The Chemist by Stephenie MeyerMy rating: 5 of 5 stars
My sister and I listened to this on Audiobook a few years back and I never got to write a review. So we started a re-listen together, but we never got to finish it because our schedules are not at all the same. I ended up finishing listening to it by myself. I loved this book. It was a huge departure from the Twilight series, which I also loved. It was a good idea for Meyer to go in a different direction with her writing, and I found it refreshing.
The Chemist was something completely unexpected. I didn't know much about the story, but I did want to read it because I do appreciate Meyer's writing. And this genre (thriller/suspense) is another area of reading that I highly enjoy. I also liked that the lead character who goes by Alex is a unique kind of character. She's lethal (and I mean literally), but not in the Black Widow kind of way. Her stock in trade is using chemistry to achieve certain goals, hence the name of the book. She's on the run, and the book goes into details about why, even though I won't in this review. But let's just say she got betrayed by her employer. She's been living by her wits for years now, and she's very good at keeping herself alive. When she gets contacted by her former employee, that's when everything changed.
Because I am a romantic at heart, I loved the romance that is part of the core of the book. I mean, it's not the point of the book. The book is about Alex's character arc, about her reclaiming her life and discovering the ability to love and to trust others. I don't think she had that before everything started, not really. Even so, the romance was sweet and very appealing to me. I liked that the romantic angle didn't compromise who Alex was or try to fit her into a specific role that we assume for women in our society, nor for the person she becomes involved with. Their individual curves and angles fit together very well.
While I think the action could have been better described, and even though there are some really edgy aspects to the story and content, Meyer shows a lot of restraint. I would like to see her push that and get more descriptive if she wants to lean into the thriller/suspense elements. I have to confess that I am hugely impacted by the fact that I have glommed the Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz and it's reset my standards for action/thriller stories. I know that not every author has the same way of writing and I respect that. I like that each writer is unique. I am very pleasantly surprised that Meyer choose to write this book and take a huge left turn from the Twilight series.
I think that she has something good here. That's the only reason why I would critique some of the thriller/suspense elements. I think that this genre really needs showing and immersing the reader in the action as it occurs.
I did feel that the use of pronouns was excessive (sentences tended to start with "she" way too much, a weird pet peeve I admit), and that made for a very clunky start to the book.
Despite that, I found The Chemist very well-written and compelling. I am glad that there are plans to make a tv show out of the book. I will watch the hell out of that show. I'm excited to see who the cast. Since Alex is described as having some Asianness to her features, I hope they cast an actress who is Asian or at least part Asian. I hope they don't change the romance, because it was a big appeal for me.
Notes on the Audiobook Narration: The narrator has a pleasant voice and she brings Alex and the other characters to life really well. I think she nails Alex and also does a great job with the male voices. I think she could be a little more dynamic, but I'm being nickpicky, to be honest.
The flaws withstanding, I loved this book so much, I have to give it five stars. Those who really don't like Stephenie Meyer won't like the book, so don't read it if you hate her or Twilight. If the story appeals to you as a thriller/suspense book, it's worth a try. Those who want more Twilight, this isn't it. It's something else and uniquely wonderful.
View all my reviews