Book 57: The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales

A supernatural sci-fi feminist version of Die Hard populated by assassins, ninjas and killer robots and packed to the brim with Joss Whedon witticisms and pop culture riffs. What’s not to love?

The writing, sadly.

The Regional Office is a secret organisation of female assassins with mystical powers but, as you might have guessed, it’s under attack – assailant unknown but it’s probably an inside job.

The assault begins on the very first page, promising an action-packed rollicking read. But it’s not.

With his prose, Gonzales delivers a sort-of second-rate knock-off Whedon-lite style that amuses occasionally and grates regularly.

And the pacing is simply appalling. The narrative shifts perspective regularly and jumps back and forward in time with nearly every chapter, unnecessarily confusing what should be a straightforward adventure. Even worse is the action is interspersed every 50 pages or so with long, slow sections of expository information that have no place in what’s supposed to be a fast-paced thrill-ride.

Then it all just sort of peters out with a long and unnecessary epilogue that delivers a less-than-satisfying conclusion.

Worse still, Gonzales’ characters are cardboard cutouts. The perspective shifts between Rose and Sarah, one of whom is good and the other bad – but honestly, 24 hours out from finishing the book I can’t remember which was which. The good one has a mechanical arm and the bad one has a crush on a dodgy dude named Henry – and that’s about the extent of character development we get.

No good.




Author: adamgartrell

Political journalist drowning in books

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