The Alchemy of Forever -- Avery Williams

Alchemy of foreverLondon, 1349. After a chance encounter with with the local apothecary's son and a pair of thieves, fourteen-year-old Seraphina Ames' life changes forever: on the verge of death, Cyrus makes her an immortal.

But there's a price. Immortality is hard on your physical body. So hard that they don't usually even last a decade. In order to survive, Sera—and others like her—steal other peoples' bodies.

San Francisco, now. Well over six hundred years into her life, Sera has had enough. She's done with murdering people—because, really, that's what it is—and she's done with Cyrus, who is manipulative and violent and jealous. Her current body is starting to break down, and she's got a secret plan: rather than jump to another body, she's going to commit suicide. In so doing, she'll finally be free of Cyrus and of this murderous cycle.

But then of course, it all goes wrong...

I wrote briefly about The Alchemy of Forever earlier this month. And now, after finishing the book, I'm comfortable in labeling some of the prose as somewhat repetitive. Cyrus's vial makes another appearance towards the end of the book (in a flashback, so I don't consider that a spoiler), and again:

He unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt and pulled out the vial that he always wore on its silver cord. (234)

I know, I know: it's totally not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but that sort of thing always makes me twitch. Anyway.

That aside, I actually really enjoyed this one. There's a romance between a Young Body/Old Mind and a Young Body/Young Mind, but:

A) it's not the primary focus of the story, and
B) it doesn't come off as creepy.

The lack of creep factor is because Sera:

A) has never been romantically involved with anyone but Cyrus, and
B) is now in a body that's about the same age as she was when she was torn from her original body.

So, in a way, this accident is allowing her to see What Might Have Been. While the love story with Noah is nice enough, it's the other stuff—dealing with high school, being answerable to loving parents, seeing the consequences of her actions (rather than just moving on*), and finding that she has both more freedom (because of escaping Cyrus) and less freedom (she's underage) than she's used to—that's closer to the heart of her journey.

Also, the Cyrus subplot? At moments, mondo creepers. Which is always fun.

Looking forward to Book Two.




Booklist: Alchemy.


Author page.




Book source: ILLed through my library.