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 take the bodies of other humans by 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 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?
Seraphina Ames has walked the streets for over 600 years. At a young age she was turned into an Incarnate, a person who can stay young and live forever due to alchemy, at the hands of her master, Cyrus. For years, Seraphina has watched Cyrus corrupt the lives of innocent individuals, creating an Incarnate family for them to cherish forever. The catch? In order to become an Incarnate one has to switch bodies every so many years, instantly turning their previous host into ashes. Seraphina bears the heartache and guilt of many innocent lives, all of whom would have survived if not for her selfishness of wanting to stay alive. After years of the heart-wrenching guilt, Seraphina has decided that she wants freedom from Cryus. It is her one true wish to never kill another human being. In order to do this she must escape from Cryus, making herself and his precious alchemy recipe disappear forever. Seraphina Ames is ready to die.
While trying to escape from Cyrus and the rest of the Incarnates, Seraphina witnesses the death of a young girl, Kailey Morgan. In an attempt to save Kailey’s life, Seraphina accidentally inhabits her body, turning her previous body into ashes. Accepting her fate, Seraphina makes an effort to portray herself as the real Kailey, taking over her life completely to comfort her friends and family. Seraphina soon finds out, though, that this is not as easy as it sounds. She is faced with personal struggles and heartache, all the while trying to fit into a family that was never hers to begin with.
One thing I enjoyed about The Alchemy of Forever was how bold and unique the characters were. Everyone seemed to have their own individual personality, creating a realistic atmosphere. While reading the novel, I felt as if the characters were right in front of my face. I could picture them in my mind as if everything were really happening. When Seraphina was nervous or scared, I was jumping with nerves right along with her. When Cyrus was angry, I could see his face get red with fury and feel the tension rolling off of his shoulders. And when Nicole spat with envy at Seraphina, I witnessed the jealousy and hatred burning in her eyes. It was an intense experience witnessing the realistic qualities of the story, which made for an overall pleasant read.
My main problem with The Alchemy of Forever is how fast it moves. Chapters speed by every two or three pages, changing scenes almost immediately. While I did enjoy the overall plot, I found that it was rather frustrating having to move throughout the story so quickly. It was nice to have so many stopping places throughout the novel, but I felt that it took away from the story itself. Another thing I disliked was how quick Seraphina was to act like an actual teenager. As a woman who has survived for over 600 years, there should have been adult qualities already imbedded in her mind. Instead, she was quick to act like an actual sixteen-year-old girl. One might argue that she was simply pretending so no suspicion of her true identity would surface. However, her child-like qualities seemed to appear even when she was alone. I wish that Williams would have made it a little more difficult for Seraphina to adapt into a sixteen-year-old body, as it would have appeared more realistic.
While I appreciated the read of The Alchemy of Forever, I probably wouldn’t read it again. If you want to be able to put a book down at night, this would make a great read. If one wanted to be sucked into the pages for hour after hour, though, this wouldn’t be the book for them. The Alchemy of Forever was a cute, light read. Overall, though, it is a book that one would tend to forget about.
Publication Date: January, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Challenge: Debut Author
Teaser Quote: “-“Magic?” I whisper. “Science,” he replies. I am astounded, and delighted. “I don’t care what you call it,” I say. “It’s still magic to me.”