The Alchemy of Forever

The Alchemy of Forever

by Avery Williams
4.4 37


$7.88 $9.99 Save 21% Current price is $7.88, Original price is $9.99. You Save 21%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Wednesday, April 25 ,  Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.
    Same Day delivery in Manhattan. 


The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

In the first novel of the Incarnation series, the immortal Serephina 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?
This paperback includes a teaser of The Impossibility of Tomorrow, the next book in the Incarnation series, as well as exclusive content that reveals Seraphina’s back story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442443174
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 07/10/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,220,008
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Avery Williams was born the day after Halloween in Los Angeles and has since lived in five different states due to her father’s job as a radio disc jockey (though she sometimes claims her parents were in the circus). Now she makes her home in Oakland, California, with her husband and a cat named Vendetta. She enjoys riding her bicycle around town and working on her hundred-year-old house. She is the author of The Alchemy of Forever and The Impossibility of Tomorrow.

Read an Excerpt


san francisco, present day

The late autumn day is oddly hot for San Francisco. The morning fog has lifted and the sun’s rays reach my pale skin, but do not warm me. For the past year I’ve stayed bone white, no matter how much time I spend in the sun, and I’m freezing, all the time. It is always this way when death is near. I’ve put this body through hell, and it’s finally catching up with me.

I wince as I lean back on one of the steel chaise longues scattered around the pool on the roof of my apartment building, a brash glass tower, all angles and blue tints, jutting upward over the SOMA neighborhood. The sunlight glints off the surface of the pool; it’s almost too bright for me, even behind my large sunglasses. I blink, watching a hummingbird makes his way to the roof deck, zigzagging madly between the ruby-colored morning glory blossoms spilling out from galvanized planter boxes I had bought at the local flea market. I am always amazed when birds appear here, twenty stories up in the middle of the city. How did he know there were flowers? Was it instinct that drove him upward, or blind luck?

When I try to fly away, will I be as lucky and find what I am looking for?

Living like this—the persistent cold, the pain radiating through my joints at a constant interval, the shortness of breath accompanying my every movement—has made my choice for me. For once my body is as weary as my soul. I’ve dragged it all over the globe for six hundred years—it’s time to let go of this life and figure out what comes next. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified, but a thrill of excitement runs up my spine every time I think about it. It’s been so long since I’ve ventured into the unknown.

“I know that look. What are you thinking about?” Charlotte, my best friend, asks as she comes through the glass door to the deck. She carries a tray of iced tea, moisture already beading like wobbly diamonds on the outside of the glasses. When I take one, the little droplets fall to the ground and immediately turn to steam.

I push my sunglasses up into my dark hair and smile at Charlotte. “Nothing,” I lie. “Just enjoying the sun.”

I can tell no one of my plan to die, not even Charlotte. Cyrus would never let me leave. Not without a fight, and one that I would surely lose. More than anything I want to be free of the man who controls me with his fists, his words, and his iron will—the man who made me what I am.

Charlotte narrows her hazel eyes at me, but says nothing. After two centuries of friendship, I can’t get anything by her, but I also know she won’t pry. I cherish her understanding and acceptance; it is what I’ll miss most when I leave. That and the sunshine, but I can’t afford to think about what I’m leaving behind if my plan is going to work.

Moving around the deck, Charlotte offers drinks to our other friends. Jared pulls out a flask to spice up his, looking every bit the pirate he was when I first met him in 1660, a row of studs and hoops trailing up his earlobe like a rocky coastline. Amelia declines, her white-blond hair gleaming in the sunlight and her deep tan a stark contrast to my milky skin.

When Charlotte approaches Sébastien, his long dread-locks pulled back in a low ponytail, a shy smile flickers across her face. He leans on the orange metal railing that encircles the deck. I notice his fingers grazing hers as he takes his tea, making her shake her head, slightly embarrassed, her copper curls falling forward in her face.

I have always loved her red hair, which is not so different from the hair she was born with. All of us have had a similar experience: When Cyrus made us Incarnates, we went through periods of trying out different kinds of bodies. Old, young, male, female. But we all found the experience too disorienting, and eventually settled in forms that reminded us of our former selves. I’ve been a different incarnation of myself—brown eyes, long brown hair—for centuries.

