The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Looking for something . . . um . . . to read? Well, the Alchemy of Forever provides that.
Seraphina is an immortal living ever since the twelfth century, when she meets a gorgeous dude, also known as Cyrus, at a ball . . . and within the space of a couple of minutes gets stabbed in the back by a thief. Apparently, since Cyrus can’t live without her and he knows they’re meant to be, he makes her drink a mysterious vial as she’s dying and she doesn’t question much about the whole thing. What happens next? Turns out Cyrus learned alchemy from his father, and now she’s an immortal forced to inhabit a person’s body—code word for killing by the way—at least every ten years to live! Isn’t that great? Oh, and after, like, seven hundred years she’s tired of stealing people’s bodies and wants to move on. Problem? Cyrus ‘just wants to be with her forever’, so she runs in hopes of evading him . . . and accidentally inhabits another body of a teenage girl with a pretty decent life.
Okay, when I first picked the book up, I thought it would be interesting. The concept of the entire thing is downright awesome—from an outsider’s perspective. The alchemy isn’t really delved into, as roughly sixty-five percent of it was devoted on Sera in Kailey’s body. Yes, that was the point of the whole book, but I felt like there could’ve been more. In fact, I should’ve stopped when I read the prologue, which goes something like this:
A Modern and Legible Translation Composed by an Awesome Max
Sera: Omigosh, I’m going to a ball! And I look so gorgeous, completely unlike myself! I don’t even know if it is me!
Cyrus: *pops out of nowhere* You should dance, because I’m the Cyrus!
Sera: But I don’t know anyone—
Cyrus: Um, we’re in a masquerade? The whole point of this is to dance without knowing who you’re dancing with.
Sera: Okay! Let’s dance together! Wait, I think I know you.
Cyrus: I would remember you if I saw you, because I’m the Cyrus!
*dancing intermission, with Sera heating up every time she looks into his ‘vivid blue’ eyes*
Sera: *looks at dude conjuring a bird* WOW! (which is completely natural. I mean, he conjured a freaking bird in the 1300’s. Nothing weird about that at all)
Cyrus: Oh, no, I can do better than that. Why not you come out with me outside? Alone. Which is totally inappropriate in this timeline, but . . . I’m the Cyrus!
Sera: What about my parents?
Cyrus: Meh. It’s just along the street. What can go wrong?
*walking to the street, street, walking to the street, gonna sit on a stone bench, sit, sit, sit*
Cyrus: May I?
Sera: I have no clue what you’re going to do, but sure!
Cyrus: *combs hands through Sera’s hair and pulls out one of the roses in there* It’s dead, unlike these other flowers in the garden. So watch, because I’m the Cyrus! *revives flower with vial and liquid*
Sera: Oooooh, magic?
Sera: It’s magic to me!
(At this point, I was facepalming at the reaction of our lovely heroine)
Cyrus: *looks deep into her eyes, which is totally romantic and not stalkerish* Take off your mask. I must know who you are.
Sera: Okay, just as long as you remove yours!
*untie the ribbons, untie, untie—then gasping comes*
Sera: Cyrus! You’re that dude who I think who’s cute when you and your father visit our house, ‘cause you know, you’re handsome and nothing else matters about a guy.
Cyrus: Well, duh, because I’m the Cyrus! Hey, let’s get married ASAP. I’ll talk with your dad, then next time, I’ll bring you something better than the rose. Which came from your hair, by the way.
Sera: *face flushes red again*You’re my destiny.
*shocker alert! Two filthy people appear, who manage to have sharp swords! Wow, I wonder where they got them*
Thief #1: Sir! Pass me your purse! (Literally quoting him here)
Cyrus: Nah, you’re too uncool to hang out with the Cyrus.
Thief #1: Give us the items with your chick then.
Sera: Well, I only have this jeweled rosary with me—
Thief #1: Pah! Is that all you have? *spits and then tackles Sera*
Cyrus: Unhand her, you slimy oaf! (He didn’t actually say that, but the scene would’ve been cooler if he did) *grabs sword from woman and sinks the sword into his belly.
