Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Speculative Fiction
My Rating: 2/5
Synopsys from Goodreads:
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.
Here is my review of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. I will be a great minority in this one… because I did not like this book.
Before I write down my thoughts, two disclaimers. The first, is that I have a difficult relationship with Schwab’s books. Some I enjoy, and others I just like the concept of, but not the execution. The second, is that this book was so hyped that it just didn’t live up to the expectations.
I did not enjoy this book for many reasons. First, it is not what it is marketed as. It is not a love story between a girl who sells her soul and the devil. This is because Luc’s nature is never defined in the first place: is he a devil? THE devil? Darkness? I was very confused by this. Moreover, it is not a love story. They lust for each other, but nothing more. Plus, when Henry comes in, it is more of a love triangle. The encounters between Addie and Luc were repetitive, and all blurred together.
Let’s talk about Henry. Even though he was the character I liked best, I still don’t understand what his role in the story was. His relationship with Addie was rendered in a superficial manner that made it impossible for me to believe in it. Even though we get a glimpse of his internal struggles, I still found their storyline muddy, not well defined and with no real purpose.
The storytelling is choppy. Jumping back in time, all the episodes mesh into one another, and they are so, so repetitive. I also found the encounter with famous artists and composers very forced (Beethoven was almost totally def when he died, but he can hear Luc?) or one of the ‘Italian’ paintings’ name was misspelled (I am Italian, and this was an easy mistake to fix). I don’t know, these sloppy elements made the narrative pretentious and a bit forced.
I would have loved to like Addie. To feel with her. But because of the narrative style that was distant, never in the present, always mentioning the past or the future, I just couldn’t (many sentences read like this: ‘Addie would have learnt this fifty years from now, but not today…’ which always projected the reader into the future, thus avoiding creating a connection to the character in the now).
I also found the ending very anticlimactic. And this is because, to me, Addie has not had any character development for the 290 years out of the 323 she has lived. After the Paris period, she just got stuck into herself, her hidden cleverness, and her desire to trick Luc. And that is how the book ends. So not only is it not satisfying for the reader, who for 400 pages roots for Addie to trick Luc, but there is not even the character development we hoped for.
Unfortunately this book was not for me, but I will still recommend it because I know I am a minority. I know many people are loving it, which makes me happy because I know how important this novel is for Victoria.
I would really love to know your thoughts on this.
Until next time,