Today’s review is about THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab. I absolutely loved this ethereal nature of this book as well as the lyrical writing. Suffice it to say, this book definitely lives up to the hype.
Author: V.E. Schwab
Age Category: Adult
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: October 6, 2020
Print Length: 448
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In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever–and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
In Villon-sur-Sarthe, France, 1774, Adeline LaRue is a dreamer. She wants to live beyond her countryside village and explore the world. Forced into an engagement, she prays for anything, anyone, to set her free. Her pleas are answered by a stranger with whom she makes a deal: her soul to be able to live forever. But she hasn’t chosen her words carefully and she soon realizes her bargain has limits. Everyone she meets quickly forgets her, so she is forced to leave her small town and learn a new way to live. Only Luc, the beguiling stranger who bargained for her soul, remembers her. And every year on Addie’s birthday he returns to try and collect his due.
Cursed to a life of loneliness, Addie dons new identities for 300 years while she explores Europe and crosses oceans, trying to leave an imprint on the world. Then, one day, she steps into a New York City bookstore and meets someone who can remember her. Confused yet exhilarated by this change, Addie thinks maybe after all this time Luc finally made a mistake, that just maybe she’s not doomed to loneliness after all.
This is the first book I’ve read by V.E. Schwab and I absolutely loved it. Schwab wrote a beautiful novel. Reading it was like reading a dream or a fairy tale. It’s a struggle to describe the lyricism of this book, but suffice it to say I feel like each word in each sentence was perfectly constructed to convey the setting and emotions of Addie LaRue’s life. I could feel Addie’s sadness and pain when she visits her old village, decades later, and sees the passage of time. I could feel her confusion and hurt transform to hardness and weary acceptance each time someone forgot her.
Also, I like that the focus stays mostly on Addie, rather than giving bad boy Luc too much page time (though I wouldn’t have complained too much). This allows for plenty of character development over time, with Luc as the mildly dreaded yearly highlight show. Splashes of Luc here and there also hone the everpresent sexual tension between them. Luc is what I would call a morally grey character, so if that’s what you’re into, he’s your guy. This book pushed me back into the speculative fiction (fantasy) genre and I’m not mad about it.
My only teeny tiny critique is that the plot moves along just a little bit slowly at points. But overall I didn’t want this book to end. Again, I absolutely loved the writing style. THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE is one of my 5 star reads of 2021.
Content warnings: sex, theft
Reading format: Library hardback