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The Alchemy of Forever: An Incarnation Novel

The Alchemy of Forever: An Incarnation Novel - Avery Williams Oozing with untapped potential, The Alchemy of Forever was a good read. The pacing was well-done and Sera's constant fear of being found by Cyrus added a heavy dose of suspense. But a slightly underwhelming protagonist coupled with a non-menacing antagonist tries The Alchemy of Forever and finds it wanting.The Alchemy of Forever's main problem was it's brief length. A story with six hundred years worth of history deserves more then two hundred and fifty six pages. By the end, I still didn't fully understand the true origin of the Incarnates, Sera's fear of Cyrus and Cyrus' obsession with Sera: how exactly does the elixir work and why does it take such a toil on the bodies of those who are chosen as vessels? How did Cyrus and Sera grow into a coven? Why does the coven live under fear of Cyrus' wrath, what makes him so powerful? Why would Cyrus wish to keep someone around who so obviously despises him? I would have loved to see some length added on to this abrupt story, if only to answer some of these questions.It's also because of it's briefness that I couldn't fully understand Sera or her motives. Like how she felt the need to save the life of just one girl, in the hopes of beginning to atone for six centuries worth of murder. I couldn't understand her constant mood swings - feeling alone and suicidal one chapter, and optimistic and bubbly the next - or why she claimed to know Cyrus so well when she was constantly on the edge of falling for his traps; every time he made a move, Sera's immediate reaction was to act exactly as he must have been hoping for her to react. It became tedious to constantly berate her instinctual reactions, and then slightly relieving when she thought better of it. I also couldn't understand why she claimed to want to save Kailey's friends and family from the pain of losing her, and then started a relationship with Kailey's next-door neighbour.Besides it's length, my other big issue with The Alchemy of Forever was how easily Sera fit herself into her role as Kailey. Some lame jokes about her weirdness being the result of her concussion and any oddities between Kailey's behaviour from before the accident versus her behaviour after the accident were forgiven. I found it hard to believe that her close friends and family wouldn't notice that the seemingly shallow artist they knew had been replaced by someone with wisdom far beyond her years. I was hoping Sera would have trouble adapting into the life of a teenager - a role that was taken from her when Cyrus decided to make her an Incarnate - but after a quick Facebook search, she seemed to have all the information she needed to get by. It would have added some credibility to the story if anyone had commented on her changed behaviour, but other then Noah saying that he liked the new Kailey, no one mentioned noticing that she was acting any differently.The issues I had with The Alchemy of Forever aside, it was an enjoyable read. Even though I didn't understand why she was so afraid of Cyrus, Sera's fear was palpable - I could almost feel the tension rolling off of her when she thought about being discovered. The romance between her and Noah was cute (if rushed), even if it felt a little creepy for someone as old as Sera to be interested in someone as young as Noah. I was hoping for a slightly less predictable twist at the end, but it does leave me interested enough to find out what happens next.Find this review on my blog Radiant Shadows