Interesting read picked up from the charity boxes only due to the Twilight reference of the author but actually a pretty decent YA book.

Other books by Stephenie Meyer: The Host

The Story

Unlike Twilight, it does not involve any blood sucking teenagers but actual humans.

An ex-agent Juliana Fortis (also called Alex) on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.
An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name – a master torturer whose tools were potions and drugs she designed. When they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

“It was odd how comfortable she was with killing people these days, how satisfying she found it. She became bloodthirsty, which was ironic, all things considered. She’d spent six years under their tutelage, and in all that time they hadn’t come close to breaking her down, to turning her into someone who enjoyed her work. But three years on the run from them had changed a lot of things.”

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes 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.

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialised skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.


Good bits:

The Action: There is action, you’ll be glued to your reading spot with the book in your hand when you reach all the right places. Also, some romance. Not much, though. Which is really surprising. We know how Twilight went down. If you’re into those spy novels, The Chemist will partially quench your thirst. There are a lot of disguises and you’ll learn some stuff about chemistry. But not much.

The Strong Woman Trope: Alex is a strong personification of what an independent woman should be like. Always on the run, Alex makes sure that nothing is amiss. Nothing that might lead her pursuers right to her. She is overly cautious and practically a genius. Who wouldn’t want to be like her?

“As someone who knew better than most the kind of darkness that went on behind the scenes and how little any of the important decisions had to do with the figurehead spokesperson the people elected, it was hard for her to care much about left or right.”

The Dogs: Einstein, Khan, and Lola are the most mentioned dogs in the book. Einstein being Kevin’s sidekick, and later one to Alex as well. Khan being Daniel’s nanny, and Lola being the first to fall for Alex. There is some cuddling, and some really intense life-saving on Einstein’s part that will really make you want to buy a dog as spy-trained as Einstein.

 

The Bad Bits:

Alex, strong woman, falls in love with a guy, Daniel, who she was torturing. Daniel also falls in love with Alex – AFTER being on the torture table – making me think he’s a little bit of a sadist. The ending was a bit crap – a sort of a happy end where everyone gets what they want but leaves the reader feeling like they’ve eaten a block of cheese.

But from the second I saw your face, I was willing to leap miles outside my comfort zone to make sure I saw it again.

The characters are classic Meyer. A nondescript Mary Jane protagonist is an ok-looking virgin surrounded by a cast of sexy male characters, with no female relationships (never mind friendships) in sight. The love interest is textbook handsome and one-dimensional to the point of disbelief. Daniel and Kevin twin relationship would have made a good love triangle but Meyer gave Kevin a girlfriend.

The worst thing is the huge chunk of the book that is made up of Alex and Daniel hiding out at a ranch with a load of dogs. I’m not exaggerating when I say that so much of this book is made up of pointless chitchat about dogs, guns and cooking. They kiss and watch movies together and sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the kitchen. Maybe this is really funny to some people, but I do this all the time so whatever. Who wants to read a book that is almost entirely about a dull romance that has no drama, no questions, no will they/won’t they?

“I’ve never been drawn to someone the way I am to you, and I have been from the very first moment I met you. It’s like the difference between…between reading about gravity and then falling for the first time.”

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2/5 – Charity Pile

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