Alchemy of Souls (2022) K-Drama Summary & Review: Lee Jae Wook Could Have Amazing Chemistry With A Tree

Alchemy of Souls (2022) K-Drama Review
  • Cast
  • Cinematography
  • Storyline
  • Music (OST or Licensed Soundtracks)
  • Rewatchability

Alchemy of Souls took the whole world by storm while it was airing, and even in the months that followed, so it’s only now that I can go online without seeing a reference to something related to Alchemy of Souls.

You know, the Korean drama industry is usually focused on contemporary or historical pieces, and unlike the Chinese drama industry which puts out several wuxia and xianxia dramas every month, the Kdrama industry doesn’t really lean into the fantasy genre.

For context, wuxia is a genre of dramas where the leads have special martial art skills, while xianxia is the more fantastical genre which is inspired by Chinese mythology and is set in a world that is usually inhabited by gods, goddesses, and a lot of other fantastical elements.

If you’ve been in the Korean drama community and have watched several pieces, you know that this isn’t exactly familiar to the Korean drama industry; it has been neglected and downright ignored for the longest time until Netflix did something very bold with Alchemy of Souls.

I don’t think anyone really could have predicted the success of Alchemy of Souls because even though it was being backed by a huge producer and platform like Netflix. It is still something that not a lot of Kdrama watchers are familiar with, so I personally was very sceptical to give it a chance.

But then I watched the first part after it finished airing and I absolutely fell in love – Fell in love with our male lead, fell in love with our female lead, fell in love with the side characters, and absolutely fell in love with the setup of everything.

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Watching that genre of Chinese drama is still a little painful to me because, as I said, several are put out every month and, needless to say, it doesn’t speak to the quality of any of the releases since it’s almost like a numbers competition, so I don’t really enjoy many of them.

What is the story of Alchemy of Souls?

Alchemy of Souls follows a young man who is trying to find his feet in a world where he is being rejected left and right and being told to stand still. 

Alchemy of Souls Kdrama

So the thing is that when our male lead, Jang Uk played by Lee Jae Wook, grew up and came into his own, his father had long disappeared and when he wanted to engage in what his friends and mates were engaging in, that is learning to be mages, he discovered that his energy had been sealed from birth by his very own father and nobody wanted to help him unlock it. This made him very rebellious and very stubborn, and he was always keen to defy authority because of the pain he had been keeping in his heart.

On the other hand, our female lead, Nak Su or Mu Deok played by Jung So Min, is a female assassin who ends up inhabiting the body of a weak, formerly blind girl, and then she forms an alliance with our male lead in that she agreed to help him unlock his powers in exchange for him helping her retrieve her sword.

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The plot of this drama is centered around a forbidden method of sorcery called the Alchemy of Souls. The background to this is that it should ordinarily not be possible for a person to switch souls with another person, but the sorcery was created by a person who taught our male lead’s father and after he created the magic, he kind of didn’t want it to be used anyhow.

But, then we are humans and everyone has wants and needs, with some people being exceptionally wicked enough to do whatever they can to meet their wants, so our main lead’s father makes a mistake that results in our male lead, who is actually of the offspring of the king and should be the next heir to the throne.

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What the Alchemy of Souls does is that the two persons involved in the process will have their souls switched and when a person performs this process, they will need to consume souls regularly so that they don’t turn to stone, and this leads some of them on murderous rampages through the people.

As I said, this is a forbidden technique and people aren’t eager to teach it or to even practise it, but then some nefarious people decide to take it and wield this as their own personal mandate and this just causes chaos everywhere. Our female lead, when she meets our male lead, is a soul shifter, and while our male lead knows this, he doesn’t really care because his aim is to unlock his powers.

He does eventually unlock his powers after a very risky move pulled by our female lead, but since he is already in his 20s or so and he has not had any actual training in how to use his newfound powers, he turns to her for tutorship and they start a teacher-student relationship. They are the only people who understand each other in the world and they are the only ones who stand for each other, so naturally they become closer and closer, and they soon fall in love with each other.

I’m trying my best to not drop any spoilers, so that is basically the backstory and what we know about our lead outside the first part, but you will definitely find out more and a whole lot of things in the second part of the drama.

My Review of Alchemy of Souls, Netflix Original Fantasy Korean Drama 

As I said above, I didn’t really think much about this drama before it aired, even though the edits were fire, but I knew that it was going to be star some of the prettiest powerhouses but I wasn’t exactly keen to watch it. 

The thing is that I can stomach a drama about vampires and werewolves and others with the mythical creatures, but somehow it always feels like my brain is melting whenever I watch anything about people who have actual supernatural powers. 

