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Review: The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, General Science Fiction, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 448
Published by: Tor Books
Date Published: October 6, 2020
You can find a copy here: Bookshop.org


France, 1714. Adeline LaRue dreams of a life full of adventure, experiences and surprises. She desperately longs to escape her small French village where most people are born and die within the same few blocks of the village church. Faced with an imminent unwanted marriage, Addie makes a rash deal with a dark God to free her; allowing her to live forever on her own terms. The unforeseen consequences, however, are that she will be forgotten by all she meets.

Until 300 years later when a boy in an unassuming book store in Brooklyn remembers her name …


Undoubtedly, this is V.E. Schwab writing at her very best, there is a passion present in her writing that leaps off the page and I can feel the heart pulse of this story deeply resonates with her own musings on life, time, our ability to leave a mark, how quickly time passes, and the complicated reality of being 30 … of suddenly needing to have it all figured out.

Her writing is deeply elegiac with each and every sentence reading like a piece of melancholy poetic verse. For me the first 100-ish pages was an absolute literary feast, a smorgasbord of quotes and passages that just filled me up as a reader. Schwab’s observation on thirty-something life, the expectations of suddenly needing to be an adult with little idea what that truly means, the unrelenting reality of waking each day to feel that time is slipping too quickly and the unceasing panic that you might not leave a mark or find what you are meant to do – is something I can relate to in every imaginable way. It was absolutely stunning.

However  – and I know this will be an outlier opinion as I can already see this book has strongly resonated with many people – throughout the middle section of the book, the poetic writing overtakes the plot. As gorgeous as it was, the plot itself took a back seat with not a lot happening to propel the pacing forward. Further, the comments on aging, life, life experiences, and not having enough time became repetitive and reductive … the more I read the same sentence of “not enough time”, “over in a blink”, “time slipping beneath my feet”, it began to take away the very essence that made this such a special read in the beginning.

I never fully warmed up to the love interest of this story, finding it too convenient that the first person to remember her in 300 years just happens to be the love of her life, each falling for the other within a couple days. The mystery surrounding Henry is fairly easy to solve, not that that takes away from the whole, but it further weighed down the plot as that anticipatory reveal really, well, wasn’t climactic.

I was absolutely swept away over the course of the first 100ish pages of this story, luxuriating in the beautiful prose of a writer at the top of her game. Schwab is writing from her heart and you can feel that emotional connection as a reader – a very special experience. For me the poetic prose overtook the plot throughout the majority of the middle section, with plot taking a back seat and not much happening to propel the narrative forward. The persistent sentiments of not enough time and having to have it figured out became incredibly monotonous, taking away somewhat from the overall message. Not being a major fan of the love interest, I found myself with little of significance to root for. I didn’t hate this by any means, the writing is oftentimes take-your-breath-away remarkable, but I sadly didn’t love it as much as I did at the start. Quite a young reading fantasy, this will definitely appeal to YA /Adult fantasy crossovers.

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