The glass doors open once more, and Cyrus, our leader, joins us on the deck. He’s wearing a well-tailored black shirt that sets off his platinum hair and tall, lean frame. Around his neck is the vial of elixir he used to make us Incarnates. I can’t say he’s not beautiful, though the magic I once felt when looking at him has long since dissipated.

He sits next to me, regarding me with his icy blue eyes and running his hands through my hair possessively. I shiver but don’t pull away. “I want to discuss Sera’s party,” he tells us. Yes, the party in my honor. Although it would be more apt to call it an execution.

I sit up, my muscles straining from the effort, and am momentarily dizzy. When my vision clears, I see the hummingbird fluttering around a cluster of lilies, his wings a red blur.

“It’s going to be at Emerald City,” he announces, and Amelia’s eyes brighten. Emerald City is the most exclusive nightclub in San Francisco. People more important and more beautiful than Cyrus have been turned away at the door.

Jared lets out a low whistle and pulls his chair closer to Cyrus, the metal screeching against the concrete deck. “Pulling out all the stops, eh?”

Amelia chuckles, arching her back toward the sun. “It’s not that often that Saint Sera deigns to take a new body.”

I detect an undercurrent of nastiness, but I don’t let it get to me. She’s right. I’ve been putting off this moment for as long as I could. We get about ten years in a body, even if the body we take is already sick, broken, run down by years of abuse. When we transfer our spirits, the body regenerates. But the energy expended in healing the body is also its doom, leading to organ failure five or ten years down the road. Unlike my friends, I try to stay in a body for as long as possible rather than switching into a new one as casually as I might try on a dress. Even Charlotte has no qualms about killing. It’s the only way for us to stay alive, she says. Why waste this gift?

“My little darling,” Cyrus murmurs affectionately, pulling me into his lap. I try not to cringe at his touch. “I’m going to miss this body when it’s gone. Only one more week. But don’t worry, we’ll find you another just as beautiful.” Amelia looks away, scowling.

He does love me, I’ve never doubted that. I’m his touchstone, his only link to his real past, to the body into which he was born. He’s told me as much, crushing me in embraces that leave bruises the following day. Seraphina, I would die without you.

What will he do when I’m gone?

Jared and Sébastien will be fine, as long as they continue to follow orders. Amelia will be happier without me—she’s always had a crush on Cyrus. I worry about Charlotte, though. Cyrus has never liked her.

I met Charlotte in New York in the early 1800s. I bought flowers from her at the market in Five Points and, much to Cyrus’s dismay, struck up a friendship with her. I took her shopping for dresses she could never afford on her own, and she regaled me with stories about her seven brothers. When she did not show up at her stand one morning, I sought her out at her home and found her and her younger brother Jack in the throes of scarlet fever.

I begged Cyrus to let me save her, and he finally said yes to shut me up. I don’t think he really considered the consequences—that I would finally have an ally, someone who knew my true self. I turned her into a killer so I could have a friend, and I will regret that for eternity.

The hummingbird approaches the railing, then dips under it, taking off into the sky. I catch Amelia watching it from her perch two seats down. She was an aerialist when Cyrus turned her and used to “fly” for a living.

Cyrus turns his attention to the group. “Amelia, you’re in charge of the guest list. Under my close supervision, of course.” She beams. “I want plenty of options for Seraphina.”

Plenty of options for himself, he means. He would pick for me—he always did. He has a type: willowy build, long dark hair, Mediterranean skin. She would be a failed model who had turned to drugs or an aspiring poet with a streak of madness who would never live to see age thirty. I stopped caring long ago what my body looks like; I only care that my new host either doesn’t want to be alive or doesn’t deserve to be.

I do have one request. “Amelia,” I say, “please don’t invite anyone too young.”

She smirks at me, but it doesn’t feel cruel. Just matter of fact. “Don’t worry, you can go straight to confession afterward.”

“Jared,” Cyrus continues, “you’re in charge of security. I don’t want the club staff on this—we need a crew who will be discreet.”

