The Alchemy of Forever
by Avery Williams
Big Themes: immortality, alchemy, death, souls, humanity, escape, friendship, love, suicide
2012 Debut Author Challenge
Summary: Seraphina should have died 600 years ago, but a young alchemist named Cyrus had her drink an elixir that would allow her to insert her soul into any human body and enable her to live forever. However, the human soul that originally inhabited the body… dies. Sera is tired of being a murderer for her own survival and decides it’s time to escape Cyrus, who doesn’t want her to leave him.
What I Liked:
The premise had potential. The idea of living forever by slipping your soul into others bodies and the conflict that creates (either you die or they die) was interesting.
The villain was pretty scary. Manipulative, stalker, violent boyfriends rank up there in types of people I don’t like… and I could pretty easily find myself both hating and fearing Cyrus.
What I Didn’t Like:
I had lots of questions. Lots of logistical issues with the plot, world, and characters.
- First, would someone who had lived for 600 years really not mature at all and end up finding happiness as a 16 year old girl?
- Would immortal beings really spend most of their time partying and not find some greater purpose?
- Would a 600 year old being really be able to pass off as a 16 year old? There are several times it is too obvious that Kailey is no longer Kailey, and I wanted the characters in the story to address it.
- It was my understanding that the elixir made through alchemy allows the soul to become a free entity that can reattach to any body, but how can this soul heal a body near death? I had a hard time suspending disbelief here. Where does this healing power come from? A little too magical for me.