At First Glance: Cover
My Rating: 8/10
Visually, this book is sexy. There’s something sleek and cold about it, amplified by the steely metallic sheen on the jacket. It’s lovely, and I was immediately drawn to it for that reason alone. It photographs beautifully. Now, as a designer, I tend to be very nit picky when it comes to covers. So I docked a point because, after reading the story, I wish it had featured some pop of color, maybe a few droplets of dark red blood, to really draw the eye in and foreshadow some of what lay within. I docked another because (and this is purely personal preference) I’m not sure I would have paired it with teal on the spine. To me, soft teals and mint greens automatically read dainty and feminine. So I would have maybe gone with a darker shade of gray, or even black.
The Meat of the Matter: Content
My Rating: 5/10
Guys, I have lamented and thought about this review for a long time. I originally planned to open my blog with it, but as I got into the story, I realized that this was not the note I wanted to start off on. I hate giving bad reviews. Being an author myself, I know how much blood, sweat, tears, and time goes into each book sitting on the shelves in stores. But I have also read a lot of Meyer’s previous work, and I sincerely hoped this book would be different considering she is now a much more seasoned author and this book is not (intended) to be YA. That being said, I cannot detect much growth in her as a writer from her Twilight Saga to this novel.
Faithful fans of the Twilight Saga will likely enjoy this modern, government conspiracy-style story because of its strong romantic themes.
Please bear in mind that my opinions, of course, are purely that of personal taste. I gave this book every opportunity to wow me, but I found the story clunky, sluggish, and lacking that true essence of heart-pounding thrill expected of a book in this genre. I started out listening to the book on Audible, which I DO NOT recommend because of the narrator that was chosen. Even my husband commented that she “sounded like Siri” as she read – without any emotion. So in hopes of finishing the book on a better note, I switched over to reading the hard copy I had. Alas, I still struggled to get to the end. Meyer spends far too much time indulging in a romance that, on its own, would have been entertaining if not for the confusion of the conspiracy she was attempting to weave around them. She also spends pages upon pages describing intricate ruses, traps, and self defense weapons the main character, Alex, has designed to protect herself but we never actually see them used to any avail in those scenes. So that, essentially, makes all that effort a waste.
Point being, if you are going to dedicate a book and cite Jason Bourne as an inspiration – you have set my bar of expectation really high for a fast paced, complex thrill ride that may or may not have a romantic subplot. THE CHEMIST, however, failed to deliver in that regard.
The Chemist: Characterization
My Rating: 4/10
After much reflection, I finally figured out what it was about this book that I couldn’t connect with. And ironically, and much to my disappointment, the issue I finally narrowed it down to was the exact same problem I had with the Twilight Saga: I found myself disliking the main character. The issues with Bella being deadpan, flat, and lacking in development are identical to Alex – if not even intentional, since I got the impression she most likely designed Alex to be that way on purpose. Alex has no emotions. Her backstory is uninteresting. Her personality is bland. Halfway through the book, when her life is threatened, I found myself not really caring if she lived or not as long as Daniel survived.
All of Meyer’s energies are focused on making us love Daniel, who is the central heartthrob. She obviously had a much stronger connection with him as a writer. So why not have him tell the story?
This entire novel would have been far more interesting from his perspective, especially since the first fourth of the book does little to make us connect with Alex in any way. I cared more about Daniel after three paragraphs than I did about Alex in 30+ pages.
The question is, would I recommend this book to others? That depends. If they are already a fan of Meyer’s style, then I’m sure they will find this book entertaining and worthwhile. I would certainly recommend it for them. However, this book did not impress me – which is not to say it’s a bad read, it just didn’t suit my personal taste.