Once a year I ask the book gods, “When will Stephenie Meyer come out with a new book?”
The most frequent reply I receive is, “Hell if I know.”
After Twilight and The Host it seemed as if Stephenie Meyer had given up on the whole “writing” thing.
It took seven years after her last novel and five years after The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner for Meyer to finally, FINALLY, publish her next full-length book.
Life and Death
“A bold and compelling re-imagining of the iconic love story” that shook the world.
“When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic. What Beau doesn’t realize is the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back.”
INSERT OVER-THE-TOP, HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER HERE
I can’t even…
I’m sorry, but the last thing I ever expected was for Stephenie Meyer to write fanfiction. Just thinking about it creeps me out. Let’s forget it ever happened. Forget it!
– – –
Luckily for us, it wasn’t too long until Meyer unveiled her next project: The Chemist
Originally published late last year, The Chemist chronicles the perilous journey of Dr. Juliana Fortis (also known as Alex), an interrogation specialist on the run after the top-secret government agency she was working for unexpectedly puts a price on her head. After three years, Alex is suddenly contacted by her former handler. In exchange for her freedom Alex is asked to do one more job. Easy, right? Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Alex kidnaps Daniel Beach, a suspected terrorist, but soon realizes she was setup. She tortured and interrogated an innocent man. It was all a trap. Alex must clear her name and hunt down those who threaten her existence.
Although it initially seems like The Chemist is intended to be a straightforward thriller, it’s not. Rather quickly – actually, this is all done in one chapter – the story transitions into a love story. After all, romance is what Stephenie Meyer does best. It’s what we want. It’s what we expect. Yet, after the primary plot is constructed you can’t help but crave the exact opposite. It’s what the book desired to be. Meyer switches from action-adventure to romance, from chapter to chapter with such force it becomes jarring. It confuses the reader and muddles the story. The Chemist suffers from a crippling identity crisis.
The characters are equally unimpressive. With such a succinct plot line you would expect they would be wholeheartedly driven, that they’d have a sense of urgency about them. No, they move calmly, unhurried, as if they know the outcome of the story beforehand. Alex is lifeless. Daniel is sugary-sweet, void of any kind of personality. Kevin – Daniel’s twin brother – is essentially Emmett Cullen, if Emmett Cullen had trained to be a CIA operative. The most interesting character is Val; who, sadly, only appears in a handful of scenes.
Now, we all know that as much as any fandom complains about the ill-fated demise of their favorite characters, we rightfully acknowledge that sometimes the saccharine “happily ever after” is not what we or the story need. Stephenie Meyer seems to have missed that memo completely. I’m not trying to be overly picky, I promise. It’s just that The Chemist is a story about messy characters with messy lives. Without the inclusion of a sudden, planned twist or epic revelation, the narrative falls flat. Meyer cleans it all up so quickly – wraps everything up in a nice box with a neat little bow on top – that it left my head scratching. “That’s it? That’s all there is?” It’s all just so forgettable.
Here’s where the real twist comes in. Even though The Chemist wasn’t anything close to spectacular and despite its many flaws, Stephenie Meyer still wrote an entertaining and enthralling book. I don’t know how, but she did. It was a bit of a snooze; and I’ll be honest, I struggled to keep reading quite a lot in the beginning. Still, I don’t regret my purchase. Also, I don’t plan to hide it or push it to the back of my bookshelf, unlike some other novels I’ve bought.
I liked it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. Why? I don’t know. There’s just something about Stephenie Meyer’s writing…something I really can’t explain. I think it’s in the way she writes these epic romantic relationships. The way she expresses these ideals about love, about soul mates, and love at first sight. I think that’s what pulls at my heart-strings the most. It’s why I fell in love with Twilight. It’s why The Chemist works. I mean, if it was all medical terminology and shoot outs, I don’t think I would have given it as good of a rating as I did.
Finishing The Chemist feels like an accomplishment.
“So, I read that.”
Book Rating: C+
Have you read The Chemist? Will you? What did you think of the book? Did you like it? What did you think of the story? The characters? Which Stephenie Meyer novel is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!