The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Published by Little, Brown and Company on November 8, 2016
Genre(s): fiction, action, romance, thriller
Format & Length: hardcover, 521
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In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.
Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.
In this tautly plotted novel, Stephenie Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.
The Chemist was gifted to me by a friend after I told her that I’d read the Twilight Saga and wound up enjoying it more than I expected to. Since I’ve liked Meyer’s storytelling in the past and this seemed to be more in my wheelhouse, as I read more spy/action stories than paranormal, this appeared to be a good pick for me. While I did ultimately end up liking this, I did have some issues. Let’s just dig in.
The premise of The Chemist is interesting – a woman who used to work for the US government with a very specific skill set is on the run and fighting to stay alive. And it begins in an intriguing fashion, slowly creating a picture of what is going on, adding in layers and details to help you form a more complete image. It’s not the kind of book that hooks you from the first sentence; it’s more of a slow burn start that made me curious to know more.
But what started out strong in the action genre eventually petered into corny romance. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against romance in general, but here, it changed the main character too much too quickly. I wouldn’t exactly call it instalove, but it was too close to it for my taste. This middle section of the book was also way more drawn out than it needed to be, and if this had been something I’d borrowed from the library, I would have considered stopping right there. As it was a gift, I powered through. In the end, I’m glad I did. After the brief way too long interlude, it wound up combining the romance with the action quite nicely to a satisfying end.
As expected, Meyer’s storytelling didn’t disappoint. I saw references to Jason Bourne and Stephanie Plum, but she combined them in a way to make it her own. Her writing of male characters does leave a bit to be desired, though. They felt like they were written by a woman, with speech patterns and behaviors that were too feminine. And although marketed as more of an adult novel, this did read more like a young adult to me.
Overall, despite my few complaints I did enjoy The Chemist. I think female readers who like young adult books and are looking for some action or intrigue mixed in with romance will enjoy this as well.