29 June, 2021

[Review] The Invisible life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab


Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone:
Stand Alone
Release Date: 6 October, 2020
Publisher: Tor books
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
ISBN: 9780765387561
Edition: Hardback (also available in audiobook and eBook)
Review Written: 22 March, 2021
Warnings: Suicidal Thoughts, Death of a Parent, Grief, Toxic Relationships, Mental Illness, Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Rape, Sexual Content
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

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.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

See more by V.E. Schwab at her website.
I'll be the first to admit I don't stray into adult fiction very often. I tend to stick to Young Adult/New Adult and Middle Grade fiction as much of my job entails knowing what's current in those areas. This however was introduced to me by my sister via Tiktok. Yes, I fell hard into Booktok. I have 0 regrets about falling into Tiktok's book fandoms, I'll admit I've found some stellar choices to read.

Adaline LaRue has never been one to follow the rules. As a child, her favorite thing to do was to attend market days with her woodworking father. She was forever drawing and sketching the world around her, and imagining far off lives and adventures. Unfortunately for her, 1700s France is not a place where a single woman can make a living in a trade. She is often ostracized in her small town and associated with the old "witch" who lives alone and still worships the old ways. Everything comes to a head when her parents accept a marriage proposal for her from a local widower. Having seen how her friend's life seems to have simply ceased being her own after marriage, Adaline prays to the old gods to free herself from this marriage. Unfortunately for her, she makes a deal with a god after dark - one that you're never supposed to pray to.

Adaline requests time, time to see the world and explore everything, to experience the world. And she's granted this time at the price of people remembering her. No one remembers her, the moment she steps out of sight, they won't remember who she is. And she cannot give her true name. In time she comes to view this more as a gift than the curse it was intended to be. Sure, she can't be caught on film, she can't write or leave a mark on the world by herself, but she can cause changes and bring forth ideas by whispering them into the ears of her paramours. Everything changes when she meets Henry.

Henry, a young man who never felt like enough, made a deal with the devil who stole Addie's name. And it's because of this that he can remember her, despite everything that's happened to Addie. Neither of these characters really have much dimension to them however.

Henry is constantly trying to find true validation within the eyes of his friends and family, but the deal he made makes him basically a magnet for everyone's desires. People see who they want to see instead of the true Henry. Addie hasn't seemed to learn much from her teenage years. For most of her 300 year existence she remains in France, floating like a ghost among the living. She doesn't seem to have many encounters with anything 'hard' like racism. She encounters a fair amount of sexism but that's pretty in line with her time period.

For a book that took the author ten years to write, I was left wanting more. More detail about what Addie encountered, more representation within the book. The ending of the book left much to be desired, Henry's freed from his curse but Addie is just left hanging around with Death? She supposedly made a loop-hole for herself but honestly it seemed like another bad decision in a string of bad decisions.

If you want a romance, check out this book. Otherwise, perhaps leave Addie and her seven-freckles to the fates of the old gods after dark.

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