Rated Reads

The Chemist

by Stephenie Meyer

Rated: Moderate

Her name originally was Juliana, but she’s gone through a number of aliases in three years, the time she’s had to be on the run from the top-secret government agency who used to employ her. She was skilled at developing compounds that would allow her to get the truth out of subjects — terrorists, for instance — whose knowledge was vital to the government. Her work saved thousands of innocent lives, but it wasn’t pleasant.

When she gets an email from her former boss telling her that millions of lives are on the line, that her skills are needed once again, that he hasn’t been able to replace her … she knows it’s a trap. But the packet of information he gives her is too convincing to feel like a ruse just to pull her in. What if she still can do some good, save some lives, but just on her own terms?

So she ends up kidnapping the man who is supposedly about to set loose a biological weapon on the country. Questioning him leads her into a different path than she’d even pictured, but with potential allies and — maybe — the possibility of being able to live a real life, rather than a shadow life as a hunted woman.

Stephenie Meyer is able to spin a good story, whether it’s about vampires, aliens who take over the bodies of Earthlings or, now, a government agent on the run. It’s interesting to see some of the same elements pop up in her books: there’s romance under impossible conditions; a character who seems too good to be true and another who fears he/she is too dangerous/damaged to be lovable; thrills and chases. I enjoyed this one, too.

Rated: Moderate. There’s some occasions of mild language; sexual content involves kissing and a couple of “off-screen” sex scenes. Violence is the biggest concern: it’s a kill-or-be-killed world, though the protagonist tries to do what she can to keep it as low as possible, and the body count gets high in a few spots. Plus, what she does is basically torture people chemically, and there’s references to other methods of torture, but not too detailed.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Chemist
  • by Stephenie Meyer
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: