Full disclaimer: I loved The Host and Twilight for what they were in their own times. So when The Chemist came out of left field, I was both ecstatic and nervous.
I'm happy to report The Chemist exceeded my expectations. Yes, there is a romance (which definitely falls in the insta-love) but the relationship is a small piece of the overall story that isn't the main focus for most of the book.
The Chemist is the love child created from the union of my romantic sensibilities and my obsession with Jason Bourne/Aaron Cross. I very much enjoyed spending time with a different kind of action hero, one whose primary weapon isn’t a gun or a knife or bulging muscles, but rather her brain.Alex, a government chemist hired as an interrogator because of her ability to use her knowledge of the human body to pump others for info, is now on the run since, you know, the government doesn't like liabilities Alex is smart, relatable, and a character you'll be rooting for as the bad guys hunt her down. Stephenie did an excellent job of creating a character who clearly knows her stuff, down to describing specific procedures so vividly I could picture them in my mind. The story, and Alex, felt very calculated and was paced in a way that frequently had my heart racing.
Supporting Alex's story are brother Daniel, the teacher she kidnaps as one last mission, his twin brother, a handler who's come to kill Alex, as well as top dog, Carston, who is chasing her through the book. At the end of the book, you get a decent look at who Carston really is, including a satisfying ending for all.
The Chemist is so entirely believable that you'll wonder what Stephenie's research process was like. Did she have someone on the inside? Or maybe she is a former chemist herself. Hmm...
You can catch an excerpt here, if you're curious!
by Stephenie Meyer
Published: November 8th 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co.
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 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.