Thief #2: Hey, I think I’ll stab the chick for no reason. *stabs Sera with dagger*
Cyrus: *knocks woman over*I’ll save you, Sera! *pours contents of vial in her mouth without telling her what it is*
*after Sera swallows the elixir and feels a whole lot different*
Cyrus: Okay, kiss this thief! *pokes to Thief #2*
Sera: *kisses the thief without any questions*
(At this point, I was staring at my Kindle in a mixture of weirdness and um-ness.)
*world explodes in Sera’s mind*
Cyrus: Hey, open your eyes, because I’m the Cyrus!
Sera: *notices that things are different*I don’t understand.
Cyrus: You’re an immortal now. You’ve possessed a new body.
Sera: I don’t understand.
Sera’s Mom: Seeerraaaa!
Cyrus: Seraphina, we must go!
Sera: *runs after Cyrus* Bye, mother!
. . .
Am I just being my usual paranoid, ‘the-government-is-putting-mind-controlling-substances-in-our-milk’ right now, or was I the only one who saw the total wrong in this?
However, since it was just the prologue, I decided to let it slide. It’s in the past, after all. I’m not familiar with that time period, unless you’re talking about the Philippines during that time. Um, suddenly marrying with a stranger you barely talked could be normal. Maybe I’m the only person who wouldn’t be freaked once they found out the guy who I think is kind of cute randomly resurrected me because he likes me a lot—in a totally non-stalkerish way, of course—and he wants me to suddenly abandon my family. My own family. *laughs nervously*
So, um, moving on! *coughs*
The other thing I didn’t like about this novel is the characters. It was almost as if they were created to represent stereotypical roles that are evident in every tale. One example is Clyde’s team. Clyde was the psychotic leader—who we’ll get to in a bit—Amelia, the ‘rival’ for Sera (who was of course, never going to get the heart of the guy she wanted); Jared, the right-hand man; Charlotte, the best friend; and Sebastian, the other guy who almost everyone forgets about. One could argue characters are meant to fill in roles, but I disagree. Characters are supposed to represent themselves, and create their own roles.
The alchemy, my unicorns, the topic could’ve been expanded! We only get a few paragraphs about the whole thing, and that was one of the greatest things about the novel! Why wasn’t it shown clearly? *sobs in corner*
When Sera inhabits Kailey’s body, practically everyone in her family is oblivious to the changes! Her family doesn’t notice their artist-daughter doesn’t draw anymore, her friends don’t see she doesn’t get their inside jokes . . . it just got to the point of unbelievable that I was facepalming faster than a master-class chef flipping pancakes. If her friends and family loved her that much, then why the heck didn’t they suspect a single thing?
And ladies and gentlemen, we have the final piece: the relationship and the main character.
Sera’s voice wasn’t bad. She was relatable despite the decisions she made, and the writing flowed smoothly. However, the reasoning behind her departure is because she doesn’t want to stop killing people.
The reason itself is valid. However, after 700 years, why just now? Since Sera tries to outlast the ten-years rule as far as possible, that would mean she took around seventy bodies. Wow . . .
Actually, I was more surprised Sera tolerated Clyde’s behavior and didn’t leave because of that reason. He’s the total definition of psychopath in my book, and I don’t give a damn whether his eyes look like the Pacific Ocean or not. If I were stuck with him for more than a year, I would die. He forces Sera to do what we wants her do to, and even obsess over finding her after she leaves. Healthy? Hell no!
The ending was just weird. It was as if the author felt a need for a cliffhanger. I personally was in the meh-territory with this one. Nothing much came out of it.
Overall, I didn’t like this book at all—which is kind of obvious T_T. Not going to read the next one, but if you like short novels with an interesting pretense and you don’t mind facepalming, this is for you.
In a Nutshell
Cool concept with bad retelling. One star.
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