Title/Author: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
In a nutshell (Publisher):
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.
My verdict: For readers of historical fantasy and love story, you’d love this!
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 forth – from 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.
“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!