The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
by V.E. Schwab
5 out of 5
In the vein of The Time Traveler's Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab's genre-defying tour de force.
When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there's always a price - the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.
Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.
Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.
Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can't escape her fate forever.
Addie wants to be a wild thing, to have freedom in a time when women are bound by duty. She will do anything, including making a deal with the devil.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Adeline LaRue lives in a small French town, where everyone is born, and everyone is buried in the same space. Addie wants to escape, she wants to be free of her small town life, free of the expectations to marry, raise kids, and die in the same town.
When she is being forced to marry a man who is perfectly nice, but she doesn't love, Addie can see the cage closing around her. In desperation, she makes a deal with a god of darkness, freedom in exchange for her soul.
And she is free: free from aging, free from health issues, free from duty (as no one remembers her).
The first half of the book is split between Addie in New York 2014; and Addie's story starting in 1714.
Over three hundred years, Addie suffers and struggles, as she comes to terms with her curse. It doesn't take long before she learns some tricks to get by, and does more than survive. Addie seeks new marvels every day, to feel alive every day. Even if no one truly remembers her, she becomes a cross between a ghost and a muse for artists across the years, feeding her ideas into so many pieces.
Despite countless weak moments, she never gives in to the dark god, because there will always be something new on the horizon.
Addie is great. Even in the very beginning, she's very level-headed about what she can't change, and does what she has to, to survive.
I liked in the 2014 timeline, how it accepts that she is weary, after her long life; but she continues to be optimistic. She never lets the constant repeats and introductions get her down.
The second half introduces a new narrator - Henry, who meets Addie in New York, 2014.
He is the first person in three hundred years to remember her.
He has a very chaotic energy, and is terrified of wasting time. So much so, that he can't settle on one thing, or commit to one path. Until he meets Addie, and finds that she doesn't have any expectations of him.
I really liked how Henry's story is played out. I liked how the author tackled depression, with Henry's black storms, being a regular and all-consuming part of life. It doesn't romanticise or glory in Henry's use of alcohol and pills to mask the pain. Instead, it's written with the same logic and respect as Addie's historical parts.
This is a very slow story. It plays out 300 years of snippets, but mostly to share all the little things that make up life.
You get to explore who Addie, Henry and the dark god are.
You get to see how messy life is.
This is the first book I've read by V.E. Schwab, but I'll definitely be reading more!