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 realises 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 makes her situation even 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 specialised skill set. And she shows once again why she's one of the world's bestselling authors.
- ISBN10 1478918047
- ISBN13 9781478918042
- Publish Date 8 November 2016
- Publish Status Active
- Imprint Hachette Book Group
- Format Audiobook (MP3)
- Duration 17 hours and 2 minutes
- Language English
I also try to give books the benefit of the doubt and read several pages/chapters before I pass judgment. I'm going to
be honest here, I had a hard time reading this book. I like this genre and was excited to read something new from this author.
Sadly I felt like I was sludging through thick mud trying to get through the first slowly paced 100 pages. There were so many details page after page, that made it feel like I was reading a boring college textbook. There were many pages that needed a good editor with a red pen to slash the excess baggage that didn't contribute to the plot. Even after that, I never really got to the point where I cared about the characters, especially the main character Alex, which is a death sentence for me while reading a book. I've read every book Stephenie Meyer has written and I really loved The Host, so feeling this way about The Chemist was disappointing.
This book had so much potential but was wasted by flat cliched characters, unrealistic situations, a boring love story, and too many words; but...I liked the dogs. The dogs were good.
It’s been a couple of years since I read The Host and even more since I read the Twilight series, but I have overwhelmingly enjoyed Meyer’s writing ability in each experience. Liking and disliking Stephenie Meyer’s work seem to have become alternating trends since her literary debut, but I’ve always based my opinions on my own experiences with her writing. The fact of the matter is that she is 3 for 3 in my book.
The Chemist is the third of Meyer’s books that I have absolutely loved (counting the Twilight series as one). I could pick it apart, critiquing every detail, but that would ruin the experience for me. I rate and review stories primarily based on my level of enjoyment and I’m telling you, I devoured The Chemist.
Sure, there were things that bothered me here and there. Most notably, the romance, which felt severely undercooked and borderline insta-love. The character of Daniel grated on my nerves at times and I think the story would have been better served without him. But those things were heavily outweighed by the good in The Chemist.
The thing that struck my notice almost immediately was Meyer’s attention to detail. The images she painted were so painstakingly vivid that they felt almost tangible. I’m sure those lengthy descriptions were at least partially responsible for the 17 hour runtime, but they absolutely made this experience for me. Without them, the plot of The Chemist would have seemed a lot more outrageous and I probably would have been more reluctant to suspend my disbelief. A more hurried reader may begrudge said lengthy descriptions and feel that they bog down the story, but I savored them.
Besides, The Chemist wasn’t short on action. With a cerebral assassin-like protagonist, this story took a different approach to action scenes, but only slightly. Juliana/Alex was a new type of badass heroine and unlike any I have encountered thus far. Meyer really played up Alex’s unconventional strengths and I loved the message that brute force isn’t the only way to kick ass. As an animal lover, I also appreciated the inclusion of trained animal assassins. Einstein was freaking awesome.
If comparisons must be made (and you know they will be), The Chemist is better compared to The Host than the Twilight series. Meyer may have debuted as a Young Adult author, but she’s at her best when writing unrestrained Adult fiction. There was nothing explicitly “mature” about The Chemist, but it lacked the telltale YA-ness of Twilight. With that said, I urge you to approach The Chemist from a new perspective, free from any residual notions associated with the often polarizing Twilight series.
Narration review: True story, when I began listening to The Chemist, I actually checked my iPhone to make sure I wasn’t accidentally hearing a text-to-speech reading. That’s how much Ellen Archer sounded like my phone’s Siri voice. If you don’t believe me, listen to a sample. Archer narrated much of The Chemist in a detached, clinical voice that was extremely befitting of the story. It initially took some getting used to, but eventually had the intended effect of audibly setting the story’s atmosphere. Archer gave a magnificent performance, filled with precise characterization and inflection. Her delivery was most impressive. ♣︎
- The set-up: Dr. Juliana Fortis worked for a secret government agency doing enhanced interrogations until they decided she was a liability and tried to kill her. Her interrogations involved chemical formulas that inflicted torture without leaving a mark. She was one of the best and was utilized by several top branches of law enforcement within the United States. When we meet Juliana she has been on the run for over three years and has escaped death too many times to count. She is currently using the alias Alex and living entirely off the grid. When she goes through the crazy task of checking her email at a public library, she finds an email from a former co-worker. The agency needs her help stopping a terrorist threat in exchange for calling off the hunt. Alex's decision sets off a catalyst of events that will have you listening into the wee hours.
- The characters: Alex (Juliana) is methodical, brilliant and at times down right scary. I loved the steps she took from her appearance to boobie traps. Of course, all of this attention to detail makes Alex frightening at times. The tale is told in the third person a departure from Meyers first person narratives. Some readers complained that as Juliana repeatedly changed her name it confused them. While she was mostly Alex, she was also Chris and Casey. When she became them, the story would read Casey went through the door. Since I listened, I did not encounter this issue as the voice remained the same. Secondary characters from the handsome and soft-spoken love interest to one highly capable Navy Seal helped add substance and depth to this suspenseful thriller. The Navy Seal made me crack a smile more oft than not, even if he was totally alpha. I loved the banter between him and Alex. The three of them worked well together, and I liked the dynamic of their relationships. I have to mention the dogs, with their unique personalities and amazing skills. I love that Meyer gave them unique personalities and page time.
- The plot: I love conspiracies, assassination plots, secret branches of government and cloak and dagger tales. If you are a fan of thrillers with dark undertones, assassins, mercenaries and government conspiracies you'll enjoy this page-turning tale. Meyer's took her time in the first 200 pages to bring us into Alex's world and create believability. When Alex takes on this task, she does so to protect innocent lives, and I admired her for it. We get plenty of twists as Alex finds herself unwittingly partnered. Because of it, she ventures into unchartered territory. She goes from leading a solitary life to working with others and forming emotional attachments. Meyer's weaved in personal aspects that allowed the reader to catch their breath and experience the personal side of these characters.
- The romance: I was not expecting a romance in The Chemist and don't necessarily need one in this genre, but it worked for a couple of reasons. Alex is ruthless, and a mastermind at what she does. The romance shared her vulnerable side and allowed her to experience things you cannot learn in a textbook. The romantic interest is a good man, but we also got to see him exhibit some alpha tendencies that even shocked him. Is it instalove? Pfft, probably, but I can handle intense feelings given the situation.
- The narrator: A good narrator can add a level of enjoyment to a well-developed story and bring the characters and action to life. This was my first time listening to Ellen Archer, and I think she did an excellent job of portraying the characters, their personalities and setting the tone as scenes unfolded. By her inflection, I could tell Alex's state of mind, hear the snark and sense the growing tension.
audio provided by publisher. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer