The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
I have to be honest, this one started slow for me and was not one that I flew through. I even debated DNF this one around 30%. This is one of those books that grows on you each chapter you read and one that you want to savor. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is a brilliant mix of fantasy and historical fiction, set in 1700's France and current day New York City. Each chapter alternates between timelines and character perspectives. The writing is whimsical and brilliant.
Adeline LaRue makes a bargain with a dark spirit so that she can control her life. Addie gets what she wants, but she is left with a curse where anyone she ever meets quickly forgets her. Addie lives for centuries, moves continents, meets up and coming artists who are now known as classics, but struggles with her curse. An endless life, but one left forgotten, until Addie meets someone who changes everything.
I went into this one with high expectations. During the month of October, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was plastered all over bookstagram. This book came with tons of hype and I believe that hype is what held me back in the beginning. I loved the writing and the story, but this is a slow paced book and it took me awhile to get into it. Once I grasped the full concept of Addie and her life, I was swept away in this magical realism novel.
When Addie first makes her bargain, she is proverbially pressed against the wall as she is expected to marry a man she barely knows within hours. Addie makes a deal with a god of the night who, in exchange for her soul, gives her eternal life where she reports to no one, but herself. Because gods and spirits are always so fickle, he gives her literally what she wants, which means she belongs to no one, but no one remembers her. Addie flits in and out of people's lives and as soon as they no longer have her in their gaze, they forget they ever met her. This concept is so interesting and I thought it was a creative twist on past fantasy novels I have read in the past.
My only complaint is that the synopsis brings in the concept that Addie discovers a way to leave a legacy, through meeting artists and musicians and imprinting herself in their work. I liked this concept, but I felt like it could have been flushed out more in the beginning. It wasn't until well into the second half that you learn of Addie meeting famous artists who incorporate her in their work and she finds a way to be remembered. Loved the concept, but felt the execution was too drug out and slow.
"Books, she found, are a way to live a thousand lives--or to find strength in a very long one."
"What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?"