Title: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Published: January 3rd, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Challenge(s): TBR Pile
Grade rate: B-
Seraphina has been alive since the 1300's, made immortal when the boy she was beginning to love back then, Cyrus, saved her from death with a strange liquid - a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. But now, in modern day America, Sera has decided that she can no longer bear the weight of stealing people's lives so she can keep living on. So she decides to run away from Cyrus and end her stolen existence once and for all. Her plan goes awry when she accidentally takes the body of a dying teenager and feels forced to take over her life. When the lines between Sera and Kailey's identity begin to blur, Sera finds a reason to desire to live once more. But she can't shake the guilt of having taken Kailey's life, even if she was dying. And what if Cyrus finds her?
I had high expectations for The Alchemy of Forever and I’m sad to say it didn’t entirely meet them.
Sera is a strange character. She has been alive for a long time, and has finally had enough of living and of taking lives in order to do so. I do understand her disillusionment and eagerness to just stop, I just don’t agree with the way she went about it. She did make an awful number of mistakes with her escape plan; I don’t want to go into details so I don’t spoil the story for you. Sera is a good person, but also a bit lost since Cyrus always took care of everything. When she takes over Kailey’s life she has to pass herself for a teenager, without having a clue how to act. It’s apparent that Kailey was very controlling, a bit volatile, with strong opinions on everything and a snob. Sera/Kailey acts in a complete different way that it’s out of character, but since the changes are good everyone is will to accept them at face value.
Cyrus was an evil, controlling, and intolerant and I don’t understand why Sera didn’t find a way to get rid of him instead (sorry of the violent thoughts!) Noah was actually very sweet, he is Kailey’s childhood friend and he is obviously in love with her. Their romance was believable, and didn’t feel ‘instant’.
One of the things I love the most was Kailey’s family dynamics, this is actually a very close knitted family, which is always refreshing to see.
The plot is a new approach to alchemy that involves ‘body hopping’, but unfortunately the ‘body’ needs to be dead for the alchemist to take over. This part is a bit creepy and totally unnatural; I wish that there was more background information about it and about the life of the coven. The story is quite short, the writing is easy to read and with a comfortable pace. The ending was a cliffhanger which I never appreciate :(
Overall The Alchemy of Forever is a quick, easy read. The next installment, The Impossibility of Tomorrow, will be published in January of next year and will patiently (*cough*) wait for it.
About the cover: The cover is truly beautiful, with a little sheen to it. In it we see Sera and various reflections of her.