Title: The Regional Office Is Under Attack
Plot Type: Sci Fi superhero tale with elements of pathos and humor
Ratings: Violence—4; Sensuality—2; Humor—3
The novel is divided into four "books" of short chapters, moving back and forth in time from the perspective of Rose and Sarah.
>> Book 1 begins, naturally enough, with the actual attack on the Regional Office. The first half follows Rose's efforts to infiltrate the building, and the second half concentrates on Sarah's discovery of the attack and her subsequent defensive actions. Each chapter about the present is followed by a chapter flashing back to relevant experiences from each woman's past. Rose is a "headfirst, why-the-hell-not kind of girl" who is easily bored by anything but direct action. She constantly pictures herself as a character in a movie (e.g., The Karate Kid, The Parent Trap). Sarah, on the other hand, is a thinker and a planner who ponders "everything, the possibilities, the action and reaction, the cause and effect, the consequences of therefore and but."
>> Book 2 stays with Rose, continuing to follow her in the present and flashing back to her early days at "Assassin Training Camp," as she calls it.
>> Book 3 switches to Sarah with the same present-to-past narration pattern.
>> Book 4 follows Sarah in the days and weeks following the battle and then jumps ten years into the future to bring us up to date on both Rose and Sarah.The narrative is regularly interrupted by excerpts from an invented scholarly dissertation entitled "From The Regional Office Is Under Attack: Tracking the Rise and Fall of an American Institution." These excerpts attempt to fill in the history of The Regional Office and provide background on the masterminds behind the scenes: Oyemi and Mr. Niles—friends from childhood. Neither name is real, and their real names are never given because that information is irrelevant for Gonzales's purposes. Oyemi has unspecified supernatural powers as the result of being irradiated in some type of incident that occurred as she was returning from an errand at Ikea. Oyemi has recruited (i.e., kidnapped) several women and turned them into oracles (like the Precogs in Stephen Spielberg's Minority Report). When the Oracles notify Oyemi of dangerous enemies on Earth or in other realms, Mr. Niles sends out his operatives—a Charlie's Angels crew of well-trained young women with superpowers—to take down Big Bads with names like Mud Slug. We don't get Mud Slug's story because, once again, that information is irrelevant. Just go with the flow of this terrific book. I promise that you won't even miss the absent details.