3.5 stars out of 5
Stephanie Meyer is best known for her twilight books, and while I enjoyed reading those, her other books are unique gems. The Chemist is one that follows a protagonist who goes by many names. “Alex” is on the run from a government agency seeking her death. Unlikely allies strive to survive and free themselves creating a spy/mystery/action novel with quite a bit of romance.
Getting the Ball Rolling
The story starts pretty slow. Meyer spends a long time explaining the protagonist’s weapons, backstory, and overthought reasonings. In hindsight, I believe she is trying to show just how drastically Alex changes over the course of the book. She goes from being overly cautious with a myriad of names to jumping into scenes on the fly while sticking with a single name. Meyer is showing us how much love and concern can change a person, but it is hard to get through those first few chapters. I kept reading because I trust Meyer’s works.
And while Alex did get easier to read, the story still felt a bit overly explained at times. And other times it was overly dramatic letting Alex monologue on all her fears and doubts. That type of writing targets younger audiences which Meyer is good at. But it seemed kind of odd considering this was a fairly dark novel full of guns, death, and torturers. It just goes to show how society’s norms are changing.
A Mundane Love
I wasn’t in love with the romance in the book either. Alex is a scientist who has learned to live in a harsh world and be a bit harsh herself. When she stumbles across an ordinary guy who decides he is infatuated with her (despite how much she hurts him), he changes her heart.
It’s not that I don’t think he could change her, or that they aren’t good together, but Daniel is a teddy bear. Even when they put guns in his hands he is the kindest individual ever and he just doesn’t seem real. I know romantic novels are supposed to be a bit unrealistic, but Daniel did not feel like a part of the story at all. Nothing seemed to phase him as much as it should have. Torture? All is forgiven. Abandoning his normal life? That sucks. First time murdering? Just need to sleep on it. Kidnap a baby? How can I help. Dating a mental person? Easy peasy. I feel like Daniel should have a lot more traumatic injuries than he shows.
Perhaps I don’t approve because I like the tougher guys in novels. They read as the safer choice and are more understanding because they have been through it too. In The Hunger Games, I was on Team Gale. Gale and Katniss even had a long-standing friendship already. Perhaps these heroines like the feeling of responsibility of protecting their loved ones. Or perhaps one truly can’t change who they fall in love with.
Nitty Gritty Details
Returning to the big picture, I liked the plot overall. It was a good spy novel showing the darker side of government agencies. Alex was a heroine of intelligence who outsmarted them. She was traumatized, but love softened her heart. There was plenty of action, mystery, and romance. I just wish it was written a tad differently.
If you want to take a stab at this book, don’t let me stop you. Especially if you were Team Peeta. You can find The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer on Amazon and most other book stores. Happy readings with whatever you choose.