Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

2012, around the world tours, Avery Williams, first in a series, review, Simon and Schuster, young adult 3 Comments 1st January, 2012

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Incarnation #1
Purchase: Book Depository

People say ‘love never dies’… but love might be the death of Seraphina. 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. She doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies. When we meet Sera, she has 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. Unfortunately, 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, and if she stays in one place for long, she puts herself—and the people she’s grown to care for—in danger.

I finished The Alchemy of Forever last night, but it took me five days to read. It’s only 256 pages, which at my normal pace would only take me two days, unless I absolutely loved it in which case I could’ve finished it in one. I did not however. I’ll be honest, this book and I were not a good match, which is unfortunate because I thought I would love it.

I think for me what killed is that I didn’t really feel like there was any character development. We have two six-hundred year old kids, and yet I don’t know anything about them, except that apparently Cyrus is controlling and evil. And while I did see that that was true, he was barely present for the entire novel. The book would have been more suspenseful and page-turning for me if he’d been more involved with the plot than just being the ghost of a threat.

The rest of the characters, including Sera herself, weren’t much better. I’m sorry but I just couldn’t find any real personality in these people. Except in Sera/Kailey, who is clearly someone wracked with indecision with any major decision she has to make. Kill herself, don’t. Run away, don’t. And we hardly got to know anything about the others. The only thing we learn about the coven is how each member was met and made into an Incarnate. I would’ve loved more character development, especially more back story about the time these people have spent together, the bonds created from that.

There were also some things that felt like they got dropped. Sera/Kailey helps a girl named Taryn, who ends up supposedly stealing Sera’s bag of important stuff. While it’s a likely assumption, we don’t actually know that’s what happens, and Sera makes a paltry effort at finding Taryn, then seems to forget about that entirely near the end. And the ending was completely WTF. If what I think has happened did happen, that just ticks me off.

Overall, this book just didn’t do it for me, which definitely saddened me. Usually I know what I’m likely to enjoy so this doesn’t happen very often, and is the reason why there aren’t very many reviews like this. I have not decided yet whether I’ll read the inevitable sequel for this book.

I didn’t love this book, but here are some who did. Get both sides of the spectrum!

3 Responses to “Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams”

  1. Sophia

    Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book. Characters are a huge deal for me as well, and so I doubt I’d like this one. Thanks for the heads up! I think I’ll pass on this book.

  2. kimba88

    eek..i pre-ordered this based on other reviewers that loved the book. Character development is important to me…oh well..guess I will try to approach it with positive thoughts.


    I didn’t love this one either, for the same exact reasons you did. I swear my review is almost a copy of yours and I did not read yours before I posted mine. I even hesitated to post mine because everyone on Good Reads seems to have seen something in this book that I didn’t. But I just agree with everything you say!


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