us know what you think in the comments below! Comments also open to further book/movie/show recommendations, anything you’d like to see reviewed, or general feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!