Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: The Alchemy of Forever


Author: Avery Williams
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
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 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?
Seraphina first 'died' when she was 14 years old. But the smitten son of the local alchemist tipped a vial of immortality to her mouth and made her an immortal, an Incarnate. Switching from body to body after the old one wears out, living her life inside vessels stolen from others. 600 years later and Seraphina has had enough. She's tired of living with the guilt of killing people, tired of living under Cyrus' ever watchful eye, tired, tired, tired. So on the night she is meant to take a new body, she makes a run for it. For the first time in all her life, she's alone, she's free. But she doesn't plan to stay free for long. Her plan is to die, to do her last good deed and break out of this cursed life. But death does not come easy to one who has survived this long and before she realises it, Seraphina has slipped into the body of 17 year of Kailey Morgan. And for the first time since she became an immortal, Sera lived. As Kailey, she has the closest thing to a family as those she was born with. The Morgan's are a tight-knit, loving unit and naturally, Sera quickly begins to form an attachment to them, even with guilt gnawing at her for the daily deceit. Which makes things more complicated, because the more invested she becomes, the harder she finds it to leave.

Cyrus may not be physically present throughout the majority of the novel, but the threat of him is just as tangible. What we discover about him is rather disturbing. He's an aggressively controlling man. He gets what he wants, no matter the consequence. He likes to keep everyone around him on a very short leash. No one dare defy him because his psychotic wrath is not something you want to be on the receiving end of. It's only if he allows you to go somewhere, be someone, learn something. If he doesn't, then he becomes violent, physically and verbally. And to be stuck in a 600-year abusive relationship that like? I'm kind of disappointed it took Sera that long to run away from him. He's a total creep and just living a few months under his control would make me burst an artery!

The constant worry - will he find her? - is present throughout. In flashbacks, we see what horrors he is truly capable of, even to those he claims to care about. So what will happen to Seraphina, his supposed 'lover', if he tracks her down? A part of me secretly hoped he would, primarily because I wanted to see something cruel and twisted happen to him because the guy is a douche and it's about time someone took him down a peg. Yet at the same time, I didn't want him coming in to mess things up, especially as Sera/Kailey and Noah were in the midst of something sweet and tender. Noah's the kind of guy Sera needs after the centuries spent under the rule of a dictator masked as a lover. She's been with Cyrus nearly her entire life, so she's never had the opportunity to explore the first fluttering of romance with another person. It was endearing to watch as she and Noah shared something special.

I enjoyed the fast moving storyline, but sometimes I wished it would have slowed a little to allow for more development. I'd have liked certain scenes to last longer or to explore key characters and their relationships on a deeper level. Especially Kailey and Noah. I wanted to pull apart the layers of their history. We're treated to a very quick peek at it, but not enough to satiate my hunger. I'm guessing we may learn more of it in the sequel, but I would have found it more rewarding to have that understanding in the first book. I was also expecting a little more explosive action and excitement, but while it lacked in that department, the story did still kept me hooked until the very last page.

The Alchemy of Forever is an engrossing read that you will breeze through in the one sitting. It's fast-paced and when danger presents itself, it keeps you on your toes, alert for whatever nasty is lurking ahead. The ending especially left me gasping, I hope it doesn't mean what I think it does!! It's one of those evil cliffhangers that make you curse the long wait until the sequel, because we really need an answer now as to what exactly is going on. Captivating mythology, intriguing characters and a succinct, speedy pace, The Alchemy of Forever is a perfect afternoon indulgence.

3.5/5 Golden Apples!

16 comments:

  1. I'm really intrigued by the sound of this one. I've heard from a few people that it's fairly slow and yet fast at the same time. I love the sound of Sera and Cyrus sounds SO evil. Great review Brodie

    The Cait Files

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  2. I do agree with you in terms of the pacing . . . I kind of wished there was more development between the characters and learning just a little bit more about the character's histories (especially with the supporting characters). But nonetheless it was still an amazing debut novel. Great review, Brodie! :)

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  3. Aaah, Brodie! Your review is perfection! For some reason, I'm finding this one really hard to get into. I love the mythology, and I've been dying to read it. I like Sera. I feel her weariness and ennui and pain, but... did the start seem slow to you? From the beginning through to her becoming Kailey? It's funny... I loved the prologue, and I think it kind of did happen fast... but I think that Sera is so... introverted and introspective, so far it's given me this feeling of detachment from the surrounds, and this sense of quiet? Even when she's feeling, and being chased, and it's exciting and fast, it... hmm...

