The Chemist, a review

Okay.

So.

The Chemist is the latest novel from Stephanie Meyer.

The plot deals with a former intelligence officer who specialized in interrogations, but who is now on the run, and her efforts to uncover the people behind the plot to have her killed.

That’s the plot.

The story is about an extremely intelligent yet emotionally shut down woman who has to learn to trust, and accidentally falls in love.

That’s the story.

A large percentage of the words are devoted to lengthy descriptions of chemistry and spycraft that somehow never actually tell the reader any specific details of chemical compounds or anti-surveillance measures.

I have read a *lot* of fanfiction in my life. One of the hallmarks of a lot of fic — not most, but a lot — is where an author handwaves all the details of setting because a) the presumed audience already knows the setting from the canon text and b) the presumed audience doesn’t really give a shit about the setting details, let’s get to the angst, h/c, and sex please.

This novel feels like au fic of a spy novel, when I have not read the original text. All the emotional beats are here. ALL THE EMOTIONAL BEATS ARE HERE. So much time is spent on the characters and the looks they give, or how they are guessing the other people feel, or whathaveyou. And so much prose is spent on weirdly-detailed-yet-vague descriptions of chemical compounds.

At the end of it all, what we have is an oddly chaste romance novel, with torture and murder, in which the author declines to ever really establish the setting completely.

Tl;dr: If you like spy au fics, you’ll enjoy this novel.

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