The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
By: V.E. Schwab
Addie LaRue is about a girl in 1700’s France who wants to get out of her arranged marriage and live. She makes a deal with the devil that winds up in an ultimate curse. She’s immortal but no one will ever remember her.
And he means that in the immediate way. Like her family forgets her. Someone turns their head and boom it’s who are you? I admit I hoped for so much on this one the idea sounded so good and ultimately I was disappointed.
I get a bit spoilery below. Nothing you probably haven’t already heard or assumed about the book but just beware if you want to go in completely blind.
But first the good- some of it is beautiful written (when I wasn’t choking on metaphors and seriously that was most of the time) but I’m a sucker for stories about the philosophy of the passing of time and you could tell Schwab felt that. And the stuff immediately after the deal with her family was very moving.
After 300 years Addie meets a guy who remembers her and Henry was actually interesting on his own.
Honestly the rest of it was all a snooze.
One of my biggest problems is how small this book feels. It’s told in flashbacks and 98% of them are happening on the same day anniversary of the curse. That means we don’t see any history (save the immediate aftermath) we get told about it but it’s so repetitious and becomes so flippant.
You could have done so much with this story even if Schwab wanted to keep it all in France so she didn’t have to do a ton of research. With her curse Addie could have gone and parked it in Versailles and been the ghost whispering in people’s ears.
There was two times in this whole book where Addie was doing something interesting (so we were told anyway) or moving and both times Luc (our devil) shows up and it’s all pretty much wiped away.
And that’s another big problem for me. For a girl that wanted to be free Addie’s story, her 300 year old life, is mostly about these 2 men’s interactions with her. Now it’s true she can’t form any real attachments and in modern times we see she has good memories of one relationship but it’s still kind of sad that is all we get.
Also a problem is I didn’t really feel anything for either relationship. Luc and Addie could have been a wild toxic thing but we only get glimpses of it really and Henry and Addie? Well Addie could have been any character in any contemporary without the curse I’ve ever read.
I couldn’t help think of Buffy and Angel because you felt like Angel was way older than Buffy. You believed he had been around for centuries. I didn’t feel that with Addie. So she knew the city well? So she had seen a movie before him? Big deal. That’s probably true of a lot of people!
Random but it totally bugged me that Addie’s memory was talked about almost as much as her fucking freckles and there was one chapter where she’s telling Luc she won’t give up because of all the wonderful things she’s done over the year including have champagne and one chapter later Luc is giving her champagne for the very first time! Ugh! I know a narrative has lost me when I pick up on stuff like that or hell maybe she could have spaced it out more chapters.
And then by the end when I finally think something interesting is going to happen we’re going to get some real meaning… I don’t know to me it feels like a wash.
I know I’m in the minority on the Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (at least by whatever standards you want to put on Goodreads) but Addie LaRue was disappointing and perhaps unfairly that made it an even bigger bummer.
Recommend: No but like I said I know I’m in the minority on this one!