“Chemist” by Stephanie Meyer


artemisiconToday is an odd day, as far as blog days go – two bad reviews! I try not to be fake on this blog, if I like something, I’ll say it and if I don’t like it …well, I’ll say that too.

I tried to give this book a chance, it was another one that was lent to me (thrown on the pile more-or-less) and I was told that it’s nothing like her other books. Well, that’s only kind of true.

Bland main character; check. Boring and unrealistic love interest; check. Convoluted plot; check.

I try to be fair and even if I detest the book I look for something good about it. Stephanie Meyer is not a BAD writer, I even found that with twilight, she can write. And in this book there was no excessive use of adjectives, and no comparisons to Greek Gods. So, that was a plus in my books. Also, there was no girl-hate or slut-shaming. Even when it would have even easy and seen as the ‘norm’ to do one of the two, her main character did not. Super-models can be smart, and there was no need to judge a high-class prostitute who was giving up her life to save the main protagonists. So, that really elevated the book in my mind, there is so much girl-hate in books (especially books written by women) that it’s shocking to find one that doesn’t. And that’s a sad state of affairs.

Sadly, that’s about where my ‘good’ points end. I tried, believe me, I tried.

I do feel like an ass when I hate a book, especially when I have to write something unflattering, but dear god this book was bad. The main character (who’s name we don’t even learn for like 4 chapters) is bland and monotone, and the ‘virgin’ trope was nearly beaten to death through the whole thing. She didn’t care about her looks, only cared about science, didn’t understand human emotions, ad nauseum. I get it, she’s boring. She literally never reacted to anything. I get she was trying to make her character clinical and detached, but it just made me not care what happened to her.

She (who is known as Alex through the majority of the book – even though we know her real name we have to keep associating her with her aliases, it seemed kind of useless) is a Black Ops type Government spook who deals with torturing terrorists (I am still not completely clear on what she did, you don’t start learning about who she is and what she did until about 100 pages in) and because she learns something secret, her and her entire department are wiped out. She has been on the run for years to avoid getting assassinated. This whole thing already sounded unrealistic. A Government official would hire mobsters and Joe-Blow to assassinate her to keep it quiet. No. Sniper. Done. Most snipers don’t know who they are after, know nothing about it. They are given a target and then debriefed for weeks and can never speak of it again (I have weird family ties …and I know really weird things …). So it automatically turned me off because it seemed too fake. And Alex learned how to go off the grid and out-run the government by reading spy novels and watching youtube videos. Seriously?

It took me several tries to explain the plot to my boyfriend because it is so convoluted, but here goes! Alex is messaged by her old Government contact and sent a case about a high-school teacher, Daniel Beach, turned terrorist who went to Mexico and Egypt to gather a biological weapon to bring back to the states and give to a Drug Dealer (cause poisoning their clientele is good for business?). Daniel worked with habitat for humanity so traveling for him was common. Still with me? Okay. He is seen traveling, and Alex is given photos of him getting on and off flights. She stalks and captures him (after he flirts with her and gives her his number) and tortures him to find out where the biological weapon is. While asking him questions he reveals that the picture looks like him but isn’t him. My first thought was “if it’s twins I’m done.” …guess what. His identical twin drops from a plane and beats the hell out of Alex. I woke my boyfriend up yelling “It’s always f**king twins!”. As it turns out, the guy who Daniel was apparently bringing the weapon to was already killed, by Daniels twin Kevin …who has apparently been dead for a year. He’s an ex-CIA agent who was pretending to be in jail, and had to pretend to be dead to protect Daniel. Still here? Good. Alex and Kevin were both betrayed and having her torture Daniel was a way to get apparently-dead-Kevin to come out and try to kill her. Either way, one was supposed to die. Daniel was collateral. The files Alex was given were fake (and apparently faked really well), just to draw her in and leave her unaware that Daniel had a brother.

Finding this out they all join forces to find out who in the government wants them dead.

From there it’s a whole bunch of Alex and Daniel doing domestic things while Kevin disappears to get information. Kevin is by far the most interesting character; and he hates Alex. Dealing with Kevin was about the only time Alex had a personality, so I cringed when he ‘left’ to go do the interesting things.

Daniel falls in love with Alex instantly but through the story it comes out that it’s not Stockholm’s because he had feelings for her before she tortured him (the whole 5 minutes he knew her). Both characters are so annoying and bland that I really didn’t care about their budding relationship and Alex’s constant ‘we can’t be together because we are too different’ didn’t make me want them to get together any more. I get she was trying to build tension, but by that point I didn’t care about either of them.

This book took me forever to read, and it’s only 519 pages. That should have been 2 days maximum. I blame half of it on double-dosed night time medication, and the other half on after 5 pages I just couldn’t do it. There were some exciting parts that I enjoyed reading (like their safe house getting blown up and they have to escape out to a nearby river). But it was more for the actual situation and less for the characters involved. Daniel was your standard annoying puppy-dog who loved cooking and just wanted to sit on the couch and cuddle. But he always had to be on Alex’s heels and at her slightest movements he was jumping in to make sure she was okay.

Sometimes I feel like I’m too tough on books. A lot of people liked this book, and if you did, good for you! I couldn’t. No matter how I looked at it and how much I tried, I couldn’t. As soon as my boyfriend asked if this was part of a series my stomach dropped and I answered, “god I hope not.”. I tried to pretend like it was by another author, in case my hatred of Twilight clouded my judgement, but as soon as I started writing stuff down, I realized it had nothing to do with her past books (I could look past PC Casts past books!) and everything to do with her characterization. I did enjoy parts of the book, I can openly admit that, but I will not read it again and I do not recommend it.

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