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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Win a free print copy of this book!

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100 copies available
U.S. only
Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2020)
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.

444 pages, Hardcover

First published October 6, 2020

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About the author

V.E. Schwab

67 books61.6k followers
V.E. Schwab is the author of more than 20 books for children, teens, and adults.
Alternate spelling of Victoria Schwab.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,157 reviews97.9k followers
March 12, 2021

ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

"Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books."

This is a book about a girl, a boy, a devil, and the stories that get told and repeated and remembered. This is a tale of power dynamics and imbalances and what humans are willing to do to not feel trapped and alone. This is all about a young girl who lives her life for herself, who lives her life in spite of the odds, who lives her life in hopes someone will recall her from memory.

Everything about Addie LaRue completely blew me away. This is the first book by V.E. Schwab that I’ve given five stars to, and I’m not sure a day has passed since reading that I haven’t thought about it. I will say that I think this book (and more importantly the ending) could be a bit polarizing, but this story, this main character, and the way everything was structured just really worked perfectly for me and my reading tastes.

How do I even begin to describe this book to you? There are truly so many layers woven together to make this story. Many of you know, this is something that V.E. Schwab has been working on for a decade and you can tell they really put their whole heart and soul into these complex characters:

Addie - A girl with seven freckles, and she is told that there is one for every love she would ever have. She was born in a small town, and had small town expectations placed on her, but Addie had big dreams and desired to see as much of the world as she possibly could. And when she turns twenty-three, and everyone thinks her time is slowly running out, she quickly finds out that time is something she will never have to fear again.

"Spells are for the witches, and witches are too often burned."

Henry - Works at a bookstore in New York while trying to live his life to the fullest. And he happens to be able to see a girl that has never been remembered before.

"I remember you."

Luc - A god you should never pray to after dark, unless you are very desperate, and feel very helpless, and are willing to pay the unknown price.

"I am stronger than your god and older than your devil. I am the darkness between stars, and the roots beneath the earth. I am promise, and potential, and when it comes to playing games, I divine the rules, I set the pieces, and I choose when to play. And tonight, I say no."

And maybe, just maybe, Addie felt like she should be able to pay the price when she runs into the forest one night, willing to risk everything to have a life that is hers once and for all. We get to see Addie and her struggles and her growth over the course of three-hundred-years, starting in 1714 France and switching to 2014 America. We get to see so much of Addie’s hurt throughout the centuries, but we also get to see so much of her yearning. Yearning for love, yearning for knowledge, yearning for art, yearning for a life that is worthy of remembrance. Truly, this book was able to evoke such visceral reactions from me, and I could truly feel Addie’s yearning, and her hurt, on every page.

Now that I have used the word “yearning” one-hundred times, let’s talk about some of the rep in Addie LaRue, because there are lots of queer characters and characters who read queer! Addie is pan or bi, and we get to see her in relationships with different genders throughout this book, but the main relationship (and yearning) is m/f. I believe Henry is pan, but it is never said on page, but "he’s attracted to a person first and their gender second" had me and my pan heart ascending to new heights, I promise you that. Addie and Henry are both white, but there are POC side characters and other identities on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum (gay, lesbian, maybe some polyamorous hints)! And this book, has some very serious depression representation!

"It’s just a storm, he tells himself, but he is tired of looking for shelter. It is just a storm, but there is always another waiting in its wake."

Being unsure what you want in life. Especially in your twenties. Feeling like something is wrong with you. Feeling like you’ll never be enough. Feeling like you’ll never be whole. Feeling like you are just disappointing everyone around you. Feeling like no one will ever take the time to see you, the real you, and choose to love you unconditionally anyways. Whew, it’s a lot, and V.E. Schwab really didn’t hold back while writing Henry and his mental health. I don’t want to make this too personal, but it means a lot to me, and I know Henry’s journey is going to mean a lot to so many people and impact a lot of lives.

