Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fiction  |  02.14.2021

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Book Review) Spoilers

Synopsis:

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.

Genre:

Adult Fantasy

Trigger Warnings:

  • Abusive relationship
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Assault (physical and sexual)
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Drugs
  • Prostitution
  • Sexism
  • Suicide (attempted)
  • War

Source: Book Trigger Warnings

Review With Spoilers:

“Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives–or to find strength in a very long one.”
― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

** spoiler alert ** It’s a sad day when you don’t love a book you thought would be a favorite.

Addie LaRue is written beautifully. V.E Schwab guides you from 1714 to 2014 with haunting prose and carefully constructed conversations. It’s immersive, it’s poetic, and it instantly creates a bond between you and its characters. The book can be divided into two portions and, unlike some readers, I didn’t have an issue with pacing in the first half. My favorite thing about this book is how the story itself is addictive. V.E Schwab shows you a world of emotions from intense anger, to grief, love, absolution, and so many others.

What I can’t forgive is the lack of character growth throughout this story, and how full of missed opportunities a life so vast as 300 years can be. Addie LaRue started her journey as a French girl that wanted to see the world. She wanted freedom above all, to explore, to love, to just be. After her deal with Luc she quickly understands she was dealt the short end of the stick and makes it her life mission to be remembered.

“…it is sad, of course, to forget.

But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.

To remember when no one else does.”

― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

It’s extremely egotistic that in 300 hundred years of history she is only obsessed with leaving her mark throughout different media. Sure, it is mentioned here and there that she traveled and fought wars, but we don’t get to see that on the page. V.E Schwab mostly takes us from her hometown to Paris, to New York, with some brief trips to Chicago and New Orleans. We don’t see much of her adventurers, and the central point of angst for Addie is how she is unable to sustain a relationship with other humans since they forget her immediately. For a girl who dreaded any sort of attachment, it’s weird that romance became such an important plot point in the book.

“Three words, large enough to tip the world. I remember you.”

― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

At the halfway mark the story shifts considerably when the character of Henry is introduced. As mentioned before, Schwab’s beautiful narrative makes us fall in love with him instantly, and it’s refreshing to see Addie finally turning things around in her favor. And, it’s not like I need a happy ending in a book, but the resolution for this story only exaggerated (to me) the fact that Addie is so extremely selfish. At the end of the day, there is no reprieve for Luc, in a sense, they both used Henry and discarded him. Addie finally got someone to tell her story and many to say her name out loud for years to come, and Luc got his obsession. For a girl that would do anything to not get married and settle down, she became attached eternally to her abuser.

“The old gods may be great, but they are neither kind nor merciful. They are fickle, unsteady as moonlight on water, or shadows in a storm. If you insist on calling them, take heed: be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price. And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”

― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

And yeah, I know she threw in a line there about how Addie is just waiting to one-up Luc, but honestly, can you really believe that’s going to happen after she was toyed with by this incredibly powerful deity throughout the whole book? No, I don’t see any freedom for Addie, anytime soon. Maybe that’s her cautionary tale, of ending up exactly how she started, but for a reader, this story felt a whole bunch like walking in circles.

There’s definitely a metaphor there about art and how it transcends the artists and how we leave a mark in this world. The whole “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” thing. But, at the end of the day, there was so much that Addie could have accomplished, and lived, and so much potential for this story to be deeper and more meaningful than a few failed romantic attempts.

“His heart has a draft. It lets in light. It lets in storms. It lets in everything.”

― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Also, yeah I’m bitter that Luc ”won” and Henry was just a pawn in their game. Sue me.

Rating:

☆☆.☆ (2.5 Stars)

Find the book here:

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Waterstones

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2 Comments “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Book Review) Spoilers”
  1. Lindsey      Feb 15 2021 // 08H49

    Aww no, it’s so frustrating when you really have your hopes up for a book and it disappoints. Even just reading your review, I know I’d get so annoyed with her character – how can there be such a lack of development over an expanded period of time? How frustrating. Great review!

    • lazybookconqueror      Feb 15 2021 // 08H37

      Thanks! Yeah, I just wanted to see some character growth. The book was beautifully written but the plot was lacking in my opinion.