Friday, February 10, 2017

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Release Date -  November 8, 2016
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 518 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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, Stephenie 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. 
when I heard that Stephenie Meyer was writing another adult novel I was immediately intrigued. I particularly enjoyed The Host and thought that she had written a rather good sci-fi novel. The Chemist is Stephenie's foray into writing a spy thriller. It's as addictive as you would expect, probably filled with more romance than you anticipate, and introduces to an intriguing woman in her main character.

Stephenie Meyer's writing has this addictive quality. It is compulsively readable and immediately pushes you into the story. The Chemist is no exception. Fans of her previous works will immediately recognize her trademark style and fall under this novel's spell. This element is, in part, what makes her books so popular. Her writing makes it impossible to not keep reading. It's a very commercial style of writing and that translates into a wider audience.

Alex goes by many names in this novel, but Alex is the one she uses the longest. She sheds names and disguises like a second skin and effortlessly molds into her new role. This character is unique for me because I haven't read a novel of this genre with a female lead. Alex has made me ache for more female centric spy stories. Alex has her own morality and she is not against inflicting pain on people she feels deserve it to get answers. She is also unafraid to kill someone if it means saving herself. I wish we had a little more time dissecting what makes her tick, but her character remained a mystery throughout most of the book.

Alex has a very specific skill set. She can bring even the largest men to their knees simply by injecting him with her carefully crafted creations. She may not be the strongest, or largest but she is smart. She holds her own not with strength but with her brains and the chemicals she uses to inflict pain and death. She's good at her job as someone who tortures people for intel simply because she can inflict pain with the push of the plunger on a syringe. She stays alive by outmaneuvering those who wish to harm her. It made her a little more relatable. She's not 'James Bond' or 'Black Widow' by any means, but she is believable as as 'spy' in her own right. It felt like Stephenie wanted to make her and her skills has realistic as possible. She may not be the best 'spy' and is even seen using other spy novels as research, but this felt true for who the character is.

As a spy thriller it sort of works. The element of what caused Alex to be on the run, and the life she lives now is the mystery that drives force the story. It is not, however, as action packed as some people would  hope. There are a few high octane scenes and a few genuine pulse pounding moments to be found, but this is mostly a character driven story, and a romance.

The romance is the highlight of this novel, which should come as no surprise to those familiar with Stephenie Meyer's work. I don't want to give too much away about the romance, but it really is a large part of Alex's story. Her letting people in again, and learning to trust is a large part of the journey she takes and I fell for the romance completely (even if the romantic interest was a little too perfect and too forgiving at times).

Those looking for a taunt spy thriller may be disappointed, but those looking for an action filled love story will be satisfied. Fans of Stephenie Meyer's previous works will fall under this book's spell and it will make them eager for her return to young adult literature. 

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