Monday, July 23, 2012

The Alchemy of Forever Review

Author: Avery Williams
Release date: January 3, 2012

Pages: 256

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

How I got it: For review from publisher
Seraphina has been alive since the 1300's, made immortal when the boy she was beginning to love back then, Cyrus, saved her from death with a strange liquid - a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. But now, in modern day America, Sera has decided that she can no longer bear the weight of stealing people's lives so she can keep living on. So she decides to run away from Cyrus and end her stolen existence once and for all. Her plan goes awry when she accidentally takes the body of a dying teenager and feels forced to take over her life. When the lines between Sera and Kailey's identity begin to blur, Sera finds a reason to desire to live once more. But she can't shake the guilt of having taken Kailey's life, even if she was dying. And what if Cyrus finds her?

Yeah, I feel like that may be The Alchemy of Forever's theme song, because that was basically what happened: Seraphina questioned whether she should stay or go, stay or go, here or there, etc.

A potion that gives you eternal life--but you have to then live that eternal life knowing you've killed many people just to keep yourself going? That plot idea frigging ROCKS and could provide some great inner turmoil and food for thought. However, 
I can't help but feel that more should've happened in those 250 pages, because nothing did. Seraphina went through her day to day activity, she kept going back and forth on whether to stay or whether to go (The Clash, anyone?), she kept fearing Cyrus. That was pretty much it.

Luckily, it had its positives, like Noah. Maybe it's because any guy that listens to Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes has my heart forever, but I really liked him. He didn't give me butterflies or anything, but I liked his sweet boy-next-door vibe.

Another positive would be that The Alchemy of Forever didn't feel too much like a run-of-the-mill paranormal novel, but it felt more like magic realism, kind of like Forget-Me-Not. I have to say, I definitely prefer that to paranomal. The tone of both of the magic realism books I've read are less emo and serious than paranormal, which is a very nice change of pace.

Anyways, The Alchemy of Forever was a decent read, especially if you have a day to kill.

Plot: Cool, original idea, though that idea got over-shadowed by the overall lack of direction the book had.
Characters: Seraphina was a tad bland but not bad, and I really liked Noah.
Writing: Pretty good. Repetitive, though.
Ending: SUCKED. (Highlight for MAJORMAJOR spoiler to see why:) So, just because Noah spelled "alchemy" in Words With Friends doesn't mean Cyrus took Noah's body. How does that make sense? If he DID, it would be a huge coincidence that Noah just happened to have the letters to spell "alchemy" before Cyrus took his body. And if Cyrus DID take Noah's body, I will be PISSED. Anyways, because of the cliff-hanger I might pick of the next one.
Mature content: Mentions of abuse, maybe some swearing.
I would put the book down to talk to you, but not for long and not just for anything.
I'm totally on the fence about The Alchemy of Forever. I didn't love it or hate it, I didn't like it or dislike it. I wasn't even indifferent to it, it just had both its good and bad elements. If you're looking for something slightly magical, though, try this one.
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  1. I like your review! The plot sounds super interesting (and I don't usually read that type of book). But it sounds like it doesn't have much going for it besides a super cool idea. Thanks for being honest! I might still read it though.... maybe :)

  2. I like your review. The plot sound interesting and unique. Too bad it wasn't pulled off that well.

  3. I've had this on my shelf for awhile, but nothing about it has ever really grabbed me. I'm sorry you're on the fence about it, it's always disappointing when that happens! But thank you for your honest review :)


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