The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation, #1)

thealchemyofforeverbyaverywilliamsFirst Lines: The late autumn day is oddly hot for San Francisco.  The morning fog has lifted and the sun’s rays reach my pale skin, but do not warm me.

This was on my to-read list forever, and about a year ago I bought it at a used book sale.  Kinda felt like a win-win.  I could buy it for less than a quarter and then after I read it, I could take it to school for my class library.

Seraphina has been alive since the 1300s.  How?  She fell in love with an alchemist, Cyrus, who cracked the code to immortality.  They can swap bodies with anyone and live forever.  But after years of doing this, Sera has finally seen this for what it is: she’s killing people.  Unable to bring herself to continue doing this but equally unable to let herself die, Sera tries to find some kind of middle ground.  And that means running from Cyrus.  On her own, she finds Kailey, a girl on the brink of death.  And for the first time, she finds herself in the life of the person she’s pretending to be.  She has a family, a crush on the boy next door, and dreams.  So when Cyrus suddenly reappears and threatens all of that, Sera will do what she needs to to protect her new family.  But how far will Cyrus push her?

Alright, so the synopsis sounds pretty good, right?  I thought so too.  But the execution wasn’t quite what I was hoping.

My biggest issue, I think, is with the writing.  It just comes across as immature a lot of the time.  I can’t really describe it.  The details are fluffy and just…kind of dull.  And I think part of that problem stems from the fact that it’s written in present tense, which always just throws me.

I also had a hard time relating to any of the main characters–the immortal ones anyway.  Cyrus is a total control freak with possessive issues.  It was borderline psychotic, which may have been the point?  Sera’s quest to find a dying body seems noble, but does it ultimately change anything?  She’s still hurting Kailey’s family whether she knows it or not.

However, the minor characters weren’t bad at all.  Noah, the boy next door, and big brother Bryan were far more entertaining.  They were funny and sassy.

Also, the action is severely lacking.  Like, even after Sera takes over Kailey’s life, I expected her to do something.  Instead, she becomes something of a homebody.  Nothing against homebodies (I am one myself), but it doesn’t exactly make for an exciting book.  And any time there was suspense, I tended to see right through it.  That killed the mood.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that I thought this book felt kind of aimless.  Sure, Sera’s running from Cyrus and trying to hide.  But when she’s just living Kailey’s life, it really all boils down to, “Why is this person who just said hi to me?  Were they Kailey’s friend or enemy?  How can I find out without them knowing I’m not Kailey?”  It all became dull.

I’d hoped for better, but it didn’t pan out that way.


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