Warning: #UnpopularOpinion ahead! Jee reviews ‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue’ by V.E.Schwab #SPOILERFREE #AddieLaRue #eARC #NetGalley #TorBooks #bookreview #historicalfantasy #fiction #starcrossedlovers #lovestory #irememberaddie

Title/Author: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books

Pages: 448

In a nutshell (Publisher):

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe 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.

My verdict: For readers of historical fantasy and love story, you’d love this!

My thoughts:

A love story about a willful young woman who wanted to live freely and a young man who just wanted to be loved for who he is. Great for readers who love a good love story and fantastic writing.

The book opened in 1714 in France, when 23-year-old Addie LaRue, tired of being told what to do and wanted to escape an arranged marriage, made a Faustian bargain, sold her soul to the devil (plainly called the shadow in the book) in exchange for freedom, ‘free from courtship, free from marriage, free from everything except Villon. Left alone to grow. And dream.’ The shadow granted her immortality.

She was 300 years old in 2014, and had lived many lives, with many names, but nobody remembered her; memories of her ‘erased by a closing door, an instant out of sight, a moment of sleep. Unable to leave a mark on anyone, or anything’, until one day, at a bookstore, called The Book, a young man named Henry, remembered her. And it goes without saying, they fell in love.

But how was it that Henry could remember her?

The timeline went back and forthfrom when Addie LaRue was still trying to grasp her ‘invisibility’ and working her way around it, travelling to places beyond her imagination were she to live her previous life, to the present moment in 2014 when she met Henry, an employee at The Book who also had struggles of his own.

Truth to be told – I’m ambivalent about this book. The good things first. I was enamored by Schwab’s writing: her descriptions of people, places and emotions were just beautiful. I had many passages highlighted, one of which was about Henry:

His heart has a draft. It lets in light. It lets in storms. It lets in everything.” So simple, so lyrical.

Another one:

“Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder, what is real, if you are real. After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?”

Henry’s entrance to the story lifted the story a little bit. In fact, I thought his character, as compared to Addie’s, had more dimension, and his life seemed more interesting even though it was only set in New York. And New York felt more real as compared to the other places like Spain and England which Addie had visited. I was also intrigued by the shadow, which I didn’t get much of, and only saw more of him towards the end.

Unfortunately for me, unlike many others, I found it difficult to connect to Addie, who, besides her strong desire to live freely, hardly grew as a character. 300 years into her life, she was still like her 23-year-old self. And although Estelle was portrayed as someone whom Addie cared for dearly, I just couldn’t feel it – the bond and the relationship was told, but wasn’t shown. I was hoping for more from Estelle as she seemed to be a promising character.

Like the title, Addie felt ‘invisible’ to me. Just fleeting moments of her travels here and there, times spent with her lovers here and there. And just when she was in a moment of struggle, fighting for her life, she’d be saved by the shadow, or she’d wish for him to come save her, even though she knew she’d lived no matter what. There was hardly a moment of tension, or a momentous event throughout her 300 years of life.

Overall the book was written beautifully, so much so that the writing itself overshadowed the characters and its story. But after reading some reviews, I can see that I fall in the minority. Maybe this book just wasn’t for me.

That said, I loved the idea of the story and I’m certain that many others will enjoy this book, unfortunately not me. Definitely my loss! But I’m looking forward to reading Schwab’s popular Shades of Magic series – that’s already on my shelf. 

And I beg…NO HATE MAILS, please….! Apologies to all fans of Schwab and lovers of Addie LaRue.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this much raved-about book in exchange for an honest review, I’m truly thankful! All opinions are mine.

Have you read this book? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you intend to? Please share with me your thoughts!

25 Comments Add yours

  1. I appreciate your honest review . I hope your next book is more enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Jodie! I think you’d enjoy this book! 🙂

      Like

      1. I can’t wait to read it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen lots of hype about this in the last few days! The writing sounds beautiful, sorry you didn’t enjoy the story as much as you wanted. Great review, Jee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you so much, Stephen! Have you read any books by her?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I haven’t! She gets a lot of hype though, so I might get to her books eventually.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    You can’t love them all, and I thought you had some very good reasons why this didn’t work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you so much, Rosie!