    Ugh, and for once 'psychotic' is not something that sounds funny. You're right. Cyrus is... he's a psychopath. It's such a shame, because from what I've read (I'm only a third of the way in), it sounds like he was a sweet boy, once upon a time. Time's warped him... need to finish. Maybe he was awful all along? I want to call him a creeper, but I don't want you to connect Cyrus to 'creeper', then to ME, and then think I'm evil, as well as silly XD

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  4. Yikes. Cyrus definitely sounds like a creeper (no offense, Sarah!), but I like the idea behind the book. I think the whole character development thing might bother me should I choose to read it, but I guess I won't know until I try, right? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brodie! :)

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  5. An indulgence you say? Hmm, perhaps I should read this one on principle :P

    What IS gonna bother me about this book is the lack of character depth. I WANTS to know more about these characters and understand them better. And I'm not going to enjoy witnessing her deceit towards the Kailey's family. That's kind of devastating.

    Asher

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  6. Sometimes I think you must be a mind reader, Brodie -- this review was SO PERFECT! :) I felt the exact same way about everything that you mentioned in your review, especially about Noah and Kailey's history (and I love how you said that you wished we could've peeled back the layers a little -- that's such a brilliant way to put it! <3). I really liked the fast paced too because it helped me devour it in one sitting, but a little more detail would've been nice. :) Still, this book really was sweet!

    Amazing review as always, Brodie! <3 And ohmygosh, if that ending means what I think you think it means, then we are in for one really crazy wait! x)

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  7. I don't think I've read any books that sound even a little similar to this so after reading your review, I want to check it out!

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  8. This book sounds so fascinating! I love the concept. I haven't read it yet, and I've heard mixed things about it, but after reading your review, I want to read it so badly! So maybe there are a few not-so-great things about the book, but it sounds like there are also many awesome elements! Wonderful review, Brodie! Thanks so much for sharing. :) <3

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  9. I've read a LOT of mixed reviews on this one! Thanks for the heads up about the killer cliffhanger! I've been warned and I will proceed with caution :)
    Nice review!
    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

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  10. ...guy is a douche and it's about time someone took him down a peg. Pffttt sorry...I cracked up laughing when I read that!
    While I like fast-paced books, I have a feeling this one will be..a little too fast-paced for my liking :S Hmm...why does this sound a little like EVERNEATH to me?1?! (Cole = Cyrus, and Jack...well..NO ONE CAN COMPARE TO JACK but..for the sake of this comparison..Jack = Noah?)
    I think I'll read this next after Article 5! It does sound intriguing so I'm looking forward to it <3 Awesomee review Brodie!! I'm glad you enjoyed this one!<3

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  11. I really like the sound of this book! I am ao intrigued! Though I am a little put off over there not being enough development over some things. I guess I'll just see how I like it. Grat review, Brodie! Thank you :)

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  12. I think the lack of development (especially in the characters) would bother me a bit, but I am definitely intrigued by the story in this one. I'm most interested in this Cyrus person, he sounds really evil! Great review, Brodie. Glad you enjoyed this one overall - I'm pretty excited to read it, even though there are some issues with it :).

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  13. I really liked this, but the ending... oh it made me loose all the interest and love I held for the book. I know it was supposed to be cliffhangery, but it ruined it all for me. I couldn't believe it!

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  14. Oh WOW! This is an amazing review as always :D AND I NEED TO READ THIS. AHHH. Must finish to-read pile. It sounds incredibly intriguing and like a fairly enjoyable read :)

    <3

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  15. Hello Brodie! It's nice to know that weekends do exist and I can go online for 2 days. :) I love the way you review this. I love fast paced books however, I'll have to agree with you. The risk with the fast pace is that sometimes it's so hard to deal with development. Sometimes we readers have to catch up with what's happening. I love the idea of this. Seraphina moving from body to body. ALchemy? Immortality? Oh I have to read this! Great review! :)

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  16. I'm really looking forward to reading this one - a bit worried about the character development (especially since the book is pretty short), but hopefully it'll work out for me as I love the sound of it!

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