(Also, friendly reminder that life is truly a vast range of up and down journeys! And you, and your journey, are valid, and I see you no matter how hard that journey feels at times. There will be lots of heavy days, but lots of light days too, I promise. And you are so worthy of love, and kindness, and respect, no matter where you are at on your journey. And feeling too much is not a curse, ever. And I’m proud of you, and you are never alone with what you are feeling, and sometimes we all need help with some storms: http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

"His heart has a draft. It lets in light. It lets in storms. It lets in everything."

Plus, a key component of this story is the god who Addie makes a deal with. Addie and Luc’s three-hundred-year bargain is so very messy and has so very many different elements. But the key element is the unhealthy power dynamic. Over this course of time, we get to see their relationship change, and morph, and grow, and we get to see Addie desperately trying to gain some of the power for herself. But, it is a very unhealthy cycle of abuse and this story is told in a way where the reader gets to see these power imbalances come more and more into play and Luc and Addie set the stage of their game(s) more and more. I’ll be the first to say I always wanted more of Luc, and I loved every chapter he was in, and I constantly wanted to know more about him, but I will also say that I personally feel like V.E. Schwab was very deliberate with his character and with making him charming and intriguing and a character to be romanticized, because abusers can have all of those characteristics and still be abusers.

But we get to see Luc, and Henry, and Addie, and watch their intertangled stories unwind. I truly feel like I can’t say much more about the actual story, and I believe it’s probably best to not know much more than what I’ve said above, but seeing these characters, during all their different phases in life, both alone and together, is truly something like a work of art.

"Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one."

This entire story truly is a love letter to art and the beautiful, awe inspiring, mind-blowing way stories are held within art, therefore held in so many hearts forever. Maybe even creating and inspiring other art, to make the sweetest ripple effect of them all. Art and stories are so powerful because they have the power to heal wounds that are too deep to be touched by other things. From feeling love, to feeling not alone, to inspiring, to escape, to be thought provoking, to be educational, to make you realize things you have been forced to internalize and unlearn, to something as simple yet as hard as happiness.

"Because time is cruel to all, and crueler still to artists. Because vision weakens, and voices wither, and talent fades. " He leans close, twists a lock of her hair around one finger. "Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end, " he says, "everyone wants to be remembered."

While I was reading this book, me and my best friend Lea watched a video that was reuploaded on V.E.’s YouTube. It was basically just an hour-long discussion that they had with Tessa Gratton, where they talk about many things, but one of the things they talked about that I especially haven’t been able to stop thinking about since finishing this book was that we never get to really pick what work we will be known for. Obviously, Victoria is very well-know from their series A Darker Shade of Magic, and it very well could be the greatest legacy that the world will know from them. Yet, they talk about how Addie LaRue is the book of their heart, and (I do not want to put any words in their mouth) it kind of felt like to me the book they may want the world to know them for. Yet, we never really get to choose what we are known for, do we? A very astounding concept to think about, truly, and one I couldn’t stop feeling deeply in my bones while I finished the last half of this book. Also, to think about how the human experiences could boil down to this hunger we all have to leave a mark on this world before we are forced to leave it all together? Very powerful stuff, truly. But I promise, V.E. Schwab and Addie Larue most definitely left their marks on me, and my heart, forever with this book.

"Humans are capable of such wondrous things. Of cruelty, and war, but also art and invention."

Overall, this book made me yearn for so many things while also constantly making me question what it is to hunger. To crave your freedom, to crave someone who will see all the parts of you, to crave remembrance. I just feel like this book really touched on the human experience, but in such a incredibly raw and indistinguishably beautiful way. I really loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and it will without a doubt make my best of 2020 list. Thank you for letting me be a part of your story, thank you for always reading this part of mine, and I promise you will never be invisible to me.

Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch

Trigger and Content Warnings: attempted assault, abuse depiction, loss of a loved one, substance abuse, depression depiction, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, and mention of cancer in the past.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,605 followers
April 16, 2021
When a book traps your soul from beginning to end and beyond, keeping hold of a string to your heart even as you leave it behind, you know it deserves all the constellations in the night sky.

Credit: Nicole

What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?

