Review: The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

  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?

(Description from Goodreads)

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Okay, I actually picked up this book, not for its cover, but for the word “alchemy” being in the title. Why? Because I used to be obsessed with the anime show Fullmetal Alchemist. The concept behind this story wasn’t all that far removed from one of the topics in that show: the concept of reincarnation through the transferring of souls and bodies. I was really drawn to that idea, hence why I first picked up the book.

Now, my rating of 2.5 out of 5 may seem harsh, but I’ll explain.

Besides the idea behind the book, I really liked the characters. Seraphina (aka Sera) has been transferring her soul into multiple bodies since her original body from the 1300’s. At first, everything was great, as she was young (in soul) and with the boy she fell in love with. However, time changes things (and people) and Sera finds herself pulling away from Cyrus, the young alchemist who first transferred her soul.

Sera seems like she can make a spectacular heroine and Cyrus definitely makes a frightening villain. The other characters that join Sera and Cyrus’ group seem to have unique personalities, but they were not developed to the extent they could have been. Even with Sera, I found myself wanting to see her true personality come out more, and not the teenage persona she was supposed to take on after taking over yet another body, this one of Kailey, who was on the brink of death. The character development just wasn’t all the way there. I was thrown off with how fast Sera was able to adapt to a teenager’s life and mannerisms; as someone who has been alive since the 1300’s, I expected there to be some difficulty in returning to a teen’s lifestyle. Sera was definitely an intricate character, but it was to the point where it was difficult to really get a feel for her. There characters themselves were great, but I felt there wasn’t a strong connection between the reader and the characters.

Another thing that I was bummed about was how fast the book was. At only around 250 pages, this was a nice quick read, but it was way too fast. Now I realize that this is just the first book in the series, but it could have been longer and way more developed than it was. Everything seemed to jump around all over the place; chapters were short, which made it really difficult to actually get involved in the story, as it was ending so abruptly every few pages.

I feel like this first book in the series could have truly been outstanding. However, the lack of character development and the shortness of the first book made it difficult for me to really delve deeper into the story. I really hope the next book in the series will be a great one, as this one left with a really good (…or perhaps awful depending on how you look at it) cliffhanger! Here’s hoping!

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