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, 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.
Hmm. Now, where do I start from? I should probably start with the fact that Stephenie Meyer wrote a thriller! That’s one way of breaking out of the Twilight mold.
The Chemist was a book I was eager to start because I wanted to see if Meyer’s writing had evolved and if she could actually prove herself to be capable of writing more than just fantasy and romance.
The book is about Juliana Fortis, basically, a Chemist who used to work for the government as an interrogator and in the research section. Her job, as you can decipher from what she says, is one where she has to inject chemicals into the suspect’s body and torture without causing physical marks until they confess their crimes. Not your ideal dream job, but she was pulled immediately out of college once the government learned her prowess and capabilities. The job has its own perks such as a huge salary and access to kick-ass equipment. These perks are balanced out by the fact that you will be killed if the government wants you dead (for reasons I couldn’t understand).
Juliana is on the run after her fellow-scientist, Barnaby was killed. She keeps yapping about how Barnaby knew he was going to die and kept educating her with secrets to run away and survive. The first quarter of the book basically just talks about how Juliana keeps changing her identity and her skills of survival. Suffice to say I wasn’t very impressed with the protagonist or Stephenie’s writing. Stephenie has his habit of describing the most useless things to the finest detail and just flitting over things that actually matter. Thanks to this, I really couldn’t understand most of the action scenes or the scenes where the actual plot comes into the picture. I had to reread them several times to understand what was going on.
After a couple of months/weeks of running, a fellow colleague, Carston contacts her, promising freedom in an exchange for one final assignment. She has to interrogate Daniel Beach, a History/English teacher who has mysterious financial records and is suspected of working with de la Fuentes, a drug-lord. Our smart-ass Mary Sue who cannot stop whining about her tiny frame and plain boyish looks manages to catch hold of Daniel and tortures him with her chemical-filled syringes only to find that she is torturing the wrong person. Daniel Beach has a badass twin called Kevin who’s behind the whole drug thingie, but he’s a good guy working for the CIA.
After this point, the book started moving really slowly with Kevin, Daniel, and Juliana (with her current name, Alex) running around and ending up at Kevin’s safe house where he breeds and trains dogs.
I really had to push myself to read the book after this point. The book had so many parallels to Twilight with respect to the protagonists. Daniel was that irritating and unrealistic sweet guy who falls in love with Juliana even though she had tortured him and cannot seem to stay out of trouble. He loves “Alex” and follows her around like a puppy even after she warns him that she is trouble. He is dumb and stupid and finds the most number of creative ways to get them killed (even more than Bella!).
Like I said, their romance and PDA are dragged and explained to every excruciating detail and the parts where the plot falls into place are rushed.
“…This experience didn’t fit into the same category on any level. It was less an event and more an ongoing exploration of each other, a satisfaction of curiosity, a fascination over each little detail discovered. It wasn’t about gratification, but there was no need that wasn’t met, whether it was physical or something less definable.
She searched for the right word as they lay kissing quietly, patiently now, with the light turning red around the edges…”
This continues for about two chapters where our poor, inexperienced Alex gets kissed by the hot, sweet guy who loves her for what she is.
The book was frankly a drag and it is a feat I actually managed to finish it. The book would’ve been better if it were a little shorter (it was too damn long for the idea behind the plot), the ACTION more descriptive and the romance between Alex and Daniel more believable.
I loved Kevin and his dog, Einstein. Cool name for a dog, actually. As a final note, I notice that Stephenie still loves the words “conspicuous”, “inconspicuous” and “ostentatious”. It’s an understatement to say that these words were overused throughout the book.
Have you guys read the book? What do you feel about it?