Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Alchemy of Forever [Incarnates #1] - Avery Williams

Title - The Alchemy of Forever
Author -  Avery Williams

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?

I stumbled onto this book sometime last year and while I found the title interesting, I did not have the resolve to read it especially since the summery made it sound like some sort of love Vampire Diaries-esk love triangle. Last night however I had a brief change of heart and decided to read it after all.     
As Ideas go it was a good one, more original than the now popular Vampires, werewolves, angles, witches excreta that fills the YA genre today. In hindsight it should have occurred to me that an original idea makes not a good writer since like many books I have read in the past have turned this way but I would like to think of myself as an optimist and so I delved into it wholeheartedly. 

Now I should have seen the problem from the word go, the prologue was too brief, rushed and underdeveloped. The relationship between Sera and Cyrus seems nothing more than barely acquainted neighbours, there was simply no fire between them. Williams didn’t even do the stereotypical ‘’I will save you speech!’’ while I am not a fan of stereotypes, I have to say it would have made the whole thing better.

Looking at Sera throughout the book I realised that I didn’t like her.  First she is a spineless, I mean seriously how the hell does she let a man rule her life for more than four hundred years without much of resistance. Second she is actually quite stupid, her escape plan which is really supposed to be noble and self-sacrificial is half thought out and just about as stupid as a four hundred year old woman can possibly be. Third she is a teenage girl, hundreds of body changes and four hundred year had not changed the narrative of the woman, Williams wrote Sera like she was a sixteen year old which is fitting enough for the body she incidentally takes but wholly unrealistic. No matter what the body looks like an Incarnate should at least reflect the number of years that they have lived.

Nothing actually happens in this book, at least nothing more than the bare minimum to keep the plot moving at an excruciating pace. More than half the book is dedicated to Sera trying to infiltrate Kailey’s family and friends including the boy next door.

The moment Noah and Sera kissed was the moment I had to momentarily pull the breaks on this book and think about the logistics. Let me walk you through it, Sera is more than four hundred years old and while Noah’s age is not specified he is her class mate in which case he could not be more than a year older than Kailey so he is seventeen. I’m the only one who sees a problem with this picture, seriously? Cradle robbing is not cool, no matter who does the robbing.

The only thing I liked about this book other than the cover is Cyrus and he was mediocre at best so all in all I wasted my time and that is okay because I don’t really have anything better to do with it anyway but I have to give Sera this badge just for the sake of it.

Overall I give this book 2 out of 5 stars

Product Detail
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Language: English

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