There are still many mysteries about who is really responsible for the events of The Regional Office is Under Attack!, by Manuel Gonzales. It is probably the Operative and the Recruiter who were crossed in love. But it might also be the kidnapped Oracle. There are interstitial excerpts from a book about the attack that give us background on the Regional Office and the aftermath of the attack. The novel itself gives us a ground-eye view of what happened the day the Regional Office was decimated. We follow Sarah O’Hara, the woman with the mechanical arm and a hybrid role in the organization, and Rose, a trainee Operative, who has been given a leading part in the attack. The Regional Office is Under Attack! is full of gripping fight scenes, tense stand offs, and some very interesting questions about the ripple effects of revenge.
The novel is written in contrasting chapters about Sarah and Rose, with plenty of flashbacks to show us how Sarah and Rose came to be at the Regional Office on the day of the attack. The Regional Office, on the surface, is a travel agency for the ultra-wealthy. This is a cover for its real purpose: training young women with special abilities to fight the forces of darkness, following the sometimes cryptic guidance of a trio of Oracles. Throughout the book, there are hints about the exploits of previous Operatives—which makes me wish there were more books about the Regional Office that I could read.
Sarah is the second-in-command in the Office, the righthand woman to the director. She has worked for the Office ever since they helped her track down the people who killed her mother. On the other side, we watch Rose as she follows the orders she was given by her recruiter and, maybe, his lover; she has been told they they were betrayed by the Office. The interstitial sections reveal that neither Sarah or Rose has a full picture about what the Regional Office is and how it got started.
It all comes down to revenge and lies, I think. Revenge never ends in The Regional Office is Under Attack! Whoever survives lives to go after the people they think wronged them. Then the friends or family of the killed go after the revenger. It never ends. A wiser person might advise these revengers to seek legal help or just let things go. But the potential revengers here are highly trained, super-powered women in a world of encroaching darkness working for a shadowy organization, who feel more than justified in taking out people who’ve wronged them.
The action-packed scenes in this book are a great vehicle to carry a larger story about the perils of revenge, with some great character development that had me worrying about people on both sides of the attack. I had a great time reading The Regional Office is Under Attack!