Book Review: Alchemy of Forever

The Alchemy of Forever
by Avery Williams
Genre: Paranormal
Big Themes: immortality, alchemy, death, souls, humanity, escape, friendship, love, suicide
2012 Debut Author Challenge

Summary: Seraphina should have died 600 years ago, but a young alchemist named Cyrus had her drink an elixir that would allow her to insert her soul into any human body and enable her to live forever.  However, the human soul that originally inhabited the body… dies.  Sera is tired of being a murderer for her own survival and decides it’s time to escape Cyrus, who doesn’t want her to leave him.

What I Liked:
The premise had potential.  The idea of living forever by slipping your soul into others bodies and the conflict that creates (either you die or they die) was interesting.

The villain was pretty scary.  Manipulative, stalker, violent boyfriends rank up there in types of people I don’t like… and I could pretty easily find myself both hating and fearing Cyrus.

What I Didn’t Like:
I had lots of questions.  Lots of logistical issues with the plot, world, and characters.

  • First, would someone who had lived for 600 years really not mature at all and end up finding happiness as a 16 year old girl?
  • Would immortal beings really spend most of their time partying and not find some greater purpose?
  • Would a 600 year old being really be able to pass off as a 16 year old?  There are several times it is too obvious that Kailey is no longer Kailey, and I wanted the characters in the story to address it.
  • It was my understanding that the elixir made through alchemy allows the soul to become a free entity that can reattach to any body, but how can this soul heal a body near death?  I had a hard time suspending disbelief here.  Where does this healing power come from?  A little too magical for me.
I just had a really hard time buying into the idea that a 600 year old soul could still sound and behave like a 16 year old girl.  I don’t think what makes us age and mature is our bodies but our experiences.  What I mean is, I think after you have certain experiences, your outlook on life changes and develops.  I can’t imagine someone who has seen the tragedies of the world over a period of 600 years could then find satisfaction going to high school and crushing on the boy next door.
My Rating:  I was glad this was a short, quick read.  There’s a cliffhanger ending, but I probably won’t read the next book because I didn’t become terribly invested in the story or characters.  I’d give the book 2.5 stars.  Just meh.  Average.  Had potential, but it wasn’t well thought out.
COMING SOON… My review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth!

6 comments on “Book Review: Alchemy of Forever

  1. fakesteph says:

    I think my biggest pet peeve with books is when they don't live up to their potential… I would rather read a "fun, just okay" book that lived up to its full potential than a great book that could have been taken that much farther. So disappointing!

  2. I wonder if age and maturity are connected. You hear about people having old or young souls, so maybe it's not always related to the body, but I totally get your point.

  3. Hmm, I'm sorry you didn't love this one! But I understand what you're saying about the whole 600-year-old passing as a 16-year-old and the question of why these old souls would just want to party… I've got this one on my TBR list but I won't rush to read it… Great review!

  4. LHughes says:

    I totally agree!

  5. LHughes says:

    That's a good point about people have old/young souls. But you definitely get the vibe from the book that she is mature and wise… not flighty and immature. Which contradicts with her being 16. I don't know. It just didn't work/feel right to me.

  6. LHughes says:

    I saw on goodreads that you had it on your to-read list. The summary really intrigued me… and I needed to read more DAC titles. I think I'm doing Incarnate next. After Insurgent and Bitterblue 🙂

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