The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

alchemy

The basics

Title: The Alchemy of Forever

Author:

Series: Incarnation #1

- The Alchemy of Forever (January 2012)
- The Impossibility of Tomorrow (June 2013)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

In the first novel of the Incarnation series, the immortal Seraphina grapples with a wrenching truth: Falling in love might mean succumbing to death.People say “love never dies”…but love might be the death of Seraphina.

Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing—taking the lives of innocent people—was wrong. Yet she doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies.

Sera has just landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. But she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her. If she stays in one place for long, she puts herself—and the people she’s grown to care for—in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?

in short

Seraphina was made immortal by a guy called Cyrus back in the 1300’s. Nowadays, she is fed up with killing young girls in order for her to live forever. She runs away from Cyrus and tries to let her soul go, but it goes wrong when she attempts to save a girl called Kailey from dying in a car accident. Sera’s soul goes into Kailey’s body. Sera has to pretend to be Kailey and live a normal life when she realises she isn’t going to be able to kill herself. She also has to keep hiding from Cyrus, but this goes a bit wrong when he turns up at school disguised as a biology teacher. Kailey isn’t able to trick him, and he soon figures out that she is in Kailey’s body. He pretends to die in the body of the teacher, but the cliffhanger is that he is now in Noah’s body – who is Sera’s boyfriend.

