Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Genre: Adult – Fantasy
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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 THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“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.”
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a slow, character-driven book. It’s not a book to dive into when you are looking for a quick, easy read that’ll make you feel good. Not that there is no hope to be found within these pages, because there is. But this is a book to be savoured, slowly, page by page. Preferably on grey or dark days that add to the atmospheric effect. And be ready to have this story stick on your mind and thoughts throughout your reading journey.
At least, that’s the effect it had on me. I loved this book so much, and definitely recommend it to all. Here’s why:
The devastating yet intriguing premise and Addie’s determination
“But this is how you walk to the end of the world. This is how you live forever. Here is one day, and here is the next, and the next, and you take what you can, savor every stolen second, cling to every moment, until it’s gone.”
In a moment of desperation, Addie LaRue makes a deal to live forever. But while she may live forever, she is also cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. She can never leave a mark again and is pretty much doomed to roam the world as a ghost, living only in her own infinite chain of presents, without a way to share her past or build a future.
This premise is what drew me in. What a terrible life it would be, to be forgotten by everyone, to lose everything, to never be able to build anything or leave a mark. I was constantly thinking what I would do if I were in Addie’s shoes, and to be honest, I wouldn’t last 300 years. I’m not sure I would last one. But Addie’s determination, her stubbornness, and her unending will to live were so inspiring and formed the hopeful heart of this story.
Henry Strauss. The boy who felt too much.
“His heart has a draft. It lets in light. It lets in storms. It lets in everything.”
As much as I adored Addie, from the moment Henry was introduced, I related so much more to his story than Addie’s. Because while I couldn’t imagine myself in Addie’s shoes, I could definitely do that with Henry. Henry is a boy who feels too much, cares too much. A boy with storms in his head and a constant anxiety over how quickly time passes and all the choices he hasn’t made and the many different paths he could be taking. His story was so intriguing as well and I loved it when his path crossed with Addie’s. The mystery of why he was able to remember her, the only person in 300 years, had me hooked and eager to read on and learn more.
Luc. God or devil, neutral or evil?
“Don’t you remember, she told him then, when you were nothing but shadow and smoke?
Darling, he’d said in his soft, rich way, I was the night itself.”
Before Addie meets Henry however, there is Luc. Or The Darkness itself. The one she makes her deal with. And the only one who regularly visits her throughout her long life and knows her, remembers her. But their relationship is extremely antagonistic, as of course Addie resents the terms of her deal and Luc only wants her to yield to him and surrender her soul. And yet… over 300 years they spend together and they come to understand each other on a level no one else does. I’m not saying that their relationship was healthy or good. But I am saying that I was super intrigued by Luc and wanted more of him. I have a thing for dark bad guys, I think. Also, I loved reading his and Addie’s interactions and comparing them to Addie and Henry’s. So different and yet I loved them both.
The beautiful, lyrical writing
“If she must grow roots, she would rather be left to flourish wild instead of pruned, would rather stand alone, allowed to grow beneath the open sky. Better that than firewood, cut down just to burn in someone else’s hearth.”
Though it’s not exactly a surprise as I loved V.E. Schwab’s previous works, I did still think the writing in Addie was at another level. Every sentence, every paragraph, had this atmospherical quality to it that felt both magical and whimsical and dark. As is evidenced by the fact that I highlighted almost every single quote in the book as a favorite. I also loved the fact that the story jumped from the past to the present, and from Addie to Henry’s POV and yet everything flowed so smoothly and felt so natural. I really am in awe of the writing style of this story. Also, I felt like this material really was meant for a movie adaptation and I hope it happens and they do this justice.
So I can only rave about this book and recommend it to all. Read it now, while the winter months are still grey and cold and dark and you’ll be in the perfect mindset to savour the story. Read it now, before the movie happens which I am sure is an inevitability because how could they not?
“…it is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”
“What she needs are stories.
Stories are a way to preserve one’s self. To be remembered. And to forget.
Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books.
Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.”
“Because time is cruel to all, and crueler still to artists. Because visions weakens, and voices wither, and talent fades…. Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end… everyone wants to be remembered”
“A dreamer,” scorns her mother.
“A dreamer,” mourns her father.
“A dreamer,” warns Estele.
Still, it does not seem such a bad word.”
“It is just a storm, he tells himself, but he is tired of looking for shelter. It is just a storm, but there is always another waiting in its wake.”
“Other people would call him sensitive, but it is more than that. The dial is broken, the volume turned all the way up. Moments of joy registered as brief, but ecstatic. Moments of pain stretched long and unbearably loud.”
“The vexing thing about time,” he says, “is that it’s never enough. Perhaps a decade too short, perhaps a moment. But a life always ends too soon.”