What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?
LENGTH: 444 pages
GENRES: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tor Books
RELEASE DATE: 6 October 2020
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.
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.
It is sad, of course, to forget. But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten. To remember when no one else does.
So, confession: I’ve never really had any intention of reading this book. I don’t really know why exactly – I guess I’ve just never thought it might be a book for me. But I absolutely adored A Darker Shade of Magic and loved the Shades of Magic trilogy as a whole, so when my mom wanted to buddy read it, I decided why the heck not?
And, spoiler alert, I loved it. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is just… so beautiful, but also heartbreaking. Aside from it being a more slower paced book, which are books that I sometimes annoying for me to get through, there was only one caveat I really had with this novel. But I’ll get into that in a bit. Let me sing its praises a little bit first.
And the first thing I gotta gush about Addie LaRue is how much I love how the relationships are written. Not the romance, even though I liked that as well. But the relationships as a whole.
Every time someone forgot Addie, my heart cracked just the slightest bit, even though I knew it was coming. But when someone Addie loved so fiercely forgot her (ex: her father), my heart really started to break. This book made me cry twice, and one of the times was about Addie’s relationship with another character.
The second thing I really enjoyed were the characters. Though there is a little bit of a plot, I found the book to be primarily character driven.
“I remember you.” Three words, large enough to tip the world.
Addie is our MC of course, and even though a lot of her earlier decisions (as in, a lot of the choices that she made in the flashbacks), she did grow on me, and I really began to feel for her later on. (Though she did still annoy me at certain points.)
I also really liked Henry. I think it’s because he’s different compared to other male main characters that I usually come across while reading, and it was refreshing for me in a way. His and Addie’s budding friendship (and romance) was very sweet. And at first it might feel as if they’re moving too fast – but circumstances are revealed later on that recontextualize many earlier scenes.
Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.
And then there’s Luc. Ah, Luc. I have a lot of feelings about this demonic entity. He’s intentionally written as attractive and he has one of those kinds of personalities, but I still kind of hated him. I don’t really know what it was about him exactly, but I think part of it was that I found it a little hard to comprehend how a creature that existed from the beginning of the universe, could become so thirsty for a human girl. It just didn’t make sense to me. And yeah, I know part of it was because he wanted to run the deal, but he was still thirsty for Addie.
“Nothing is all good or all bad,” she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”
I really didn’t like the ending.
As I read through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I fell in love with it more and more. Of course, I knew from almost the beginning that this was most likely going to be a four star read (because I cried), I thought that that would be it. (If a book makes me cry, I usually give it at least three and a half stars.)
But that ending, it was just so… neutral. Undetermined. It kind of almost felt like Schwab didn’t really know how to end the novel, honestly. But yeah, basically the end of the book disappointed me. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it just didn’t vibe with me.
In fact, I originally rated Addie LaRue four stars because the ending bothered me the way it did. But after some distance from finishing the book, and reflecting on the novel as a whole, I decided to alter my rating. Because it really was a good book, and I really did ultimately enjoy it a lot. (Even if what I considered to be the main conflict of the book was never resolved.)
And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.
Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?
Were the moments of beauty worth the year of pain?
And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says “Always.”
Even though I thought the ending sucked, ultimately The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is a very good book. It’s one that I heavily recommend as well, particularly if you like character driven slow-burns with just a dash of fantastical romance.
Also, before I close it off, there’s one other thing I forgot to mention. The back-and-forth between the past and present was really well done. And I’m usually really iffy about this type of storytelling. It’s always either hit or miss – and I guess this was a hit for me.
As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day/night!
See ya ~Mar