Stephenie Meyer's talent lies in her ability to write a page-turner that appeals most to readers who are not fans of the genre. Twilight, for example is not a classic horror novel, though it soon became phenomenally popular with teenage girls and any adult reader who, though they could see the many failings within the narrative, enjoyed the series anyway. The Host presented a taste of science fiction, one that contained more than a dash of romance. And with her latest novel, The Chemist the author pens a sci-fi thriller about an ex-government agent who is on the run from the very department that employed her in the first place.
Juliana was a chemist who was employed by a top secret government agency (one so top secret that it doesn't have a name,) developing concoctions that helped torture some of the CIAs most wanted criminals. The department became infected by paranoia, and after her colleagues try to kill her, Juliana goes on the run, living under a number of alias as she travels through the United States. Then one of her colleagues tracks her down and offers a surprising proposal--if she can return to them and help with one final case, they'll let her live peacefully. Juliana agrees, but nothing about Daniel, the schoolteacher suspected of trying to import a deadly virus into the United States is quite as it seems and Juliana soon finds herself on her most frightening adventure yet.
My feelings on this one remain mixed. That romance is certainly something, and I love the way that the author takes a very well deserved stab at Fifty Shades of Grey in the torture scene. (Seriously, who can blame her?) There is a very predictable plot twist early on in the narrative, but it works very well within the context of the story. A little confusing was the way that Juliana's name changed within the narrative every time she changed identity (though, thankfully, most of the time it was Alex,) and I think it would have been a bit easier on me if the author had called her Juliana throughout.
This one is enjoyable enough, but it pays to keep an open mind. If you read The Chemist because you think it's going to be a hardcore thriller, or somehting comparable to The X-Files then you're an idiot. And if you read the The Chemist because you want to pick at its faults then you're an arsehole. It's a book best read for entertainment.