Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Pulse It
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2012

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 his 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?

Avery Williams entices and ensnares in this dazzling debut.

Seraphina, or Sera as she likes to be called, is a heroine that possesses a more subtle kind of bravery. Emerging after centuries of guilt and desperation, it propels Sera to take some pretty drastic measures to get away from her boyfriend, Cyrus, and the ruthless measures he's been taking to stay alive. I liked Sera a lot. She's honest with herself and you can see the weariness her life has brought her. She has a conscience.

I read somewhere that someone was rather taken by Cyrus and I just... NO. Maybe this is an unpopular viewpoint (I really don't know) but I found him creepy and manipulative and possessive. In other words, not exactly ideal boyfriend material. Noah, on the other hand, was amazing. I couldn't help but feel really, really sorry for him -- and pretty much everyone else that knew "Kailey."

The novel is rather slow-paced but I never found it boring personally. Sera does a lot of reflection and she's very introspective so a good chunk of the book is focused on that rather than the action. There is also a great amount of focus on the science of alchemy which I found fascinating. There's really that debate of whether it's science (Cyrus) or magic (Sera), and not just with alchemy. My interest was definitely sparked.

Then we have... the end. HORRIBLE. EVIL. CLIFF-HANGER. Also, one that in no way did I see coming. Since I was reading it on the Pulse It website, I wasn't paying attention to the fact that the book was nearing its end and thought it would all wrap up with a pretty bow. So not the case. Evil, but awesome, awesome set-up for Book 2.

Interested in incarnation? Try The Alchemy of Forever.

Cover Comments: I like the multiple copies of Sera... nice visual representation of her many lives. The colours look well together as well and apparently the book is rather spiffy in person.

4.5 stars


  1. I got this book on Pulse It, and I started reading it on my computer but I kinda got annoyed with it. But I loved the couple of chapters I read, so I'm excited to finish it soon. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Nice review.

    1. No way, Mesa! You're on Pulse It too? :D Hope you end up liking it as a whole! Thank you.

  2. Eeee! I'm just about to start reading this one, and I'm excited! I'm slightly scared by this talk of cliffhangers and feeling sorry for Kayliey's family :S
    I LOVE this idea of the science/magic question! Can't wait to find out more and... Cyrus? He sounds like a creeper. Though I have to say I'm kind of intrigued by bad guys who... Aren't necessarily 'bad', but a little fuzzy in the moral department, or have, I don't know... Maybe good motivations behind bad actions? I mean, I don't swoon over them, I'm just fascinated ;)
    LOVED your review! So excited to read it now!

    1. Well the thing about Kailey's family is... subjective, I guess. It's just that it's obviously a really weird situation and they have NO IDEA what's going on. That sucks.

      Oh Cyrus. What a guy. I wish there had been more fuzzy, less crazy. Thanks! :)

    2. Oooh, OK, so I'm about 20% through, and Cyrus... what a creeper. He's a TEXTBOOK wifebeater... and it makes me sad, because in that first chapter? It sounds like he started out OK :(

  3. HORRIBLE CLIFFFHANGER ENDING? I am scared. Excited. But SCARED. I love that it took you by surprise, though. Those are the best kind! Like Sarah, I'm quite fascinated to meet Cyrus in the not-to-swoon-over way, but the YOU'RE SO CREEPY. kinda way... I love when characters are well developed. But aw, Noah! (Seriously? Must be the name. All Noah's are amazing).

    I love the idea behind this novel and now after reading your incredible review, I can't wait to start! Need to schedule this into my TBR asap!

    1. UH HUH. Be scared. Be very scared.

      True! It's not nearly as fun when I can see the cliffhanger coming a mile away. At least this way I can be destroyed AND shocked.

      THAT IS SO TRUE! Why didn't I think of that? All these amazing Noahs... they're going to kill me.

  4. This sounds like an awesome book, but I don't like the idea of the cliffhanger ending! I still think that I'd have to check this one out thanks to your great review! I must go and put this one on my wish list ASAP!

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  5. I love the sound of Sera, she seems like a great character from what you've said. Also not bothered by introspection (quite like it actually) so we're all EXCELLENT on that front. Cliffhanger ending? As long as it's a good one! That Spirit Bound I obsessed over that one for MONTHS! Looking forward to this, great review Sonia!!

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  6. Wow. I totally hated this book. First one to get an F from me, haha. Glad you liked it, though :)

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  7. Really intrigued by this one! Glad you enjoyed it, and Noah sounds sweet :). The cliffhanger ending, though? Might just top me over the edge. I've read a ton of books with cliffhanger ending recently, and every time my face ends up looking like this O_O. Fab review, thank you :).

  8. I've been seeing this everywhere and I really want to read it! Great review