Author: Avery Williams
Publication Date: January 3rd 2012
Publisher: Penguin NZ
After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans from jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.
Then sixteen-year old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falling in love with the boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's him again, and every moment she stays, she's putting herself and the people she's grown to care about in danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that's eluded her for centuries: true love?
The Alchemy of Forever was a surprisingly enjoyable read! I literally did not put it down once after I started reading it!
I'll admit, I am rather picky when deciding whether or not I like a protagonist but I really, really liked Sera. She's a girl who can think and act for herself and thank heavens, she has a backbone! She starts off insecure with the life she's living and goes to great measures to end it but when she accidentally takes the body of Kailey, a girl who's about to die anyway due to a car crash, she realizes the joy of actually living. That was my favorite part about her - the character development. It was fun to watch her grow and evolve into someone who's capable of loving and living a normal life. Her relationship with the other characters felt real and while she does feel the guilt of living someone else's life, she doesn't let that keep her emotional and depressed the whole time. She lives in the moment and I can't say how much I appreciated that!
My only real problem was the lack of any actual character depth within the supporting characters; aside from Cyrus of course, that guy's just a bit whack in the head. Kailey's friends were sort of like cardboard cut-outs, just stereotypical happy-go lucky teenagers who happened to be part of the story. The other Incarnate's (people like Sera) were also kind of just there because the author wanted them to be but I think given the chance, they could have all been made so much more interesting. And Noah, the boy next door, was definitely charming charming charming! But he said it himself, Kailey wasn't very nice to him before Sera took over (she didn't even talk to him at school!) yet he says he was still in love with her which didn't really make any sense.
I can't say I didn't like the romance though - I loved it! I think all romance in books should be like this one. There is no "OH MY GOSH DOES HE LIKE ME? BUT IT CAN'T BE. HE ACTS LIKE HE DOESN'T BUT AHH I REALLY WANT TO KISS HIM." Yeah there is none of that. It's what I imagine would happen in real life. A few weeks to bond and no silly misunderstandings and the simple fact that they like each other so you know, they should totally kiss. It wasn't really insta-love either so much as "Oh, he's hot, I'll keep him on my radar," and then they build up a strong solid friendship before it becomes something more.
The concept of incarnation was undeniably unique, the way they used an alchemy instead of some kind of magic to live forever. The plot, however, was more focused on the fact that Cyrus, the crazy, determined, controlling, possessive, psycho boyfriend was coming after Sera. He's manipulative and cruel and the reason why Sera now lives forever. The trouble he goes to find Sera is scary! He has a freaking bulletin board of all the evidence she left behind. *shivers* That's what I call obsessive. There's not much else to say about the plot because it ends right before it gets good! I mean, that ending was just cruel. It's like the very embodiment of a cliffhanger and we have to wait until 2013 to find out what happened! I can already imagine so many things happening in the next book though, since there were quite a lot of loose ends in this one and that just makes me all the more eager to read it like, now!
Overall, The Alchemy of Forever is a fabulous debut that you'll definitely want on your bookshelves! I loved every minute of it and aside from the bland side characters, everything else will completely sweep you off your feet!