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Monday, October 12, 2020

The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (reviewed by Caitlin Grieve)

Official Author Website
Pre-order The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue over HERE(USA) or HERE (UK) 
Read Lukasz's review of The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue

OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBSITE.: Victoria “V.E.” Schwab
is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”

FORMAT/INFO: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was published October 6th, 2020 by Tor. It is 448 pages divided into seven parts and 108 chapters. It is told in third person from Addie and Henry's POV. It is available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Addie LaRue is tired of living a small life. She lives in a tiny village in France in the early 1700s, and she’s about to be forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. In an act of desperation, she prays to the dark – and the dark answers. One hastily made bargain later, Addie can live forever. The catch? No one remembers her once she leaves their sight. Addie spends 300 years traveling the world, learning how to live with her curse, resisting the dark god’s temptation to give in and release her soul to him. Until one day, in 2014 in New York, Addie meets a boy who actually remembers her.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the kind of book that invites you to sink into it and lose yourself. It is not a fast-paced book, but it draws you in. Sometimes with slower books, I have to give myself goals – get to the end of this chapter and we’ll see if we need to take a break. With Addie LaRue, I lost track of how many chapters I’d read, was never tempted to look at the progress bar. I was thoroughly entranced by Addie and her story.

The tale jumps back and forth between Addie in 2014 and Addie at various points in her life before. How she met the dark god (that she comes to call Luc), her early days living with her curse, various tragedies and successes she had in her life, and so forth. Those alternate with “present day” Addie as she tries to understand why this young man named Henry is immune to her curse. Henry has his own story to tell, and his POV eventually enters the mix of chapters as well. It’s all one seamless story, and I was never rushing to get back to one section or the other because it just flows together so well.

But even this slower paced romance has an air of tension to it, because you know as the reader that something is going to go wrong, nothing can quite be this perfect. It’s a feeling only reinforced as small bits of ominous foreshadowing begin to drop into the story. It made the second-half of the book even more engrossing, because you want to know what’s coming, want to know the secret(s).

This tale is a love story, but that isn’t all it is. It’s about how we interact with the world, how we want to be perceived and how we connect. Both Addie’s story and Henry’s play on this theme and explore the big and small ways we want to be remembered. Even something as simple as being called by your name can have a huge impact, something The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue won’t let you forget. It’s about loneliness and wanting to belong and wanting to live and the prices we pay to get what we think we want in life.

There was one thing about this book that bugged me a little (and is a personal preference) but the prose could repeat certain phrases in a way I found took me out of the story. To paraphrase, it was along the lines of “Addie won’t know for ten more years, but…” In some ways it’s a necessary turn of phrase for contextualizing Addie’s place in both personal and world history, but the repetition jarred me slightly. To be fair, the whole story almost feels like a modern-day fairy tale in the way it is written, so this likely won’t bump against others.

That, perhaps, is the best way to describe The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. It’s a modern-day fairy tale, a cautionary tale to be careful what you wish for. But it’s also about one woman’s drive to LIVE, to see the world, to keep discovering new things. Addie may be frustrated by her curse, may be lonely, may even be tired some days, but there is always something in the world she hasn’t seen yet, and she’s determined to seek it out.

CONCLUSION: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a story of love and connection. It keeps a slow but steady pace that will keep pulling you forward to see how these lives play out until the last final page.

NOTE: This review was originally posted on Catlin's website Realms Of My Mind

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