“Of course, Cy.” Jared nods, pushing his black hair off his tattooed neck.

The mention of security sends a jolt of nervous adrenaline through my veins. Jared won’t mess around. He knows this is more than a dance party. Someone is going to die.

I’m trying to control my breathing, which is coming in quick, shallow gasps. I glance down, willing myself to stop fidgeting with the heavy ring on my left hand. Its antique garnet catches the sunlight like a glass of red wine—or blood.

I asked Cyrus to buy it for me a couple of weeks ago, on a fog-swathed day in Hayes Valley. “It’s a Victorian antique,” the saleswoman had remarked. I silently thanked the other customer who drew her attention just then, keeping her from saying more. Because it was more than just a Victorian bauble. It was a poison ring, with a hidden compartment under the bloodred stone. Not much room, just enough for the tiniest pinch of powder or a single pill. It would be enough.

Sébastien, who has been silent until now, shoots me a concerned glance. “You okay? You seem tired.” Next to me, I feel Cyrus stiffen.

“She’s fine,” he says coldly. “Aren’t you?” I can feel the rage burning under his skin. He hates it when anyone else thinks they know how I feel, as though he’s the only one allowed that ability.

I smile weakly. “I’m just . . . excited.”

Cyrus sighs heavily and stands up, the sun shining around his platinum hair like a halo. “I think I’m done for the day. We’ll continue this later. Sébastien, I’ll need you to work on the DJ lineup.”

Sébastien flashes one of his rare smiles, white teeth brilliant against his brown skin. Music is one of the only things he cares about. Music and Charlotte. When I’m gone, I hope he will comfort her—and protect her. Because if Cyrus suspects she had any involvement in my escape . . . well, he’s killed for much less.

