Welcome everyone to my review / analyses of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.
If you haven’t heard of it It’s 434 pages long fantasy (drama?), originally published on October 6, 2020. written by bestseller author Victoria Schwab and it has 4.33 rating on Goodreads and 4,6 on Amazon.
Now if you’ve ever read any of her books, you’ll know she has a distinctive writing style. I can’t really pinpoint what makes it different but in my opinion you either love it or you are not a fan.
I previously read her Shades of magic series (you can find a review of the second installment here) and up to this day I don’t know what I think about it. I remember it, that’s for sure, I don’t love it, there are many things I would change, but what annoys me the most is the feeling it had so much unused potential.
The similar situation is with Addie.
Quick recap (from Goodreads):
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 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 friend @just_ordinary_bookshelf and I read it as a buddy read just before Christmas. (go check out her review) At the time the book was all the rage, and I had both high expectations, but I was also wary due to the hype.
First thing I have to mention is purely personal taste – I’m not a big fan of storylines where long periods of time pass between scenes. If find them depressive and annoying when I have to change perspective so suddenly.
I found the first part of the book quite boring; it was long and slow and I couldn’t identify or sympathize with Addie. Unfortunately, that feeling haven’t left me all up to the end of the book. I can honestly say she is not very likable character and for the most part of the book she is so singled out from everything I couldn’t feel the story. Yes, partly that was the intention to show how lonely she become over the centuries and yes, I got a bit of that feeling but not in a good way.
When I read, I want to be emerged in a book, to feel what characters feel, and here it was as I was watching how she feels from the other side of the glass.
Further on, I didn’t like Henry’s parts, neither I liked his backstory a lot, nor him. XD
Parts of the text that were told from his perspective are, in my opinion, purely expositional. They are not long or detailed enough to emerge you in it, but they are too long to function as an explanation of their circumstances. Extracted from the text it can easily serve as a beginning of a new book, which is not something you want in the middle of the one you are reading. (the same writing choice you can find in her other books) Moreover, we should feel sorry for him at one point and be relieved with the end of his story at another, but I was neither – I was just annoyed.
The brightest point of the book is Luc (coincidence? I think not 😉 ) and the relationship between him and Addie is the only one that felt real to me. Partly that’s because he was the only one who ever remembered her but also his character is more detailed and more interesting than others. That’s one more reason I think Henry’s story is too long and unnecessary, those pages could have been spent further developing Addie’s relationship with Luc, in the end Henry’s character exists only as a prop in Addie’s and Luc’s story and not as a person in its own right. The number of pages spent on him doesn’t change that, it only amounts the number of wasted pages.
“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.”V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Besides, the development where she only loved Henry because she had to experience the Love with a mortal is reeallly stretched. Honestly, I don’t see the point or how it helped her character. If anything, her character hadn’t changed in 300 years. No satisfying character arc at all. The same thing is with Henry, he changed his life circumstances but he hasn’t realized that other people are not a problem in his life, he should develop a more positive attitude about his life, he only seemingly got a happy ending where all is resolved.
One more thing I just can’t pass by is how similar The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is to some other books mostly to Fallen series by Lauren Kate (especially the last book) and Georgina Kincaid Series by Richelle Mead.
What I can imagine for Addie and Luc in the future:
I would love to see them fight and bicker for the next 300 years where she makes his life miserable while in a mean time, she realizes she loves him, just before that he gives her, her freedom back which she didn’t gain in this book, so now they are equal, and they live happily ever after (like eternally ever after XD). Classic romance. I know I know I should just write a fanfiction and be done with it XD.
P.S. In a chapter where Addie is meeting Luc to negotiate Henry’s fate, have it ever crossed your mind she will leave him for Luc, and he will “not be enough” once more. (I’m terrible) or maybe that would annulate his contract with Luc (just legal thinking for the end).
(Let me know in the comments below if you would be interesting in reading a conversation- podcast type of review for a buddy reads)