There is something liberating and empowering about a strong, bold fictional heroine. Nevermind the fact that her strength lies in her ability to create chemical weapons that torture her targets and kill her assailants. This heroine in The Chemist, by Stephenie Meyer, may have had an unconventional career, but her independence and tenacity are undeniable.
I love reading about tough women, even fictional ones. I love women who don’t need anyone, women who figure shit out on their own, women who take care of themselves. I love reading about women who are smart and cunning and motivated. I love women who defy stereotypes and resist conventional standards. And I love women who grow and and open their hardened exterior to let something change them.
There are tons of books with these women, I’m sure. But for some reason, this particular book made me really think about these heroines. The ones who have it all figured out. The Olivia Popes of fiction, who have everything handled.
We need these books. In a world of #MeToo and pay gaps and zero female Presidents, we need something, anything, to show us that women are strong and smart and capable, even if we have to turn to novels. We need stories that show women excelling at science. We need tales of women rising above. We need the epic plot that proves women can have it all, whatever they want.
The Chemist is written by the author of the Twilight series, but this is not a story of vampires. It is about a woman who used to work for a black ops government agency who tortured people to get top-secret information. Alex was a chemist, top of her class in med school, who was recruited to create chemicals that would aid in these secret endeavors. She and her partner were targeted and while he didn’t survive, she escaped and began to live her life underground, a new name and new city every few days, always running and hiding and always watching her back for the people who were trying to kill her.
Until her old employer contacts her and tells her that they need her. They need her to get information from someone whom they believe has the ability to release a bio weapon that will kill millions of people.
When she captures him and tries to glean information, she realizes that she has the wrong guy. Her employer set her up and worked with another agency to send a guy out after her.
Chaos ensues, the truth comes out, and preparations are made to get revenge and do away with the real enemies once and for all.
This book is a page turner, with a few slow parts. There are gruesome torture scenes, lovable guard dogs, and some steamy, albeit PG-13, moments.
This book was more a bit more grown-up for Meyer than the tales of Bella and Edward, and she did it well. Recommended if you love strong, female leads, action and intrigue, or both.