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

Posted July 2, 2021 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Magic Realism, Review / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. SchwabThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published by MacMillan on 10-06-20
Genres: Fantasy, Magic Realism, Fiction, Historical
Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Libby
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Overal Rating: four-stars

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.

This is the story of Addie, a twenty-three-year-old girl living at the beginning of the 18th century in a small French village. In order to avoid an arranged marriage and a life and death tied to the same place, she makes a deal with one of the gods she shouldn’t have prayed to, one of the gods that answer after dark, to set her free from everything and everyone. This is how Addie begins her immortal journey of several centuries, a life of freedom but also a lonely one, as nobody will remember her after they turn their back on her.

This is a beautifully written book, almost poetical. Schwab’s prose grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go. In a way, the writing style reminded me a bit of This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. How the story was told was as important as the story itself, sometimes even more. The book is written in the present tense to emphasize the fact that Addie only has the present as any possessions and people from the past are completely out of her reach. She can only live looking forward, as looking back is desperation itself.

While this is not a completely original story, people selling their soul to the devil is a theme that has been written about since the beginning of times, I quite enjoyed this book. Some parts were quite repetitive, to illustrate how Addie’s life consisted of meeting new people and soon being forgotten, but also to convey the idea of the very long time Addie was on Earth waiting for a miracle to happen. The writing style was lyrically beautiful but the book felt long-winded. The beauty of the prose and the intrigue to know what was going to happen to Addie and Henry was what kept me going. From the moment they meet, the story is told from each character’s pov, alternating chapters. With each one, more and more is uncovered, and the appeal at this moment is that both have something to hide.

One of the issues I had with this book is that I wasn’t able to relate to the characters. I understood their fears and worries, but the more we knew about them, the less I was able to justify the bad decisions they made again and again. The other issue was the length and pace of the story. Somehow, I think the same could have been told with fewer words, and as a whole, it would have worked better.

Julia Whelan did an astounding job with the narration of this book, just as I expected from other audiobooks narrated by her. She transmitted the raw emotions felt by the characters, and her steady pace and smooth voice were key in making listening to this audiobook a stunning experience.

Story (Plot)
Overall: four-stars