The Chemist – book review


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.

When I heard that Stephanie Meyer was releasing another book, I just knew I would have to read it. Not because I was particularly fond of Twilight — though I did enjoy the first couple of books when I was eleven before realising there were probably books more worthy of my time — or because I wanted to review it simply to drag it, but because I loved her other book, The Host, and I was genuinely interested to see what The Chemist would be like. While I was looking forward to giving this one a go and I do quite enjoy crime novels with a bit of a thrilling element, unfortunately this one fell short for me. I wanted to be swept off my feet and shown just how much Meyer has improved and developed as an author, but instead I just found myself bored and uninterested in the predictable plot and the unoriginal, dull characters.

Although the first twenty pages seemed very promising for me, the compelling beginning quickly dropped off and maintained a slower pace that was much less interesting  for the entirety of The Chemist. The premise of this novel made me really intrigued and I wanted to see how things would work out, but the frankly boring nature of the way this story was told meant that when I got half-way through, I just couldn’t care less and had to force myself to read the rest at an infuriatingly slow pace. Nothing of real importance seemed to happen for chapters on end and when there was a ‘twist’, the reveals were predictable and almost cringe-worthy. It was very disappointing.

But I suppose a slow plot would have been okay if the characters were half-interesting. Alas, they were not. Our main character was a nondescript Mary Sue with no likeable characteristics or distinguishing factors. The love interest was a ‘nice’ guy who was all the more repulsive by his unbelievable kindness that seemed completely sappy. Worst of all, there’s absolutely no romantic tension between these two characters and their relationship felt forced and excruciatingly simplistic. These two boring, one-dimensional characters meant that paired with the slow plot and predictable reveals, The Chemist ended up being an unsatisfying book that I can only hope hasn’t tarnished my views of The Host. If you’re looking for a book to read and you haven’t read The Chemist, I highly recommend picking The Host up.

Ultimately, The Chemist is a slow, dull novel with a predicable plot and one-dimensional characters that was simply very disappointing. If you’re interested in reading a Stephanie Meyer book, I’d recommend The Host, and if you’re looking for a new and exciting crime novel, I encourage you to pick up anything by Fleur Ferris, Rebecca James or Ellie Marney!


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Let's Talk

Have you read The Chemist yet? Have you read any other books by Stephenie Meyer? Do you read many thriller / crime novels? What are some of your favourites? Have you read any of the books I recommended below? Do you prefer plot-driven or character-driven novels? I’d love to know!

Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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13 thoughts on “The Chemist – book review

  1. Oh poop, I also loved The Host and didn’t mind Twilight so had marked this one as ‘to read’ over Christmas. Will have to stick with the Liane Moriarty I bought for hubby to wrap up for me and put under the tree…

  2. I was thinking of reading this one but it sounds like you didn’t like it for the same reasons I didn’t like Tana French’s Trespasser, and I wouldn’t want that experience again. I’m going to skip it. Thanks for the review!

      • Well, there will always be people (I guess) that love crap. But I’m not even going to bother bc the reviews I’ve seen by the people I trust are all not good. So I think those that like this book might be either HUGE Meyer fans, to where she can do no wrong, or people that have VERY diff taste than we do.

  3. I absolutely loved The Host! I can’t understand why it hasn’t gotten the same recognition as the Twilight saga because for me it’s by far the better book. The characters were far more complex and the story felt far more original. It’s a shame she hasn’t carried that through to The Chemist. The whole secret agent/ burn notice story has been done so many times that it would have to have something really unique about it to stand out!

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