what went down

  • London, 1349: Sera is fourteen and attending a masquerade ball. She sees Cyrus, the apothecary’s son. Sera is attracted to him. A man and a woman try to mug Cyrus, but then they turn to Sera. Cyrus kills the man, but the woman stabs Sera in the back before Cyrus kills her too. In an attempt to save her life, Cyrus gives Sera a potion to save her. Sera’s soul detaches from her body, and goes into the body of the dead woman.
  • San Francisco, present day: Sera is with her group of friends – Charlotte, Jared, Amelia and Sébastien. They are all Incarnates. Cyrus joins them and starts discussing Sera’s party, during which a new body will be found for her because her current one is dying. Bodies only last from five to ten years before they start to die. The party will be held at an exclusive nightclub.
  • Sera met Charlotte in the 1800’s and begged Cyrus to make her an Incarnate.
  • Sera is planning on running away from Cyrus because she no longer wants to kill people to take their body. She writes him a note and leaves it in their apartment. The note says that she’s tired of this life, and that she loved Cyrus once but that’s over.
  • At the club, Cyrus brings Sera a young woman. Sera drugs Cyrus and tells the other woman to run, and then she runs herself. Jared and Amelia chase her, but she gets away. Sera goes to the car she bought a few weeks ago and drives to Oakland to die. Sera goes to get a drink from the bar where she sees a girl called Taryn who she knows is going to kill herself. Sera follows Taryn, and Sera talks her out of jumping from a bridge.
  • It’s revealed that Sera stole Cyrus’ alchemy book.
  • A girl called Kailey gets into an accident nearby and Sera tries to do CPR. It goes completely wrong because the alchemy thing kicks in when Sera’s lips touch Kailey’s. Oops. While she tries to stop it, Sera’s soul goes into Kailey’s body.
  • Sera wakes up in hospital, in Kailey Morgan’s body. She tells Kailey’s parents that she crashed because there was a dog. She has to pretend to be Kailey. The parents take Kailey home. Sera wonders if she should stay in this body, or kill herself.
  • Sera tries to sneak out of the window but the neighbour, Noah, is out there with his dog. They have a quick chat.
  • In the morning, Sera insists that she is fine to go to school. Noah picks her and Kailey’s brother, Bryan, up. Once they reach the school, Sera sneaks off to go back to the bridge where Kailey crashed. The bag containing all her stuff and Cyrus’ book is gone. Sera thinks that Taryn took the bag.
  • The cops find Sera and take her to the station. Kailey’s parents pick her up, and ground her for skipping school.
  • Sera checks the internet for info on Taryn, but she can’t find anything. She looks for Kailey’s journal in order to do some research on her and her family. She finds Kailey’s Facebook password and logs into her account. She sees that her friends are called Leyla, Chantal, Madison, and Piper. It doesn’t look like Kailey has a boyfriend.
  • Noah comes into Kailey’s bedroom. He and Sera talk for a bit, and she eats the cupcake that he brought her. Noah leaves, and then he and Sera play Words With Friends on their phones.
  • Sera goes to school the next day. She has lunch with Kailey’s friends. One of them, Nicole, isn’t very nice. They all talk about a party that’s happening on Thursday, which Sera can’t go to because she’s grounded.
  • Sera reports her car as stolen.
  • Sera and Noah talk for a bit. He reveals that he and Kailey were only friends outside of school. Noah realises that there is something different about Kailey now.
  • Sera asks Kailey’s parents if she can get a job at an antique store. They agree, and Sera gets the job.
  • Leyla comes to pick Sera up and they go out for a coffee. Leyla reveals that Nicole is horrible to Kailey because Kailey insisted that she didn’t want any of her friends dating her brother, Bryan.
  • Despite being grounded, Bryan takes Sera to the party on Thursday. She sees Noah and Nicole chatting and holding hands.
  • Weeks pass. Noah hears Sera scold herself and wonders who Sera is.
  • Nicole tells Sera to stay away from Noah, “or else”.
  • Sera doesn’t go to the Halloween party. Noah comes to see her afterwards. He admits that he likes her, and they kiss.
  • Sera goes to school and Cyrus is there in a new body, posing as the substitute biology teacher. He starts talking about the brain and consciousness and things.
  • Sera recalls how Nathaniel, Cyrus’ only true friend, fell in love with a human. Cyrus shot him for his “betrayal”.
  • Cyrus asks Sera to stay after class and asks her what she thought of his lesson. He also mentions the car accident. He asks if Sera has seen anything acting strangely. Sera mentions Nicole.
  • Sera packs her bags, ready to leave town because Cyrus is here. Sera and Kailey’s mother go out shopping. They see Cyrus, as Mr Shaw, and Sera introduces the two of them.
  • Kailey’s mother tells Sera of how she ran away from home at the age of sixteen, and her own mother died thinking that she was dead.
  • Sera promises herself that she is done running. She goes to school. In biology class they dissect a rabbit. Cyrus talks to Noah and Sera gets worried.
  • Sera, Bryan, and Leyla go to an art murmur – open art studios. Nicole and Chantal are there. Nicole has a crush on Mr Shaw.
  • Sera goes to Cyrus’ place. She sees how he found her. There is a lot of evidence like parking tickets, emails, etc. It turns out that Kailey is missing a bracelet, which was left in the car after the accident. Sera sees that Cyrus suspects both Kailey and Leyla of being Sera.
  • Sera buys a fake ID and gets someone to delete the police and hospital reports from the night of the accident.
  • Sera tells Bryan that he should ask Leyla out. Noah then picks Sera up to go to San Francisco for dinner. Sera asks Noah if he’d still like her if she had a different face. They say they love each other. Sera tells Noah that she wants some time alone and she’ll get a cab home. Noah leaves.

how did it end?

Sera writes a texts to Kailey’s family, which is like a suicide note, before she sets off for Texas. Before she sends it, Leyla sends Sera a text saying that Mr Shaw is dead. Sera doesn’t believe it, of course. She researches online. It says that Cyrus was shot and fell into a lake. The body hasn’t been found.

Sera changes her mind about catching a bus to Texas. She goes back to Berkley. She sends a message to Noah saying she is fine.
Sera rushes to Cyrus’ place because there’s a lot of evidence there that needs to be destroyed. Sera receives a notification from Words With Friends from Noah. He has spelt out “alchemy”. Clearly it is Cyrus.

anything else

Incarnates – Immortals that Cyrus has created using his alchemy.

Comments:

  • Romi says:

    I was really enjoying this book right up until the very end when it’s revealed that Cyrus has taken over Noah’s body- I just felt that it took the story to a place I didn’t like and it just ruined it for me, which is a disappointment. I’m surprised to see how I can hardly remember the character names from this post- I thought I’d still find out what happened in the rest of the series, but I’m not sure… look forward to seeing if you cover the next book! Great Re-cap!

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