Overview: Stephanie Meyer’s latest novel, The Chemist, tells the tale of a young woman with many names—though we’ll use Alex to keep it simple here. She is an ex-super-secret-agent (and professional torturer) who ‘knew too much’ and became a liability in the eyes of her employers, forcing her to go on the run to survive.
When we meet Alex, she is constantly on the run and never uses the same name or stays in one place for long. When her former boss approaches her to offer a ticket out—one final case that, if completed, will clear her name for good—she knows it’s her only chance of survival; that is, if she can even trust the information she has been given.
The novel follows Alex’s impossible journey to beat the agency at their own game, exploring the advantages and pitfalls of her uniquely specialized skill set, and, along the way, meeting & falling for the man of her dreams.
Thoughts: Stephanie Meyer is really good at writing the same story over & over again: same characters, same struggles, with a slightly different twist. Someone is being hunted & running, another character is in need of protection, and **SPOLER ALERT** the two star-crossed-lovers overcome all odds to survive & live happily ever after together.
For all of you Twi-Hards that think I’m being overly critical, I’ve created a comparison chart to further exemplify this lack of variation. I'll bet you will be able to match each row with the respective book described EVEN IF you haven't read a single one of them!!
1. Twilight Saga
2. The Host
3. The Chemist
All jokes aside, it’s not just the lack of original content that causes problems in the novel:
Recommendation: Hard Pass. Say what you’d like about Ms. Meyer, but any writer with a series that achieves the fame and following of the Twilight Saga has my complete respect (except E.L. James, for obvious reasons). I was excited to see how Meyer would navigate her pivot from YA into adult-fiction: I wanted to like this book, and if I’m being honest, I was really trying to like this book…
But there is nothing to like.
The novel moves at a glacial speed, the character development is all over the place, and there is absolutely no romantic tension. The only saving grace is not making this a “choose-a-brother” love-triangle story, which I worried was happening, because then I’d have nothing nice to say about the book at all.
If you’re a huge Stephanie Meyer fan, don’t read this to save yourself the disappointment. If you’d like to try out one of her books, read The Host... or wait until she comes out with another one, that FINGERS CROSSED, will restore my faith in her writing capabilities again.