ARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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When Addie LaRue makes a deal with devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But 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 a boy who remembers her.

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Thank you very much to Titan Books for providing a review copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE IS SET FOR PUBLICATION 6 OCT, 2020

Preorder the novel:
Titan Books | Dymocks | Amazon | Booktopia

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But this is how you walk to the end of the world. This is how you live forever. Here is one day, and here is the next, and the next, and you take what you can, savor every stolen second, cling to every moment, until it’s gone.

I’ve read quite a few of V.E. Schwab’s novels, but there’s something special about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. This novel affected me on such a deeply personal level that I feel like a completely different person after I finished it. There’s only a handful of books that have ever affected me like this, so I savoured every moment I read Addie LaRue, spreading out the chapters across days so I could never finish it.

Addie LaRue is a free spirit, spending her days in her tiny 18th century home in rural France always searching for something greater, much to the chagrin of her mother. But when her parents force a marriage on her — to a man she doesn’t like, who already has multiple children — Addie feels the walls closing in like never before, so on the eve of her wedding, she makes a terrible decision: she prays to the gods after dark. The darkness responds and saves her from her fate, but tricks her: in giving her immortality and as much time as she needs to live a truly free life, she is destined to be forgotten by everyone she ever meets, moving through people and the years as a ghost. But Addie is cunning and finds that although she is easily forgotten, ideas remain, so she becomes a muse for artists across the centuries. And then, one day, she meets a boy in a dusty, secondhand bookstore who remembers her.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is completely unlike anything V.E. Schwab has written before. It’s a quiet novel, soft and delicate. Although it spans centuries, from tiny Villon in the early 1700s, to Paris and the revolution, to Venice and Florence, London and Germany at the height of the war, it never feels overwhelming or puzzling. Schwab’s masterful storytelling is comfortable and welcoming, as you come to love and understand Addie and experience this magical journey of her life along with her.

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What a luxury, to tell one’s story. To be read, remembered.

Addie’s journey is heartbreaking and devastating, but filled with so much light as well. She’s touched so many lives, even if they don’t remember her, that you can’t help but feel awed at everything she has accomplished and seen. Her one companion through the lonely 300 years is the darkness — the devil — who, at first, sees her as a challenge to break, and then sees her as something more. Their interactions are heady and tense, and I was like Addie, never quite sure if I wanted them to just kiss or if she should push him and his cruel promises away.

By far my favourite character, and the one I connected with the most, is Henry Strauss. All he’s ever wanted to be is loved, completely and wholly, for who he is, but he continues to fall short of people’s expectations. His parents and siblings are disappointed in him, and his lovers think he is wasting his potential, but the truth is, Henry doesn’t know what to do: doesn’t know what to study or what he wants in a career. He’s lost. So he spends his days working in a hidden-away secondhand bookstore, until he meets a girl attempting to steal a book and his life changes forever.

Ultimately, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book about art and how, even after we are dust, our art — the mark we have made on the world — will remain. Addie spends her days reading and wandering through museums, until she meets someone she falls for — a painter, a sculptor, a philosopher — usually a struggling artist who just needs a slight push in the right direction. And although she becomes their secret muse, someone they forget the following morning, she herself can never create art, or write her name, or make any impact at all. So the question becomes: if you can’t leave a mark on the world, cannot leave any type of legacy, where you ever really alive at all?

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I remember you.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book that touched me in irrevocable ways. It’s a stunning book about art, joy, pain, revolution and war — but most of all, it’s about memory and legacy and falling in love. So on October 6, join me in falling in love with Addie LaRue, and remembering her story.

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22 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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