They say if you look through a wooden ring on the 29th night of July, just after dark, you’d see a wraith wandering valleys and alleys—singing, sighing, seeking. And if you lean in, shell of an ear pressed to the ring, you would hear the echoes of a madwoman, murmuring of a dance of three centuries, a game between the ruler of darkness and a ghost of a girl, a war that was a love affair and a need and an obsession.

They say that, if you follow closely, she’d take you through continents and centuries—chasing shadows, stalking the vanishing footsteps of an idea, a touch, a constellation of seven freckles. And if you stack up your courage in a fist and ask her what it is she seeks, she would tell you it is a god and a girl, a forgotten thing. And then she would turn to the night and cry out in challenge and raging prayer.

This, my friend, is where I suggest you let your fist fly open, scattering the gathered grains, and flee. For if you don’t, you would glimpse a man with raven hair and a fleeting emerald labyrinth for eyes set in the face of a wolf step from the shadows, a dark god bearing his own temples of need and desperation. For if you stay, the devil would take your soul.

They say, and they say it honest and true.
I would know—I am the wraith, after all.

“No matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”

This quiet, languid, fleeting, wandering, aromantic romance that is more need and companionship than love; this tale of immortality with its heartwrenching wail and tragic tale of watching all you hold on to fall apart in your grasp; this book of a bewitching affair and search for freedom, love, and remembrance; this book with its ingenuous creativity, dwelling on the power of belief and ideas...stole my heart, bled it dry, and speared it atop the gates of hell to warn the unwary what would happen if you fell in love with the devil.

I persistently urge you to listen to the unbelievably flawless and fitting songs on my playlist of this book ➾ Spotify URL

“Nothing is all good or all bad,” she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”
And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.
Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?
Were the moments of beauty worth the years of pain?
And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says, “Always.”

In honour of Addie’s seven-star constellation of freckles, the feature that ensnared gazes and inspired artists and shone through centuries, I’m assigning each of the seven main stars of the Orion to the seven whys The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a haunting, blinding, bold sky:

★ Rigel: Storytelling

I would like to announce that I am the biggest idiot on earth for depriving myself of the writing of such a master storyteller. Such exceptional weaving techniques of piecing the tale together as a puzzle; such eloquent work, bringing the pages and words full circle; such perfect prose with sensible, tangible, and fitting metaphors.

Such talent. Much perfection.

What she needs are stories.
Stories are a way to preserve one’s self. To be remembered. And to forget.
Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books.
Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.

From sculpting characters that are more than a sculpture, real as any person with various outlooks on life that indeed leak into their way of speech, to scrutiny of details, wiping away any possible logical holes in the plot or magic, I am going to call V.E. Schwab my new all-time fave author even though this is my first book of hers. Let me just fold up my sleeves and get into the process of devouring the rest of her works.

★ Bellatrix: Addie LaRue, the Muse

Scarier than having a dream, a desire, a need, and making a huge mistake because of it, haunted by your blindness for 3 centuries, is watching it happen and thinking that could be me.

It’s the relief of understanding towards an unrestrained, wild thing in search of her freedom, her life, her own path—be it companionship or loneliness; it’s the warmth of kinship towards a defiant dreamer dreaming of a stranger with dark hair, crying out against the night to belong to no one but herself, be bound to none but herself; and it’s the resignation to a road undoubtedly ahead of a girl fleeing the smallness of a static life, a tomb, strings cut, head wandering.

It’s joy and it’s pain and it’s unforgettable.
Addie LaRue is unforgettable.

★ Betelgeuse: Love & Luc, the Devil

Before I talk of Luc and love, I will—in true self-centred-me fashion—talk about me. So buckle up for personal information you absolutely did not ask for.

# confession time

I’ve always believed myself a loveless creature. I’ve believed it and declared it, to friend, family, stranger. Strangers raise an eyebrow, family nods in understanding of a shared problem, but friends...friends always disagree, always start a speech about how kind and caring and helpful and generous I am, well-intendedly attempting to explain myself to me as if I don’t live in my head.

