by Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer has had years to come up with a book that will make her relevant again. The Host, a futuristic utopian novel, gave us a glimpse of what it would be like if she distanced herself from YA and into the alleys of Adult Science Fiction. That book was a winner. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care if you’re a seasoned reader of Sci-Fi and you’re scoffing at me right now because of my statement. The Host was phenomenal. I was chomping at the bit and waiting patiently for her next novel. So with nary a fanfare, The Chemist stole into our shelves quietly. And in my case, at the airport bookstore on my way to San Diego.
Unfortunately, this is one of those instances where I got excited for a whole lot of nothing. Because with all its promise of “a gripping page-turner,” this was an absolute snoozer. As much as I’m a big fan of protagonists on the run from big, bad government, Alex didn’t incite any thrills as one that goes by her days looking over shoulders.
Ms. Meyer also failed to show me all the hows and the whys Alex found herself the subject of ire by the very people she worked for. If she was as good a chemical torturer that she made herself to be, why then would her bosses want to get rid of her? How did she become a liability? And then, out of nowhere, they wanted her back in the fold. I smell a setup.
Her reinstatement had her tailing a man who was going to unleash a deadly virus to the American public. But soon she’ll find out that it was only a cover up for something much bigger. Predictably enough, a romance developed between her and her victim (yawn). One of the things that frustrated me while reading this book was I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why in the hell would this man fall in love with her when she caused him immeasurable pain?! It was one of the most fucked up Stockholm Syndrome romance if there ever was one. It was at this time when I realized, man or woman, I don’t like reading about doormat characters. Bella Swan drew flak for her passiveness in Twilight. And while I commend Ms. Meyer for the role reversal of sorts in this book, I really couldn’t stand how weepy and eviscerated the male character was (name’s not coming to me at the moment). A classic case of an inexplicable instant-love.
Not to worry, though. All is not lost. You’ll fall in love with the German Shepards trained as lethal but loveable guard dogs. You’ll probably wonder if Alex sells her poison-laced jewelry at the home shopping network. You’ll probably even find Alex’s no non-sense attitude charming, provided that you don’t find her cold and calculating while she’s inflicting pain on her victims. But she’s smart, and she’s not all, kill, kill, kill. Underneath her hard exterior lay a conscience – which is inconvenient for an assassin like her. If you ever thought that Twilight was too passionate or too romantic, you’ll more than likely consider The Chemist the exact opposite.