Review – The Alchemy of Forever
  • Posted:
  • November 26, 2011

I started The Alchemy of Forever three+ weeks ago, got halfway through it, then accidentally abandoned it at my dentist office (an hour away from where I live). This caused many annoyed shouts of expletives when I realized I couldn’t finish it later in the evening. A recent trip home for the holidays turned it back up in my greedy little hands and I devoured the rest of it immediately.

Avery Williams’s 2012 debut starts in London in 1349. A man named Cyrus is pursuing the beautiful Seraphina at a masked ball. When a fatal accident leaves her in peril, he tells her he can make her live forever and, foolhardy though it be, she takes him up on it. Flash forward several hundred years and it is present day. Cyrus has an alchemical formula which allows for continued life. There is a cost, the immortal must change bodies every few years. A human life is the secret to their longevity.

Sera vows that she will not take another life. To this end, she drugs Cyrus and escapes, planning to let her body degenerate to nothing so that she can finally die. But a second accident leaves her in a position she didn’t expect to be. Suddenly she’s in the body of Kailey Morgan, a 16-year-old artist. She has two choices, to keep running or to go along with fate. Which will she choose?

It’s hard to rank this one since I read half of it several weeks ago and was finally afforded the chance to finish it. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but the break in the reading made the ending suffer. I didn’t feel the climactic rush I should have had when the ending smacked me upside the head. This was a bit jarring, and disappointing, but I can hardly blame Williams for my own stupidity in leaving the book behind. Still, I don’t think the book is perfect. For me I would have appreciated a little more fleshing out of everyone involved. The character building and the pacing felt a little rushed for me, even with the three week gap in between reading the beginning and the end. It seemed forced to establish a bunch of people and then quickly veer from them to another bunch of people…unless everyone shows up in book two, which  I’m sure they will, or else why include them to begin with?

It’s a touch flawed. However, for the first time ever I think I am going to say this – I wanted this book to be about 75 pages longer than it turned out to be. It just felt so short and I wanted more. Williams left me wanting more, and that’s a good thing to say about a first time book. 4 out of 5 stars. I’m very curious to read the next one.

– BP

* The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams releases January 3, 2012.

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