The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – REVIEW
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.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Titan Books.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“I want to be free. Free to live, and to find my own way, to love, or be alone, but at least it is my choice, and I am so tired of not having choices.”
Despite having high expectations (especially thanks to all the hype), V.E. Schwab somehow exceeded them in every way and Addie quickly became one of my favourite books of 2020. Exploring what it means to be human through the connections we forge in life and the legacy we leave the world, Addie LaRue is a phenomenal work of art mirroring the very themes it embodies. The book itself is interspersed with pieces of art and some background information, portraying Addie’s influence on the people around her and how important being a muse can be.
“It is sad, of course, to forget. But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten. To remember when no one else does.”
After Addie makes a Faustian bargain for more time, she discovers she is also cursed to be forgotten by everyone she ever meets. Dipping in and out of Addie’s life over 300 years, it is impossible not to empathise with Addie and her yearning to be remembered; her sadness is almost palpable and her inability to forge lasting connections makes her a truly tragic character. I adored the vulnerabilities she displayed alongside her determination and resilience. Addie was one of the most complex and well-written characters I’ve ever read. Additionally, the beautiful prose and lyrical cadence mirrored her wild personality and ensured the reader remained engaged throughout.
“Never pray to the gods who answer after dark.”
Throughout her life, Addie has had numerous lovers but two are focused on. Firstly, Henry, a bookseller who is the first person to ever remember Addie. I identified with Henry so much, especially his indecision and fear of time passing by without achieving anything. How do you ever know you’re on the right path and making the right decisions? Second is Luc, the ‘devil’ Addie made her bargain with. It’s a slower process to understand Luc compared to Henry but his development was engaging and certainly an interesting twist. I loved that the author always remained focused on Addie herself though; the love interests were part of Addie’s tale but never the full story. If you haven’t read this book yet then I urge you to beg, borrow or buy a copy ASAP as it’s the perfect antidote to the miseries of 2020.