It just seems a little silly and embarrassing to me. And, I’ve never really been able to watch any except if I’m certain the executions are flawless and there won’t be need to cringe multiple times in a scene. So, I started this drama without really thinking, and, to be honest, I did it because it felt like I was almost being bullied to watch it.


I did enjoy this drama in the end, and it’s definitely one of my favorites at the moment. But one thing I’ll say is that if you are a Chinese drama watcher and you’re used to this genre of dramas, Alchemy of Souls is going to feel incredibly bland. 

To an extent, I feel like it was more of the novelty that kept me glued to my screen while I was watching, and also, our female lead is someone I have always loved right from her role in Playful Kiss to even more contemporary dramas like Because This Is My First Life. So, I knew I had to watch this one as well.

One thing that always stands out to me since I’ve been in the K-drama community is that it’s not really possible to know every single actor in the world. I mean, you could probably know maybe a hundred, but then someone new would come, and then you learn that this is actually someone who has a lot of fans and a lot of followers, which is good no matter how you look at it. 

Also See: 10 Sweet & Short Korean Dramas You Can Finish In One Day

At least now I know Lee Jae Wook, which is something that I really take pride in because, aside from being a member of the K-drama community, I am also a blogger, and my knowledge of all these determines the success of the blog.

I liked the romance between our male lead and the female lead in the first season, but contrary to popular opinion, I preferred the second season. I think it’s amazing that an actor can have chemistry with different actresses, especially when the dynamics are different, and that’s something that I feel is rather hard to accomplish except you are a very talented actor.


For context, the female lead in both parts is different, but they are still the same person. The female lead I talked about liking earlier is the main lead in the first season, and in the second season, it’s an actress I had never watched any of her previous works. So, while I wasn’t familiar with her, I had already fallen in love with our main lead, and the story wasn’t complete, so I knew I had to continue. This might sound nonsensical if you are just reading this, but trust me when I say when you watch it, you’re going to see it.

As such, the chemistry between our male lead and both female leads was incredible, especially since in the first season, he and our first female lead had a very playful and silly relationship, while in the second season, he had become very intense and brooding, and he had this dangerous and mysterious air around him, which very much complemented our new female lead.


Also, there is a love triangle between our female lead, our first male lead, and the second male lead of the drama, played by Hwang Min Hyun. 

Just for funzies, you guys should know that I always thought our second female lead was the guy who acted in True Beauty, and it was very embarrassing to be corrected. I am the type of person who insists that no two Asians look alike because having watched their dramas for a better part of my life, I can definitely tell them apart, but this was the very first time the similarity was too striking to me. The second female lead in this drama is also the main lead in My Lovely Liar, which is another beautiful drama.

Anyway, our female lead and the second male lead have history in that they met as kids and liked each other, but then the circumstances tore them apart. I liked that they didn’t really focus on this because usually putting too much focus on the love triangle can make it feel a little too prolonged, which can eventually make it a little boring, so it was great that they didn’t do that.


The magic and fantastical parts of the drama weren’t cringeworthy at all, and I feel like this is very much a flower boy drama even though it doesn’t actually have that flower boy vibe because there was a lot of eye candy with characters like our third, fourth, and fifth male leads.

All in all, I really enjoyed this drama, and if I were to rate it, I would give it a 7/10, with the remaining three being the fact that our female lead, whose acting I have so far adored, felt a little off in this drama. Plus, I didn’t like the way the tension kept on being hyped and then dismantled only to then dissipated again. It made the entire thing feel like we were being consistently baited to keep watching, but then the payoff wasn’t adequate.

And it’s actually very expected that I would have these complaints because this is something that is basically a staple in every Chinese drama of this genre. I hated the moments where they would also simply stand with the antagonist, especially if this is person that they could clearly cripple at the moment but it feels like they kept on circling around the primary issue; even when the time would come for our leads to show off their powers and their strength, it would pass without fanfare, and this is something that I simply didn’t like.



And that is that for this review of Alchemy of Souls Korean drama. So, if you’ve been thinking about whether to watch this drama or not, read this review, and you might get an answer.

If I were to recommend this Kdrama to anybody, I would recommend it to a person who likes teacher-student romance and who is interested in experimenting with a new genre. The quality of this, as with any other Netflix original, is top-notch, so you’re definitely going to be hooked from start to finish.

If you have watched this drama or if you plan to watch it, don’t hesitate to let me know what you think in the comment section below. I’m going to be watching to see your thoughts, and I’m waiting for you.

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