The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

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.                                                   — Little, Brown and Company; 2016


Despite not caring for the Twilight series, that Meyer is most famously known for, I did overall enjoy The Host, which prompted me to give The Chemist a chance.

The book starts off slow as Meyer pats herself on the pat for several pages to tell you of all the cool devices her leading lady Juliana,…er ah Alex  – whatever her name is, comes up with to safe guard herself against the unnamed government agency that is out to finish the job of killing her.  Despite all the precautions of booby trapped doors and poisoned jewelry, she forgot to fail safe herself against her own stupidity.  

Answering an email from her former employer; the one who is trying to kill her, taking a job from them without double checking any of the information and of course falls into a case of mistaken identity.  Abducting the wrong person; the civilian Daniel, and putting herself in the cross hairs of a new enemy; Kevin, Daniel’s black ops brother.

The proceeding romance is cliche and takes away from the chemistry and espionage that is actually interesting. Meyer does a great job of showing distinct personalities between the two brothers. The good-natured, warm and naive Daniel and the strong, capable and brutish Kevin.  I can see a case for falling for either one of the borthers, but none for falling for Alex.  Another conventionally unattractive woman who; by her own accounts, has no social skills.  Well at least she’s smart …when it comes to chemical compounds that is.

Meyer could have played on a sense of hero worship for Daniel, who she kinda saves (although it’s completely her fault he was even in danger) or kindred spirits with Kevin, since they both are from the same underground government agency world, but nope. “I like your face” is the only reason stated for the instant attraction/bond/love towards Alex.  Which is flimsy enough as is, but even more baffling since Alex’s face is black and blue from a fight for the entire story. Undercutting the single stated the reason for liking her right from the start.

A romance would have worked better if it was something unspoken or played up as a joke like; “Hey if we get out of this alive I’ll take you on that date.” To create a sense of tension and longing, to make readers desperate for everyone to get out alive, so they can live out that romance that they never acted on because they we too busy running for their lives.  Instead it feels forced and  inappropriate and takes away from the sense of danger and action that what was actually working for the story.   (Low)Borrow It

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