Tuesday, January 3, 2012
"The Alchemy of Forever" by Avery Williams
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
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?
I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I certainly didn't hate it, because I kept reading until the last page. I enjoyed the story and I thought the premise and history of the characters was very intriguing. I think my main issue is there wasn't anything that really jumped out for me. It's a very well written story, but there isn't really any action or conflict in the book. Not all books have to have those elements, but from the blurb on this one I was expecting more than I got.
This book ended up being more about the characters and their lives, or "past lives", as was the case with Sera. I liked her as the main character, but sometimes it seemed like she spent too much time and not enough time focusing on the present. Her former love, and the guy who made her an Incarnate, was always looming over her. She betrayed him and was terrified he would come find her and never let her go. Cyrus was not a good guy, so her fear of him wasn't completely unfounded, but she had the courage to runaway from him and I wanted her to carry that courage with her. She kind of lost her backbone once the plan didn't work out exactly as she wanted, but fortunately by the end of the book, she starts to get a little of that back. Cyrus was definitely the villian here and I will be interested to see where he takes things in the next book. He was creepy, violent and possessive and everytime she described his smile it gave me chills. Noah, the boy next door, was such a sweet guy. I found it completely endearing that Kailey always seemed to run into him while he was walking his dog. A guy that devoted to his dog has got to be good boyfriend material, right? I really liked how things progressed between him and Kailey (Sera) throughout most of the book, it was tentative and honest. The person Kailey became, after Sera took over her body, was someone who would actually give Noah a chance and even enjoyed spending time with him. That wasn't always the case. I do kind of wish the author had waited to have them officially get together until later in the series, though, because it felt kind of rushed after the slow pace of the rest of their relationship.
Overall this was a solidly written story, but don't expect anything too fast paced. The story was intriguing enough that I will definitely be reading the next one, because I really am interested in where the author plans to take the story. It may not be a must have, but it is definitely one worth checking out sometime.