      Like

  4. nsfordwriter says:

    Interesting review Jee! And I’m sure you don’t need to apologise or feel bad about giving your honest opinion 🙂 I’ve not read this author at all. The concept of the story sounds good but the page count is longer than I like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, NS. I felt like I was the only one who had read the book who didn’t really enjoy it 😦 thankful Kyra, who just commented she shared the same sentiments too…Phew! This is my first by this author and she has really quite a huge fan base and she said this is her first novel that has a love story in it. She can write really well, that’s for sure but this story just didn’t work for me 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad I’m not the only outlier here! I wasn’t a huge fan of this book though I loved the idea of it. Great and fair review, Jee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Omg thank you so much for letting me know, Kyra! I appreciate this 💕 I felt so awful not sharing the same opinion as so many others! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw man. I can understand why this didn’t impress you as much as it did for others, or even myself. At some point in the story, I too started to wonder if a 300-year-old lady could still “sound” like a 20s lady too. I think it’s when she occasionally showcases life experiences, such as identifying lies, that made me pass over that issue hahah I hope the next book will be much better for you! Wonderful honest review nonetheless, Jee! Don’t be sorry! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Lashaan! I was hoping so much to like this book so I can rave about it like so many of you. But alas… 😦 But thank you for your kind words, my friend! And thank you for stopping by and reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If it’s ok to chime in…I thought the same thing. The level of communication/experience/connection with the felt age difference by her, seemed a bit implausible to me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jee Wan says:

        Of course it’s ok to chime in! I appreciate all thoughts and opinions, and I agree with you, Scarlett 💕 I don’t know, I find maybe this style would appeal to a younger crowd?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think you are right on!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. stargazer says:

    Haha, don’t worry, you won’t get any hate mails from me 😉 . Genre-defying or not, I wouldn’t normally read historical fantasy, even if the storyline sounds interesting enough. Also, it is so important for me to be able to connect to the characters. It doesn’t matter if I like them, but I need to have some interest in them. So no, don’t think this one is for me. Hope you have more luck with your next read! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      I totally agree with you about connecting to the characters! And thank you for not sending me any hate mails ahhaha I’m thankful my req for this much-anticipated book got approved but sadly I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to 😦 Thank you for your kind words, stargazer. I appreciate it xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Leslie says:

    Ahhhh, Great review!! I’m so hyped for this one and now I’m nervous!! haha. Don’t feel bad for being an outlier… I’m like that ALL the time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Leslie! I can’t wait for you to read this and review it! 😀 I love your reviews as they’re always from the heart 🙂

      Like

  9. Hi Jee,
    Your review about the novel is spot on. I won this book at a giveaway a few weeks back and have not written a review on it. I may not…now so much time has passed, but I agree on some of your points. I found the writing outshined the plot. It was also a bit long in a few parts though I did like the characters. Albeit predictable in some places, I did enjoy it perhaps a bit more than you. It also was my first V.E. Schwab book ever! I know it is a highly raved novel but not the best I have ever read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Scarlett! Wow you always win such great giveaways! I’m rarely ever so lucky 😦 Yes, her writing was beautiful for sure. According to the author this is her first novel that is a love story and one that she had worked on for a very long time. I just wished I was able to enjoy it a little more. Did you also prefer Henry’s part?

      Like

      1. Honestly, in parts I did like his story better. I liked her dark encounters but I preferred his overall storyline. If I remember correctly, it was about halfway that it switched to mainly his story and after a while I was thinking how ok I would be to just drop her story.
        I did not know it was her first love story….🤔 or perhaps I forgot…
        I did enjoy her writing and Addie’s ultimate show of sacrifice was a touching turn for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jee Wan says:

        I agree with you! I would’ve been fun to have had this as a buddy read with you 🙂 I enjoy learning about this perspective of yours on this story! Thank you for sharing, Scarlett! 🙂 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

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