The Alchemy of Forever - An Incarnation Novel
Seraphina’s first love made her immortal…her second might get her killed.Incarnation is a new series that introduces a fresh mythology perfect for fans of bestselling series like The Immortals by Alyson Noel and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
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 swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking 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. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting—and falls for the human 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 for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?
The Alchemy of Forever
I bought this book in July of 2012 at Books-A-Million during a sale for $3 and it sat on my bookshelf untouched until recently. I really wish that I had read this one sooner since I absolutely loved it. Everything about this book drew me in, from the plot to the settings and the characters themselves.
I've never read a book anything like this one. The idea of Incarnates taking over new bodies every time they are about to die was a completely new thing for me and I am suprised to say that I found it very enjoyable. Plus this novel uses alchemy for these people to be able to do this and the topic of alchemy is cool to begin with before you throw in centuries old immortals jumping from body to body.
The characters were so well developed and had such unique personalities and I found myself being pulled into the struggles of Seraphina and hoping she found a way to make everything work out. I wanted her to find her happy ending, she deserved it. I hated Cyrus, he was such a mean guy. Sure he claimed to love Seraphina and maybe he really did but he was so controling, he wanted to regulate every part of her life and he quickly got on my nerves. Noah on the other hand I simply loved, he was such a caring and sweet boy and I really loved the dynamic he brought to Seraphina's life.
The story opens up in London in the middle ages and we are introduced to Seraphina while at a ball. This opening chapter was lovely and I just loved the whole masquerade theme to it even though the end of this chapter isn't quite so lovely, you will just have to read to find out what happens. The rest of the book takes place in present day California and the world is one we know all too well where everything seems normal but little do the unsuspecting people know there are centuries old being walking among them.
I loved the suspense this book brought, it had me on the edge of my seat a few times just praying the characters found a way to make things work and this book also brought a hint of romance that was simply adorable. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series, I hope it is every bit as exciting as The Alchemy of Forever?
The Alchemy of Forever
The Alchemy of Forever is the best reincarnation novel I have ever read. Okay, so maybe I haven't read that many. But still.
The book starts in the 1300's, with Seraphina getting ready for a masked ball. Escaping the crowds with a very handsome boy called Cyrus, she then gets attacked and killed by a couple of street ruffians. Cyrus gives her a drop of this potion that he has, enabling her to live forever by jumping bodies when they get tired of their current one. Then the book flips forward to the current day, and Sera is still alive, but instead of just her and Cyrus, they have a whole gang of followers. By this time, Seraphina has grown tired of murdering innocent people who still have their whole lives ahead of them to continue her already centuries old life. She vows that the body she is in now would be her last, and plans to kill herself on her switching night. Without her gang knowing, obviously. However, just before she does the deed, a car crash happens nearby and while trying to save the victim, she accidentally takes over her body.
Now Seraphina has to try living the life of Kailey, a sixteen year old girl, without Kailey's friends and family knowing the difference.
It was really fun to watch Seraphina try to duplicate Kailey's life, because she made so many awkward mistakes. This girl's never even gone to school! And it's a little hard to try living someone else's life if you don't have any idea who they were and all you have to go off is some pictures and stuff. But, you know what they say, fake it till you make it.
Cyrus will go through any lengths to get Seraphina back. Seraphina's relationship with Cyrus is very complicated, to say the least. Seraphina really did love him, way back when, but over the centuries, she says, that love kind of dimmed then went out when Cyrus revealed his true cruel nature (you know all those books where there's the girl and boy are like "I'll love you forever" or something like that? I always found that corny, and the great thing about this book is that Seraphina doesn't believe love can actually last forever and ever and ever and I know that's kinda sad, but honestly, seven hundred years is a lot of time for people to change). She knows Cyrus still loves her (although if you ask me it's more of obsessive possessiveness) and... yeah. It's a little complicated.
The scary thing about Cyrus is that he could be anywhere. He could be anyone. Kinda creepy.
The love interest in this story... well, I won't reveal his name, but it was a bit obvious, I think. Anyway. I felt really bad for him.
One thing I didn't like about the Alchemy of Forever is the way Seraphina read volumes in each word they played on Scrabble (it was scrabble on their phone, no time limit to the moves). I mean seriously, what are the chances of having the perfect letters to write the one word that explains everything that's happening? Just because I play the word "zombie" doesn't mean zombies are coming or that I am turning into a zombie or that anything in my life has anything to do with zombies.
And another thing. i find it a little hard to believe that Kaylie's friends or even family didn't notice that anything was wrong. Everything was just put down to "concussion issues" or trauma. Noah (boy next door) was basically the only one who noticed anything was wrong and he knew Kaylie even less than her best friends and family. I think I would notice if someone close to me had suddenly been replaced with the soul of a seven hundred year old immortal person.
The ending was horrible and amazing at the same time. I can't wait for the next book!!
Hobbitsies Reviews: Seriously addicting
I’ll admit – I was totally not expecting to love The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams as much as I did. I’m not usually a fan of reincarnation stories – it usually involves soul mates and blahness that I’m just not a fan of BUT. BUT. The Alchemy of Forever is totally different.
The beginning of the story was very set-up ish, but I’m glad for it. Otherwise we would have been dropped into the story with no real explanation. Which would have been really confusing. So YAY for the set-up. Also, it was pretty interesting, too!
But the actual story – I really liked Seraphina as a character. Her guilt over her past and her struggle against Cyrus and then the struggle with the fact that she’s enjoying being a normal teenage girl and all of that really kind of made her dimensional to me.
