Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I own a physical copy of this book.
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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?
I had The Alchemy of Forever on my maybe read list for the Debut Author Challenge. With the recent bad author behavior, however, I moved it up onto the definitely read list, and I am extremely glad I did. This was a great book. It's getting some mixed reviews, and no, it wasn't perfect, but I did find it enjoyable. And truthfully, I really fell in love with the story. But before I get to that, I want to get the negative out of the way first.
I had a major plot hole issue. Or maybe you wouldn't call it a plot hole exactly, but I felt there were some things that needed explaining, and the author never managed to get there. Let me elaborate. I understand that the incarnates stole bodies from people that either lived alone, were addicted to drugs, or made bad decisions with their lives (as if this is supposed to somehow excuse the fact that they are still committing murder), but what about the families of these people? They don't notice that the victim somehow disappears? They don't contact the police? Their faces aren't plastered all over the television and internet? Just because someone lives alone or is a drug addict doesn't mean that they don't have family that cares. This was never explained by the author and it kind of ticked me off. You can't just gloss over explanations. Your readers need to know. To me it was a cop out and an easy out to just avoid explaining the difficult stuff. You can't do that. It's extremely lazy writing.
If you can overlook this though, which I somehow managed to do, I thought this book was a great read. To me, the writing was the perfect combination of setting the scene, creating emotion, and storytelling. The plot was fast-paced and I found the storyline to be awesomely orginal. It was a great concept. I just wish the actual alchemy aspect had been explained more. I really felt the author glossed over a few of the important details.
Sera was an amazing character. I wasn't as forgiving of her past actions as she was, but I did think that she was working hard to become a better person. And you have to start somewhere, right? I did love all the differing conflicts in her personality and that ended up making me really root for her. She was perfectly flawed, but still loveable.
The villain was kickass and terrifying. Really. He could hide in any body at any time and you would never know he was there. Not to mention, he was a straight up sociopath. Scary stuff. The scenes with Cyrus kind of freaked me out to be honest. The thought of someone like that existing made my skin slightly crawly.
The ending. Had I not been warned about the monstrous cliffhanger at the end of the story, I would have thrown this book across the room. But I was warned and I went ahead and spoiled the ending for myself before reading. I hate cliffhangers. Especially the kind that have absolutely no resolution whatsoever. And that's exactly the kind of cliffhanger that this story has. There is not a completed story arc here. It just cuts off. And it sucks. But like I said. I was prepared so I didn't care all that much. And I'd love to talk about my theories on the ending, but I don't want to spoil it, so if you want to discuss, come and find me.
So my final rating is 4/5 stars. It would have been 5, but for the plothole that made me want to throw things. The author needs to stop glossing over details to suit her story. You can't do that. Facts are facts, and reality is reality. I hope to not find that in the next book. Still a great story though. Loved the originality and I couldn't put it down.
To order a copy of The Alchemy of Forever from Amazon.com, click here: The Alchemy of Forever: An Incarnation Novel