Stephenie Meyer's First Book in Years Was a Mixed Bag (Review: The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer)

7:00 AM

So many mixed feelings about The Chemist. Ah. How did Stephenie Meyer's 2016 release hold up?


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.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

My experiences with Stephenie Meyer's books have always been a mixed bag. I loved Twilight (the first three books, anyways) when I was in high school. The Host wasn't my cup of tea back then but now, I do find I actually love that novel a lot. When I read the synopsis for The Chemist, I had more mixed feelings. I didn't feel a desire to read it straightaway, which is why it's taken me nearly a few years to actually get around to reading it.

With her successful prose of The Host, her only other adult fiction release, I had pretty high hopes for The Chemist. It sounded much more gritty and mature than Twilight and The Host, and this is what sold me on picking it up.

My initial interest in the novel was that it had a distinct The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen vibe to it. If you watch either, you'll know what plotline the book is mildly reminiscent of. Not fully, but it felt like it could have popped off from the same genre. So, I finally convinced myself to check it out from the library back in January. The bad news is I had to renew, return and check it out multiple times before actually finishing it.

At its core, The Chemist has this classic conspiracy theory tone. It is what drew me into it. The issue of it is the execution. Meyer has a lot of plotlines tangling into one another throughout The Chemist but at times it feels like there is this dragging quality to it that makes my mind wander elsewhere. I think we were thrown a lot of information but it was so bleak and underdeveloped at times, that it just left me feeling underwhelmed.

There are a lot of overused tropes within The Chemist, as well, which made the plot familiar and tried. I wasn't surprised by one specific plot twist, for example, and the build up of the novel was just... not it? Arguably, the writing quality of it is a vast improvement on Meyer's prose.

There's a smoothness to it that we witnessed in The Host, that Twilight lacked, and you can tell she did a lot of research to craft The Chemist. As I've said, there's a grittiness to The Chemist that her prior books hadn't yet accomplished, and that is always a plus.While the central storyline didn't end up being my cup of tea, I can honestly say The Chemist wasn't awful--it just wasn't for me.

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