Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Updated: Sep 12, 2021
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab (2020)
"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."
The story of a young girl who wishes more for herself than wife and mother in a small town. On the eve of her wedding night, to a man she has no interest in, she makes a deal with... a god? a devil? ... and must then spend the next few years learning the confines and rules of her bargain. She can never die, she can make no mark on the world, and she will never be remembered by anyone. Until she meets a boy in a bookshop, and the following day he says three words she hasn't heard for almost 300 years: "I remember you."
This book is so fun. I sped through it, then gave it to my mom who read it within a few days. The characters are strong and relatable, and the story moves slow enough to savour (but not to get bored). I keep seeing this book described as romance, but I don't agree at all. The fact that there is a romance between two characters doesn't make it a "romantic fantasy" or a "gothic romance." There are very few fiction books that don't contain some element of a relationship between two characters. The story here is Addie's unflappable perseverance, how she learns to navigate a world where she leaves no trace, and how her version of loneliness ends up fitting together with someone else's.
On the subject of relationships, though, I will say that it was refreshing to read a story where almost all of the main characters are bisexual or gay. I enjoy it when an author creates a world where this is normal. I guess because I'm kind of tired of books/movies/shows where it's treated as A Big Deal. That's not to say that it isn't sometimes, for some people. But it's also just normal. And I'd rather spend my time in a (fictional) world where it feels that way (e.g. Schitt's Creek!).
Schwab also did this in the Darker Shade of Magic series - which, by the way, I've revisited multiple times because they're some of the most fun books I've ever read. What I'm saying is - she writes good stuff. If you're into fantasy at all, you'll enjoy Addie LaRue, the Darker Shade series, and the Villains series (which I reviewed back in April).
UP NEXT: The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper,
by Hallie Rubenhold