The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

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.

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

Book Review:

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 back for several pages for demonstrating all the cool devices her leading lady Juliana,…er ah Alex – whatever her name is, comes up with to safeguard herself against the unnamed government agency that is out to kill her.  Despite all the precautions of booby-trapped doors and poisoned jewelry, she forgot to fail-safe herself against her own stupidity.

Alex answers an email from her former employer; the one who is trying to kill her, and accepts a job without double-checking any of the information which of course leads to a case of mistaken identity.  Alex abducts the wrong person, a civilian named Daniel, which puts herself in the crosshairs of a new enemy; Kevin, Daniel’s black ops brother.

The proceeding romance is cliche and takes away from the espionage tactics that are 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 brothers, but none for falling for Alex.  Who is 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 Daniel’s hero worship for Alex, who kinda saved him (although it’s completely her fault he was even in danger) or the kindred spirit 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 the entire story. Undercutting the reasoning for the attraction 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.”  Creating 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 were too busy running for their lives.  Instead, the romance feels forced, ill-timed, 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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