The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnates #1)

The Alchemy of ForeverBy Avery Williams

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased

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?

Goodreads Summary

Surprise, surprise, this first caught my attention because of the cover and then the whole immortal thing drew me in. I’d read the really great Mercy by Rebecca Lim that has a storyline that’s vaguely similar, with a character that jumps body to body, so this went right right on my to-buy list. The pacing in this was a little weird and a lot went unanswered but I love the potential of Sera and what could be done with the series.

There’s really not much I can add to the book blurb above without being pretty redundant. One thing that isn’t mentioned that plays a role in both the accident with Kailey and Cyrus is Sera meeting a junkie named Taryn that she later suspects has made off with a book of alchemy she stole from Cyrus.

This didn’t take long to read which was both good and bad. It was bad because if this had been lengthier, I really would have liked to see a bigger section at the beginning with Sera and the other Incarnates (Cyrus plus four others). They were a weird group of frenemies led by the demented Cyrus and I felt a little cheated by the barest glimpse of them that there was outside of Sera’s thinking. It was good because even as much as I liked Sera/Kailey and the sweet Noah and their relationship, the story was sort of going nowhere up until the very end. Slowly.

Unlike her usual no-fuss transfer into a host, Sera actually has to go back home and become the teenaged Kailey, adjusting to parents, a brother, a bunch of best friends and a cute neighbor who’s had a crush on her for years. I was really enjoying Sera learning to become Kailey, to make her life better, to spend time with her friends and definitely to see her new romance with the adorable Noah begin. Then I looked down at the progress bar on my Kindle and was shocked to see the book was almost over because the plot hadn’t gone anywhere yet.

Of course there was drama to come since the book wasn’t going to end with a boring-ever-after, even if it was happy. I was partially surprised by the “who” of it but at the very end, my jaw dropped. It’s a major cliffhanger and now I’m almost afraid to pick up the next book.

My Summary: This is really a hard-won rating. I know I can be tough on books for weird reasons but in this case, one of those odd reasons elevated it. I liked Sera/Kailey and Noah so much and was so engrossed in just the mundane parts of their budding relationship that I let nearly an entire book go by without even noticing it. I wish something about their time together had actually moved the Incarnates plot along or that maybe some time that was spent on something else had gone to early time in the book with Sera and the full group of Incarnates, but maybe that’s to come in the next book. I really don’t know if I’m going to read it because I’m seriously nervous about the way this ended. Is that a good thing? I may be too weird to decide right now.

My Rating: B



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