Title: The Alchemy of ForeverSeries: Incarnation #1Author: Avery WilliamsPublisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens BooksPublication Date: 26 April 2012Source: The wonderful Lynsey Newton <3Rating: 3/5 EnjoyedSynopsis from GoodreadsAfter 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?
Written in first person narrative from Seraphina's (Sera's) perspective, she is such a wonderfully complex character. After 600 years of swapping bodies she has a overwhelming sense of guilt to accompany her strong moral code, you can sense her innate goodness underlying everything she does.
Inadvertently jumping into the body of Kailey while trying to save her following a car crash, seeing life through Kailey's eyes Sera gives a new appreciation to the little things in live we all may take for granted. Friends, siblings, and parents all react positively to this new found appreciation.
However, it appears Kailey has secrets of her own, plus as the story progresses she doesn't appear to have been the nicest of people. Unfortunately these secrets aren't fully revealed, I am hoping this area will be expanded in the next book.
The inclusion of fantasy art was a stunning addition to the imagery within the narrative. The way in which each person within the story was depicted with their own unique talent made their positive qualities stand out. Showing that there is something to be valued in every person if the time is taken to look for it. Sera is the type of person to look for the good in everyone.
Sera's internal debate regarding he existence of an afterlife added to the atmosphere and emotion of the story as a whole. I thought Sera was a really strong, brave character. Resolving to only take bodies that didn't want to live themselves before resolving to never inhabit another living soul again. It made me consider how I would feel when faced with certain death. Sera is understandably afraid but adamant in her decision no matter what the consequences.
I have to say that I found Cyrus absolutely terrifying, his character has shades of Incy from the Immortal Beloved series but amplified *shudders*. He is a prime example of how power can corrupt. The centuries have made him cruel, where Sera once loved him she now fears him.
The way in which relationships and interactions were portrayed was the best element of the book for me. Avery Williams has managed to create three dimensional realistic characters that you become invested in. I especially adored Noah, although I didn't feel as if there was enough background information about him. I would love to see this aspect developed in the next book. The gut wrenching twist has left me desperate for the next installment.
Blending past, present, death and theology with romance, action and thrilling tension, The Alchemy of Forever is an addictive read.
If the Immortal Beloved series by Cate Tiernan and the Immortals series by Alyson Noel got together, this book would be their love child.