Review: The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1) by Avery Williams

February 1, 2012 Review 0

Title: The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)
Author: Avery Williams
January 2012
YA, fantasy

Challenges: 2012 Debut Author, e-Book

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.

— Cover Critique —
The cover is absolutely gorgeous. All that purple, pink and blue! Plus, I really love how they illustrated the body swapping with the ghosted image of Serpaphina. 

— Expectations —

I expected a thrilling fantasy with some great discussions about alchemy and the ethics of taking of swapping bodies. 

— Review —

The Alchemy of Forever starts out with very little in the way of an introduction, thrusting the reader into a very important scene between Seraphina and Cyrus, with little foreknowledge of the characters. I think this is the biggest problem I had with the story – not enough time was spent character building (although there are two exceptions) and as a result I had very little invested in the characters and the story. The characters often seemed forced and unnatural, and for some it felt like their role was to pad the story with more faces and names. However, I do think that the two main male characters of Cyrus and the boy next door, Noah, were the exception as they were interesting characters. Cyrus was downright creepy and manipulative, as a good villain should be. Noah was interesting and quirky, kind and caring. I just wish the other characters, especially Seraphina, were given as much attention in the writing process. 

The plot was interesting what with alchemy and body swapping and all, but again, the way it was carried out didn’t work for me. The author was telling the reader a lot of things instead of showing and this made quite dull for me.  The story often seemed to go in circles – Seraphina feels guilty, Seraphina makes a plan, plan fails – wash, rinse, repeat. Honestly, it got a bit annoying, especially when a large part of the book was Seraphine just being scared of Cyrus finding her. 

I’m not saying that this book was down and out awful. The Alchemy of Forever had promise – a thrilling fantasy with a great plot, but a dull main character and too much repetition led to it just being an “OK” read for me. In the end, the reader was left with a cliffhanger of sorts. I might pick up the next book in the series when it comes out, but I think I’ll be borrowing it from my local library instead of purchasing it. I just hope the author can flush out the character of Seraphina more fully by then.

I’m not going to say don’t read this book, or the sequel, because my opinion of the book won’t necessarily be yours. If you are interested in some more favourable reviews of The Alchemy of Forever then please check out the links below:

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