And the romantic interest in The Alchemy of Forever – I loved him. And I felt SO BAD FOR HIM.
Okay and the ending. I was really, really not expecting that and I literally went “WTF!” on the last page and reread it like three times. I even had to explain the whole story to my boyfriend because I needed someone to WTF with me (he was not as helpful as I hoped).
Basically, The Alchemy of Forever is an awesome book, much more awesomer than I originally gave it credit for. If you’re a fan of immortal body swapping and cute romance and WTF endings, definitely check it out!
Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2012/01/the-alchemy-of-forever-by-avery-williams/
Oozing with Untapped Potential
Oozing with untapped potential, The Alchemy of Forever was a good read. The pacing was well-done and Sera's constant fear of being found by Cyrus added a heavy dose of suspense. But a slightly underwhelming protagonist coupled with a non-menacing antagonist tries The Alchemy of Forever and finds it wanting.
The Alchemy of Forever's main problem was it's brief length. A story with six hundred years worth of history deserves more then two hundred and fifty six pages. By the end, I still didn't fully understand the true origin of the Incarnates, Sera's fear of Cyrus and Cyrus' obsession with Sera: how exactly does the elixir work and why does it take such a toil on the bodies of those who are chosen as vessels? How did Cyrus and Sera grow into a coven? Why does the coven live under fear of Cyrus' wrath, what makes him so powerful? Why would Cyrus wish to keep someone around who so obviously despises him? I would have loved to see some length added on to this abrupt story, if only to answer some of these questions.
It's also because of it's briefness that I couldn't fully understand Sera or her motives. Like how she felt the need to save the life of just one girl, in the hopes of beginning to atone for six centuries worth of murder. I couldn't understand her constant mood swings - feeling alone and suicidal one chapter, and optimistic and bubbly the next - or why she claimed to know Cyrus so well when she was constantly on the edge of falling for his traps; every time he made a move, Sera's immediate reaction was to act exactly as he must have been hoping for her to react. It became tedious to constantly berate her instinctual reactions, and then slightly relieving when she thought better of it. I also couldn't understand why she claimed to want to save Kailey's friends and family from the pain of losing her, and then started a relationship with Kailey's next-door neighbour.
Besides it's length, my other big issue with The Alchemy of Forever was how easily Sera fit herself into her role as Kailey. Some lame jokes about her weirdness being the result of her concussion and any oddities between Kailey's behaviour from before the accident versus her behaviour after the accident were forgiven. I found it hard to believe that her close friends and family wouldn't notice that the seemingly shallow artist they knew had been replaced by someone with wisdom far beyond her years. I was hoping Sera would have trouble adapting into the life of a teenager - a role that was taken from her when Cyrus decided to make her an Incarnate - but after a quick Facebook search, she seemed to have all the information she needed to get by. It would have added some credibility to the story if anyone had commented on her changed behaviour, but other then Noah saying that he liked the new Kailey, no one mentioned noticing that she was acting any differently.
The issues I had with The Alchemy of Forever aside, it was an enjoyable read. Even though I didn't understand why she was so afraid of Cyrus, Sera's fear was palpable - I could almost feel the tension rolling off of her when she thought about being discovered. The romance between her and Noah was cute (if rushed), even if it felt a little creepy for someone as old as Sera to be interested in someone as young as Noah. I was hoping for a slightly less predictable twist at the end, but it does leave me interested enough to find out what happens next.
Worth a Shot!!
I'd heard amazing things about this book before starting it, and I've really been into incarnation and reincarnation lately. So as you can imagine I was really excited to start this book, though I still didn't really know what it was about. I can't say that I am head over heels for it.
It starts with a prologue. Something you may or may not know about me is that I very rarely like a prologue. And the one in this novel especially didn't work for me. It felt very rushed and unbelievable. I was extremely hesitant to continue on after that, but of course I did. I found that parts of the book had the same rushed feeling, but it wasn't too bad to the point where I wanted to give up again.
The plot was interesting, though I always struggle with the "pretending to be a person you're not" storyline. I mean, how does the family and friends not realize that a person has COMPLETELY changed. Sera enters the body of a teenage girl -- something she hasn't been for centuries. This teenage girl was an artist and she had friends and loved ones. She had a complete history that Sera didn't know, and yet she managed to pass as this girl without raising many questions. Uh hello? Am I the only one who just doesn't believe that? But I did really like how Cyrus was after her. There was a definite tension throughout the novel that couldn't be ignored.
Sera was an okay character. She got kind of annoying at times and I really just wanted to smack her. In the beginning she kept going on about how she needs to die. I understand why she believed that and why she kept thinking it, but I don't want to hear about it over and over. It sounded so....emo. And then she was too weak to stick to a decision. She kept saying that she was going to run away, because it was the right thing to do. Then she wouldn't run away, and she would rationalize that STAYING was the right thing to do.
Th romance was all right. It wasn't the heart-thumping kind, but it was still really sweet to read and I was rooting for Sera and her love the entire time. The writing was gorgeous and I love the way that the author incorporated alchemy into the story, though I would like to see a little more of that in the next book. The ending was fabulous, though! It made me eager for the next book and broke my heart.
All in all, this was a book that many people will enjoy, though it didn't particularly rock my socks. I you're looking for a super quick read packed with great tension and an awesome premise, I'd say you should pick up The Alchemy of Forever.