The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Published on January 3, 2012
Ages 12 and up
Seraphina's first love made her immortal...her second might get her killed.
After spending six hundred years on earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.
Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falls for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's his again, and every moment she stays, she's putting 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? (from Goodreads)
I have to admit, I hadn't heard of this book until I received it from Simon & Schuster. After reading it, I don't know how I didn't know about it before.
Williams has done a great job not only showing the positives of immortality, the first things that people think of when they think of living forever, but also the negatives. Living forever has its price. Whether it be never having enough and always wanting more, delusions of grandeur and power and becoming controlling, feeling trapped and that there is no escaping the way of life one finds themselves in, guilt over continually taking another person's life, even if it was going to be thrown away anyway.
This is where we find Sera. At first she loved knowing that she would never die. She was with Cyrus, the love of her life, and they had nothing but eternity to spend together. They added more people to their little group as the years went by. Cyrus started to change. He became a controlling megalomaniac who even went so far as to pick out the next body that Sera was to inhabit. Sera growing tired of it all, especially the killing someone else so she could live wants to find a way to end it and escape Cyrus. The rest of the people in their group are torn. Some loving the life they have, and some not so much, but not wanting to go against Cyrus.
The different personalities of the immortal group are wonderfully conveyed by Williams, giving a glimpse into the power that Cyrus has over everyone and how they deal with it.
The background story of how things came to be is a perfect set up of things to come.
After finding herself in the body of a teenage girl who otherwise would have died, Sera is conflicted. She still wants to end her life, but as she gets integrated into her new, different than anything she has ever known, lifestyle, Sera finds herself drawn to the people who think she is someone else. "Dying" at such a young age, Sera has not known the love of family or friends outside of Cyrus and their group, and she is pained at the thought she might end up hurting them, especially if Cyrus is looking for her.
I could not put this book down. I was so drawn into Sera's story and world that I found myself aching for her as she was trying to decide what to do. And I was rooting for her, that she would find the happiness and kindness that had been held from her from so many years, especially after she meets Noah, the literal boy next door. He is definite book boyfriend material.
I knew almost from the start what I was going to rate this book. Four stars and many recommendations. Romance, some suspense, unpredictability. It never wavered throughout... until I got to the end. The ending of this book pushed the rating up for me. And now I have so many questions as to what is going to happen next, I am biting my nails in anticipation for the next book. Definitely a must read.