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Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Age Rating: 13+
Spice Level: (not spicy)
There is a timeless appeal when reading about a deal with the devil. The promise of infinite power, youth, or wealth in exchange for one’s soul is a narrative as old as storytelling itself. It has been reimagined countless times in literature. Yet, each retelling brings with it a new perspective, a fresh lens through which we can examine our moral compass and the limits of our ambitions.
From the author of A Darker Shade of Magic, in V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, this classic motif was unraveled in a unique and compelling way. Addie, the protagonist, doesn’t just strike a deal for immortality. The price she pays is severe: she’s cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
If you’re a fan of magical realism, historical fiction, and a dash of romance, then The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab could be your next favorite read. Let’s dive in further in this book review.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Synopsis
Born in a small French town in the late 17th century, Addie is a young woman yearning to escape from her mundane life and impending unwanted marriage. In desperation, she turns to the gods after dark, making a pact that grants her immortality in exchange for her soul. However, the deal comes with an unexpected twist. She may live forever and is cursed to have everyone she meets forgets her as soon as she leaves their sight.
This kicks off the extraordinary life of Addie, playing out across centuries and continents across history. Addie’s life becomes a timeless voyage, drifting in and out of people’s lives, where the only way to leave her mark is in the works of artists she subtly inspires. Her lonely existence is punctuated by the sporadic appearances of the deity, Luc, who is always ready to end her curse if she only surrenders her soul.
After 300 years, Addie stumbles upon a surprise – Henry Strauss, a bookstore employee in the 21st century, remembers her. To Addie’s astonishment, he remembers her, marking the first time in centuries that someone has been able to recall her presence. This breakthrough seems to be the loophole Addie has been longing for—a potential end to her solitude. However, Henry is hiding something significant, and the revelation could upend her centuries-long defiance of Luc and her enduring survival.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is a story of struggle, perseverance, and the lengths to which one might go to leave a legacy. It’s a compelling exploration of the human condition, offering a unique perspective on love, loss, and the enduring power of memory.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a captivating journey through history, but not in the way you might expect. Rather than focusing on significant, world-changing events, it sheds light on the smaller, often unnoticed moments that shape our lives. Schwab demonstrates masterfully how even the most minor actions and decisions can alter the course of our lives. The book emphasizes the potency of ideas and stories, showing how they shape our worldview.
The characters in this book also feel natural and multidimensional. Schwab weaves Addie’s past and present together, creating a rich tapestry that tells her story through time. Addie’s quest for self-discovery, freedom, and companionship resonates deeply, aligning with universal human desires. Her pursuit of love, less about romance and more about shared understanding and respect, is particularly compelling.
The dynamics between Addie and Luc are nuanced, filled with tension, and fraught with complexity. Luc, with his inky hair, mysterious eyes, and seductive charm, is a compelling character. Although he’s a god, he’s no less complex than any human. His possessiveness and obsessive nature don’t make him a one-dimensional villain. Instead, Schwab gives him a depth that makes him relatable, even pitiable at times. His solitude, yearning, and struggle with his immortality paint a nuanced picture of a flawed yet captivating character.
In contrast, Henry provides a breath of fresh air. His sensitivity, battle with mental health, and boundless zest for life make him incredibly relatable. Schwab’s sensitive and respectful portrayal of his mental health challenges further enhances his character’s impact.
At times, I found the book’s pace a tad slow, but the suspense surrounding Addie’s unusual situation kept me hooked. The narrative’s structure, alternating seamlessly between past and present, added an extra dimension of intrigue that I thoroughly enjoyed.
In essence, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book that echoes the human experience. It speaks to our shared fear of being forgotten, our desire for recognition, and our quest for love and freedom. It’s a celebration of personal stories and experiences, artfully woven into a narrative that spans history and art. It highlights the significance of our personal stories and experiences in shaping our understanding of the world. I’d recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and fantasy, as well as anyone who desires to make a lasting impact on the world.
If you found this review helpful, you can check out the book at Bookshop.org here and support local bookstores along the way!