REVIEW: The Regional Office is Under Attack!

regional_officeThe Regional Office is Under Attack! | Manuel Gonzales

417 Pages | Publisher: Riverhead Books (April 12, 2016)

Amazon | Audible | Penguin Random House


SYNOPSIS

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.

Weaving in a brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage crushes, and kinetic fight scenes, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! is a seismically entertaining debut novel about revenge and allegiance and love.


REVIEW

I have mixed feelings about this book. It definitely put me in a reading slump, but I was determined to finish it. And I did, albeit very slowly. (Normally it does not take me three weeks to finish two books.)

I had high expectations for this book, so I’m a tad bit sad that it didn’t rise to the occasion. The premise is engaging and awesome! Who doesn’t love the thought of highly trained female assassins whose office is under attack? The idea of such a book is an amazing one. The reality of this book is a bit less than desired.

Let’s break this down: First, the style of writing was an adjustment for me. The sentences were long, unwieldy, and tended to change thoughts erratically. The result was unsettling, which caused issues when I tried to focus on the characters and plot.

Second, the pace was incredibly slow. Yes, there was the possibility to glean bits of information everywhere, but little of it was useful. I learned about the characters, but I didn’t feel any closeness to them because of it. And I love feeling connected to fictional characters. It’s one of my favorite things about reading. I want to feel invested in their lives and stories, and I desperately want to route for them and hate whoever they’re against. Sadly, I didn’t make that connection with any of these characters. It would have been so interesting too! You read the perspectives of characters on both sides. Talk about conflicted interests…

I finished the book because I promised myself I would. I wanted the book to end (so I could start my next read) more than I wanted a resolution for the characters.

With that being said, the characters were still interesting. I know, I know that statement probably doesn’t make sense after reading the above rant. However, if you look at my rating breakdown below, the character category earned the highest score. Though I wasn’t invested in their arc, the characters were still well written, because they were delightfully broken. The screwy characters are one thing I do love about this book.

Finally, there’s a thing that I kinda hate and almost love at the same time. The synopsis above says this is a novel about revenge, allegiance, and love, which it is; however, it’s also about the theoretical perspective of each. This novel had an interesting way of presenting how things how things could have happened. At times, this was strange and perturbing, but other times was interesting to have the novel itself mention, “Hey, this could have gone another way.” So, I kinda liked it, kinda didn’t.

And that’s how I think other readers will react to this novel: Some will love it, others will hate it. And a very few (myself included) will be stuck halfway between the two.

Would I recommend this? Maybe… If I found a reader that I thought would love it. To the masses? Definitely not.

If you have questions about the novel, let me know in the comments! 


CATEGORY RATING | On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being exceptional.

Quality of Writing: 7

Pace: 5

Plot development: 7

Characters: 8

Enjoyability: 7

Insightfulness: 5

Ease of Reading: 5

Photos/Illustrations: N/A

Category Average: 6 | Overall Rating: 3/5 star