© 2012 Alloy Entertainment

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Alchemy of Forever: An Incarnation Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really entertaining, full of adventure and a dash of romance, and extremely easy to follow. Highly reccomend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the worst and the best book I have ever read. I loved it all the way through but I couldn't stand it when it ended! If you like a book that keeps you interested the whole time, you will LOVE this book. It has a perfect mixture of romance, edge and mystery. 
ClaireFrith More than 1 year ago
The Alchemy of Forever is a story about a girl named Sera, who became immortal after an attempted robbery went sour. Now, she roams the earth, stealing bodies every ten or so years when her current one begins to die. After living for 600 hundred years with Cyrus and the other "Incarnates", she has finally had enough. She is determined to kill herself and be free of the world - and Cyrus - once and for all. But when her plans goes slightly sideways, she ends up in a new body while trying to resuscitate her. So instead of killing herself in this young girl's body, she decides to hide in this new life instead, enveloping herself in Kailey Morgan's life. But how long can she hide before Cyrus finds her? This story had me hooked, I read the mere 240 pages in hours. The characters were lovable, except of course Cyrus, who was a creeper in my point of view. The story-line was fantastic, and had me wishing the second book was already released. There were only two things that irked me - Firstly, What happened to the alchemy book? Sera seemed to forget about it after awhile and that seemed kind of important to me. Secondly, Why didn't Sera just kill herself? She didn't want to live, stealing other bodies, but she put all these new people she loved in danger. Kailey was dead inside, so why not? I hope at least the first question will be answered in the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I was able to finish it in 45 min. to a hour...I can't wait for book two!
lovepassionbooks More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I think books are best when you don't read the back of it. You have no idea what it is about going into it, or what you are getting yourself into. This happened to me with this book. And I loved it! It was so worth it. You meet Seraphina, she is a 14 year old girl that is learning what it means that love never dies. Her boyfriend figures out how to live forever by swapping bodies with someone that dies instead of dying yourself. Now to me when I read this, I was thinking to myself that I may not like this. I thought that maybe it could be interesting, but I could not see myself reading. Well to make a long story short I finished it......and.....I LOVE IT. I could not get enough of it. Seraphina decides that she is going to not switch bodies. She wants to save lives instead of killing. So she helps a girl by talking her out of killing herself. She feels accomplished. She feels like she did something right. Then Seraphina witnesses a car crash and she tries to help the girl that was involved. Well while doing this she takes over the bodies of the dead girl. At this point in the book is where I was like, "really, really?" But I kept going. And I am glad I did. While in this body, she becomes Kailey. Kailey has all the friends, is the most popular girl in school, and loves to paint and listen to music. These are somethings that Seraphina does not like to do. Seraphina has a hard time adjusting to this life, because all the lives that she has swapped she has ran away and went back to her old life. But this can not happen this time around. Because she is in the body of a 16 year old girl. She has a mom, dad, brother, teachers, and a guy that would look for her if she would come on missing. So she has to live this life. But she realizes that it may not be bad. This book has everything that I think a book should have. It really keeps you going and into the story. I believe with books like these you need to have the readers attention for the whole book. With this book I think that it really didn't do that until you got to the part where she enters Kailey's body. After that the book was really good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So when I first got a hold of this series I had unknowingly gotten the second book "the impossiblity of tomorrow" and only when I was thoruoghly confused with the first ten pages did I finally took a look at the back inside cover of the book and there it said "discover where it all began". That peeved me a little because even the description gave no hints that it was the second book and neither did the first few pages of the book but anywhooo once I found this book I immediately began reading and couldnt stop!!! Loved it and would recommend it to anyone who love a good fantasy teen fiction book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely could not put this book down! I fell in love with the boy next door right along side Sera and every breathtaking moment kept me breathlessly wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. Everyone should read it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! Such an interesting plot, not like any I have read before. I wish someone would make a movie out of it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Super fast paced yet engaging
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
StalkinTheBooks More than 1 year ago
This book really surprised me since I didn't really know that much about the premise before I started reading it. The novel deals with incarnates, immortals who can live forever by taking the body and life of someone else. I liked the main character of Sera and found the whole idea of incarnates fascinating. It reminded me a bit of Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel, so if you liked that one you'll probably enjoy this one too. Its the kind of book that has tons of potential and its a quick read. I thought it was a stand alone but its actually the first book in a series. Though I wasn't crazy about the rather abrupt ending, I'm still excited about the next book.
Beautiful574 More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommend this Incarnation Novel!!! The heroine is amazing and very unique. The story line was very entertaining and a good read! If you are looking for a new book to read this is the one. You won't be disappointed! It is about school and family and then again, the main charter has lived for thousands of years! And NO. She is not a vampire!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some_Reading_Required More than 1 year ago
