The Regional Office Is Under Attack!: A Novel – Manuel Gonzales

The Regional Office was finely tuned, equipped with its own protocols and devices to root out forces of darkness—the evil undead, alien creatures threatening earthly annihilation, superpowered evil masterminds—as well as potential superpowered warrior women who would be trained (honed, you might say) to engage in this never-ending fight. But should you suspect that the crack den in your neighborhood was less a crack den and more a den of werewolves, or a nest of vampires, or that your child’s ninth-grade science teacher had more than the spring science fair on his agenda, had possibly developed (so you suspected) a chemical compound from which he hoped to extract world domination, or that your teenage daughter had grown into a young woman of potentially exceptional (and difficult) powers, the Regional Office was where you went.

The book starts well and then fizzles out. It’s like a teen drama written by teens for teens in a teen voice. I quickly had to stop for tea every few paragraphs while I waited for my nausea to drop down after every fifth sentence.

I’ll give you one example:

Finally, she gave that signal and the fucking mercs were off, pouring out of their vans like weaponized roaches, and then they were gone, and Colleen, jog-walking right behind the mercs as they charged into the offices of the Morrison World Travel Concern, patted Rose on her ass and gave her a peck on her cheek and told her, “Nice work, kid,” and then waved casually over her shoulder and called out, “See you on the other side” as she ran to catch up with the grunts, leaving Rose standing on the sidewalk feeling like she felt that one summer she agreed to help out with the pre-K kids at church camp, how relieved she’d felt every fucking day when it was recess and all those little shits had run screaming and hitting and shoving out of the multipurpose room and into the play yard and all she’d wanted to do was sit down and revel in the peace and quiet for one goddamn minute. She took a deep breath. She let it out. She wanted to take, like, five hundred more, but there wasn’t time. She had a suspicion today would be a day full of deep fucking breaths.

Can you spot the issue? Yep. Not enough sentences in that freaking paragraph. Profanity in chapter 3 is a no-no. This is not John Dies at the End by David Wong

I feel like this book could have easily been half as long if all of that annoying nonsense had been properly edited out. It distracted me from the plot, which I might have really enjoyed otherwise. In my opinion, that’s just poor writing.

It’s just a story about an organization with power being corrupted, then the people inside that organization who suddenly become personally affected by the corruption take issue with it and decide to destroy the whole organization. And both sides recruit some other people to do the dirty work of fighting the battle. And then those people are destroyed and angry and vengeful. Etc. etc. etc. I wanted to know more about the back story of what the Regional Office actually was. What the hell actually happened to Oyemi that gave her powers? What could she do with those powers? What specific threat was she aware of that made her want to start the regional office? What kind of missions did the various operatives go on? All of those fascinating potential treasure troves of plot are unexplored.

I hated this book. I think my problem was the writing. There were too many characters, too many storylines, and too many timelines that jumped around far too often.

Would not recommend.

PS: Here’s one more example of why I DNF.

Three hours later, her apartment was a shambles, or not a shambles, really, as the word itself— shambles —implies something with more charm and less total destruction to it. So let’s say more than a shambles but shy of totally wrecked. And so: Her apartment was just shy of total wreckage. It’s fair to say what she found in that envelope had made her upset, or rather, it’s fair to say that upset was a far piece from what she was. Angry, let’s say. Infuriated. That, too. But also clarified. What she had found in that envelope had given her a clear path forward. A sense of what she needed to do next. She picked up what was left of the file, stepped gingerly through and around the rubble of what was left of her apartment. She sighed. She grabbed her keys and her security badge. She grabbed her shoulder bag, turned, and looked one more time at the wreck of her apartment—the eat-in kitchen’s table broken into thirds; the dishes smashed across the floor; the pillows and cushions torn, their batting ripped out—looked for perhaps the last time, and then stepped into the hallway.

%d bloggers like this: