Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster January 3rd 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy with a touch of Supernatural
Series: Yes, first book!
Other Books From Author: The Impossibility of Tomorrow (Book 2– It’s out in June!)
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon | Goodreads | @averyeverywhere |

Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing—taking the lives of innocent people—was wrong. Yet she doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies.

Sera has just landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. But she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her. If she stays in one place for long, she puts 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?

If you think you know anything about reincarnation, The Alchemy of Forever will make sure that you know NOTHING! Seraphina first ‘died’ when she was 14 years old, in the era of Old English and poofy dresses, but the smitten son of an old alchemist, Cyrus, tipped a vial of immortality down her throat and she’s now immortal. Fast forward a few centuries and Seraphina is tired of killing girls and slipping her soul into their bodies to stay alive. She wants out, she wants to destroy this dark magic of immortality that Cyrus made, but Cyrus will stop at nothing to find her and drag her back by the hair. EEE!!

Sera makes a very cinematic character. She is optimistic, smart, and feels guilty towards the girls who died for her. After she slipped into the body of Kailey, I had fun watching how she pieces the puzzles of Kailey’s life, from her artful room to her dynamic friendships to the not-so-innocent character stuffed into her drawer. The clues are so subtle that it’s the first time uncovering someone’s life felt like an exciting uphill battle.

Speaking of battle, The Alchemy of Forever gives off a creeping danger, so silent yet so lethal, I had to try very very hard to keep my fingers from shaking. We know Cyrus is out there, we know he’ll be hunting for Sera, and we don’t want to know what tortures he have in mind. His immortality allows him to slip into the bodies of anyone, just ANYONE, and imagine the constant fear Sera has to live in. Who knows if the guy standing next to you is your psychotic ex? Warning signs flash all over the pages and you are in for surprises!

Luckily, we have Noah, the cute-boy-next-door who diffuses the tension with his easy smile. Though Kailey has always kept Noah at arm’s length in public, and has only indulged in his presence when on her own, the old Kailey is gone. As we learn about the many flaws of Kailey and watch Sera try to rebuild her life, we also see Noah falling for the girl who is now different in a good way. Their relationship is nothing explosive or intensive but it adds a wonderful sense of comfort that complements the suspense. We still have evil Cyrus hot on her heels after all…

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22 thoughts on “Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

  1. I’ve been interested in reading this one for a while now, but I think I was thrown off by the length of the book. I seem to remember it being kind of short. I don’t know why I have this weird aversion to short books, the idea that the longer the book the better it is hasn’t always paid off for me. Haha.
    I love the names in this book, and I’ve always loved immortals.
    Thank you for sparking my interest again! I think I’ll put this one back on my tbr list.
    Great review.

    • I’ve read quite a number of reviews commenting on the length of this book, but I thought it was just right! I don’t have much preference to the length of books but longer books definitely promise more development in plot and characters. I love the names too, and I know there’s this very awesome book “Seraphina” that I HAVE to read haha! Hope you’ll enjoy reading The Alchemy of Forever as much as I did :)

  2. AMAZING!! I borrowed TAoF (haha funny acronyms) from the library just last week and I really want to start reading it! Won’t it be cool if we could inhabit someone else’s body and live their life? Okay, but I get how Sera feels guilty of robbing those girls of their chance to live. CYRUS IS JUST… TERRIBLE. VERY TERRIBLE. I totally agree with your word choice: psychotic ex!

    • Are you sure that’s cool? xD It’ll be kindof scary living someone else’s life and waking up in a different identity each time! I heard David Levithan’s deals with that, got to have it soon!! GAAAH After you read TAoF (yeah… A very funny acronym…) you’ll be so frightened of that crazy Cyrus >.<

      • C’mon, where’s your adventurous spirit?! XD Living in a different identity can be creepy I guess, it’s like an identity crisis haha I saw many crazy fangirl reviews for Every Day, don’t tell me you’ll write one too >:) OKOK I’ll read it, very very soon!!

      • /phew/

        Glad you realize it’s creepy, don’t you go around spooking other’s body with your toot soul!! UHHH WELL… YOU KNOW… Fangirling is my forte ;) But nope, I haven’t read Every Day yet and I plan to sometime this month, while you’d better read TAoF and spazz over it with me!

  3. This book was a bit short for me, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless! My main gripe would have to be how quickly Sera adjusted to the life she didn’t mean to steal, but I still understand why she felt that way. I can’t wait for the sequel! Great review, Alicia! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

    • I’m not very picky about lengths and I thought Sera’s transition was rather believable, especially the part where she was stalking Kailey’s friends on Facebook haha! :D I can’t wait for the sequel either, thanks for dropping by!

  4. Great review, Alicia. Sera’s growth as a new person was definitely intriguing and I love the sweet moments between her and Noah. The cliffhanger at the end got me, I must know what Cyrus did to them…

    • Thank you, Chloe! Watching Sera put herself into Kailey’s shoes (literally) and living Kailey’s life was very exciting and the whole time I was praying that she won’t slip-up and get caught :P I KNOW, THAT CLIFFHANGER. ARGHHHH. GO AWAY CYRUS. GO AWAY >.<

  5. I’ve been looking forward to your review. I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that I never really thought Sera could adjust to her new life. I was ok with it being short but I guess I had hoped she would have reacted differently since she’s one old lady who survived centuries.

    Overall I did enjoy the book and the writing – it just didn’t blow me away.

    • I know where you’re coming from because it is quite hard to wrap your mind around the idea of a 14th century person being comfortable on Facebook! xD But I guess I’ll let it pass, I’m not bothered by details unless the affect the big picture, thanks for stopping by :)

  6. Now you’re making me feeling so bad for not picking this up earlier, it sounds so good!! Sera sounds like an awesome protagonist and I find the idea of reincarnating into someone else’s body really interesting, great review!

    • No such meaning intended, though you really should pick this up and give it a try, Sera’s voice felt raw and real to me :) I’ve heard quite a number if these reincarnating books but never got to read them, now I know I have to!

  7. I’ve been searching for reviews on this for a while and yes I agree you! Basically when I was talking to my friends about how great this book was, everything was in caplocks! I seriously loved this book so much for so many different reasons but mainly because I just felt close to Sera’s struggles. The entire time I just really wanted her to be genuinely happy and content with her new life instead of worrying about that Cyrus.

    Also, the ending omg??!

    • Haha I was very tempted to use capslock but uhh I’ll get carried away and you’ll get a page full of nonsensical blabberings!! Sera’s voice felt close to me as well, probably because I can understand her uncertainty and insecurity in this new life, and her constant fear of something dark and evil (like school. bah.)

      URGHH THAT CLIFFHANGER. I HOPE AVERY WILLIAMS IS NOT THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING. OH NO.

  8. Pingback: Sunday Post: February 3 | Summer Next Top Story

    • Thank you, Kimberly! I’ve got lots of books shoved into my bookshelves and forgotten over time, glad my review made you want to read again, I’m sure as long as we read with an open mind, it won’t disappoint :)

  9. Pingback: Sunday Post: February 3 | Noverly Things

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