If you could live forever with just one stipulation, would you? What if that stipulation was the death of a person, would you feel that it was worth it? As an incarnate, one who has the ability to detach a soul from a body and then jump into said body, Seraphina has had to struggle with this decision for over 600 years. In the year 1349, after a brute attack by two drunks, 14 year old Sera is left bleeding to death in the arms of her crush and admirer, Cyrus, the apothecary’s son. By the miraculous powers of a alchemist potion brewed by Cyrus himself, Sera awakes in the body of one of her would-be attackers. In that moment Sera makes the decision to pledge herself to Cyrus by running away and living out their immortal life together and in love. Fast-forward to the 21st century and you’ve got quite a different story. After 600+ years of taking human lives, (turns out about every 10 years at the latest an incarnate needs to hop into a new body) Sera is fed up. After taking many lives and succumbing to the sadistic, cruel and obsessive loving tendencies of Cyrus, Sera devises a plan to break away. Although she originally decides to truly die, in a bizarre twist of fate, Sera accidentally ends up in the dying body of a teenage girl. Breaking away from Cyrus and the “coven” (group of other incarnates) was the hardest thing Sera has had to do, that is, until now. In her new body, surrounded by a loving family, friends and a potential new romance, Sera struggles with ending her existence. After centuries of wishing she was dead, Sera’s now realizing that there’s so much to live for. The Alchemy of Forever completely blew me away. The synopsis sold me instantly. Who hasn’t wished they could live forever? Or even, who hasn’t wished they could be someone else? I loved Sera SO much. Out of all the incarnates she is truly the most caring and thoughtful one of the bunch. The others could care less when it comes to body switching, a past time they do quite frequently although it means taking the life of another. After witnessing the cruelness both the world and Cyrus has to offer, Sera has remained remarkably staunch. Although she at first appears fragile, deep down her will is incredibly strong. I found Cyrus to be downright tragic. I don’t doubt that he once sweetly and purely loved Sera, but through the years he has become twisted and power-hungry. He’s the leader of the incarnates, controlling who does what and when. He especially controls everything that goes on in Sera’s life right down to the new body she’s forced to take every 10 years. I was so incredibly happy for Sera when Noah enters her life, well, Kailey’s life. As a kind-of friend and lifetime next door neighbor, Kailey Morgan never really gave Noah a second glance. However this all changes once Sera becomes Kailey. She recognizes the goodness in Noah and is completely enraptured by his sweet-natured ways. The romance between these two is innocent and warm and completely unlike anything Sera has experienced before. The Alchemy of Forever is one of those incredible books that still sticks in your mind days after you read it. I’m literally still reeling from the shocking cliffhanger. Williams is a fabulous writer, able to weave a story full of originality and fill it with vivacious and vivid characters. I cannot wait for book two!! After the sneak peak shown in the soft cover edition of book one, I firmly believe that the sequel will be just as good, if not better!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
THE REVIEW The story of THE ALECHEMY OF FOREVER starts in the year 1349 in London. The prologue introduces us to the two main characters, our heroine Seraphina and her boyfriend Cyrus and the original time they lived in. But it’s only a short glimpse we get. We are fast thrown back into present time, now to San Francisco. Here lives a group of extraordinary humans. A bunch of immortals thanks to Cyrus and centuries old alchemy. Seraphina has lived many lives and claimed the bodies of countless young women over the decades. Now she decides that she wants to let go of this world and don’t live the life of others anymore. Seraphina is one of the YA heroines who actually thinks about her decisions thoroughly. She is so courageous and humble. I could really feel her despair to die and still understand her struggles to survive as long as possible. Luckily a chain of events prevents her suicide and Sera gets a last chance to live a new life in the body of teenager Kailey. Apart from tyrant Cyrus. She might have had many different lives, still to me it felt like this one in Kailey’s body was her first real existence after her life in England. Like many other stories, Seraphina’s story is about a boy. A beautiful and understanding boy who is there when he is needed. Noah. He and Kailey’s parents and brother are the first people beside her best immortal friend Charlotte, who make her feel home again. After such a long long time. I loved how Noah and Sera or ,as he knows her, Kailey got closer. I would have appreciated a stronger profile of Noah though. More about his past with Kailey or a deeper insight into his feelings for Kailey and in how far her sudden change in personality influenced them. It seems like Noah always had feelings for Kailey, but now that she’s changed into a different, caring and open minded, girl, what does he think of her exactly? More Noah in the sequel to THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER please! Seraphina’s way from being a wealthy dying woman dependent on her centuries old lover to a teenage girl with a crush on her neighbour Noah is plastered with adventurous chases. So compelling! The concept of alchemy giving humans the power to be immortal for centuries is very clever. I was eager to find out more about Cyrus' tricks and the possibilities of something as powerful as old magic. Cyrus might be Seraphina’s first love and a charming man in 14th century England, but he is the perfect antihero in present San Francisco. Cyrus is cruel and controlling. An evil mind that has no rival in THE ALECHMY OF FOREVER. He is reckless and that’s what makes him such a dangerous enemy. Avery Williams did a perfect job with her contrasting characters! I especially liked Sera and Noah and Cyrus as unequal opponents in the fight for Seraphina’s love. The story is told from Seraphina’s point of view as a 1st person narrator. Scenes are rather short, just as the book itself. But they give us sufficient details and fabricate an unique story. The sequel to THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER better comes out soon, because the ending of book one nearly killed me. I cannot believe Avery Williams left us at that! THE VERDICT 5/5 ***** THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER- A Charismatic & ingenious read that fast becomes one of your YA favourites! THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER is a quick, nevertheless genial, read by debut author Avery Williams. I’m in need of a sequel and can’t wait to read it as soon as possible!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissMPark More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. I literally just finished it and really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next one, hopefully. It's certainly worth the read and chance.