...basically a gender-flipped Robert Ludlum novel ... Meyer’s sympathy for femininity, and for passivity, is part of what many critics hate about the Twilight books. But it gives her an unusual ability to turn genres inside out ... Spy fans can be assured that in most respects, The Chemist functions in much the same way as a Bourne or Bond story, complete with mounting body count, cool explosions, stakeouts and betrayals. But changing the proportion of gender in the genre gives the concoction a renewed, and welcome, rush.
...an engrossing new novel ... Meyer’s heart is still in Forks, Washington, despite the change of genre. Her millions of readers will be happy ... There are a hundred objections you could make to The Chemist. Its biggest twist is visible from space. It’s full of the same daffy blitheness toward blood and pain that always made the Twilight books unsettling, at least to me. Alex’s foes within the government never quite come into focus in the third act, one lesson she didn’t take from Baldacci or Child. But Meyer is also just a really good storyteller. The Chemist is consistently fast-paced fun.
The author spends paragraph after paragraph detailing Chris’s system of keeping herself safe and untraceable. It’s such an exhaustive list that after a page or two, it felt like parody ... Meyer is more concerned with storytelling than writing ... Minor characters are two-dimensional, more like in big-budget movies. Somehow she buys into her tales so much that you do too. It doesn’t matter that she uses the same adjectives over and over ... It’s not the Great American Novel, but it is Meyer.
...this espionage action story will no doubt tighten her grip on her devoted readers ... The plot zips from Texas to Florida and back to D.C. and features all of the expected motifs of the genre ... Along the way there are some wonderful touches ... Other matters further challenge credulity. The melodramatic plot depends upon well-worn devices such as a pair of twins whose bodies mirror each other. The writing and bantering dialogue never fully escape a cataclysm of cliches. But one does not read Meyer for her style. Her appeal is emotional rather than aesthetic, and she knows how to control dramatic tension as skillfully as any of the Bourne movies. The pages turn themselves.
The Chemist’s premise is better than its execution, and the plot’s stakes never quite feel high enough to get your pulse going — perhaps because Alex is so good at her job that failure doesn’t really seem like an option. The romance, too, falls short of what we know Meyer is capable of ... Meyer is still a skilled pace-setter, and The Chemist’s 518-pages fly by quickly and easily.
Meyer, clearly a major fan of the genre, has dreamed up a fast-paced thriller, and a tough, mysterious heroine with a penchant for decking herself out in dangerous jewellery, concealing syringes of poison in her belt and switchblades in her shoes. There are some fabulous pitched battles leading up to a conclusion that it’s easy to imagine in the cinema – the only major duff point is the love-at-first-sight romance to which Alex is subjected, which fails to ring true for a number of reasons, not least its opening act of torture.
What sounds worse than a knock-off Jason Bourne novel with all the excitement and unpredictability removed? If you guessed 'a boring knock-off Jason Bourne novel that is actually an awkward and unbelievable romance,' then you’ve probably already read The Chemist ... Erroneously described on the book jacket as 'a gripping page-turner,' The Chemist takes all of the familiar spy thriller tropes — a government agent-turned-fugitive, an ill-advised romance, double-crosses, corruption that goes all the way to the top (does it ever just go to the middle?) — and combines them into a tasteless mélange that is both difficult to care about and easy to forget.
...while Meyer has succeeded in writing a headstrong heroine, much about her new book is less definitive, starting with the character’s code name ... This one-track romance between Alex and Daniel is where the book wrestles with itself. What should be the B-story becomes the focal point around 150 pages in. The once-promising plot of assassins, bio-terrorists, and backstabbing government entities takes a backseat to teenagers-at-the-movies kisses and directionless talking head scenes—both of which fail to move the story forward. The story declines steadily from there: The action feels inconsequential, the stakes grow increasingly lower, and the desire to keep reading dips with each page.