Author: Avery Williams
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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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.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.
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?
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!