What those friends do not understand is the meaning of love. Frankly, I was not sure of it either other than knowing I am not capable of it. That is, until Schwab wrote:

“You are not capable of love because you cannot understand what it is to care for someone else more than yourself.”

Love comes with honesty and compassion and trust and understanding, yes, but, above all else, love is putting someone else before yourself. And I admit I cannot truly love because I know that, no matter how giving and caring and helpful I am, I will always choose me if choosing others hurts me, and the fact that I do not care for most things so I wouldn’t be hurt by them (like money) does not take away from my being an essentially selfish creature. I confess this without any sugar coating because I believe it’s crucial to know your most prominent flaws and be honest with yourself and those around you, to refrain from harming others through them.

That’s love. So what about Luc?

“Pain can be beautiful,” he says, exhaling a cloud of smoke. “It can transform. It can create.”

My uncalled for rant above makes it glaringly—blindingly, really, because if you didn’t get it then seriously whatareyoudoin—obvious I relate to this god of the dark between the stars; this selfish and lonely creature with secret longings and hidden loss; this cruel, moody immortal seeing the world as a game but also capable of being wounded and confused; this “vast and savage night, the darkness, full of promise, and violence, fear, and freedom” with a lack of respect for boundaries.

“Do not mistake this—any of it—for kindness, Adeline.” His eyes go bright with mischief. “I simply want to be the one who breaks you.”

But beyond being relatable, he is possessive, obsessive, abusive, and other unattractive -ives. And this plus Addie’s unwillingness to ever back down is what makes their bloodsport of a dynamic so utterly irresistible—one that, despite its toxicity (that is never overlooked or romanticised), has its perks (how he pushes her, challenges her, to be better, if ruthlessly) and hilarious moments (how he ruins her dates, even as he’s a god for god’s sake).

But remember that, no matter how these two cutthroats fit, no matter how their passionate, warlike back-and-forths are something they both crave, she only really had him in the vast emptiness of her world, and he made it so. Her thoughts are filled with him, because he made it so.

Remember that, however alluring their affair, it is not love.

★ Alnilam: Henry, the Storykeeper

You know that feeling when you get gifted a box of sweets and you think well okay this will probably be cloyingly sweet and ah, well, I will end up tired of it and then you have a taste and oh will you never forget the moment it sizzled on your tongue and you realised no no it is not more of the same and it’s simply unique?

That’s Henry for me.

Because sensitive, caring, soft, quiet, strong characters haunted by failure more often than not fail to hold my flickering attention, yet I now trust Victoria Schwab to do the unlikely. Because he is more than those adjectives strung up together; he is lost and hungry in a world that holds an insurmountable number of tastes, insatiably craving too many of them to choose; he is a boy who sees stories in theology, who fears being himself as much as he hates not being seen as himself; and he is more than simply sensitive, carrying a cracked heart that lets in everything and anything, and Schwab’s exploration of his mental health and anxiety was soulful and unforgettable.

★ Alnitak: Feminism

Sometimes I wonder if, through the millennia that humans have roamed the earth, there has ever been a girl who has not looked away, looked up, from what life had handed her, seen the lot of boy next to her and wanted more. I wonder if, even among the content and kind and incurious of generations ago where being a dreamer was not yet a seed planted, not a one of them dreamt of freedom and ownership of one’s own life.

And mostly, I wonder if the women who called after questioning girls as one would a sheep gone astray, are in reality the ones who’d seen the most injustice, dreamt the hardest, and learned such a hard lesson to end up helping in the keeping of the leash.

Freedom is a pair of trousers and a buttoned coat. A man’s tunic and a tricorne hat. If only she had known. The darkness claimed he’d given her freedom, but really, there is no such thing for a woman, not in a world where they are bound up inside their clothes, and sealed inside their homes, a world where only men are given leave to roam.

I might never know, but I will always seek tales of dreamers who would look at men and see at what little cost they moved through life, who would look into the woods and ask to be a tree, grown wild rather than pruned and cut down to burn in someone else’s hearth, be someone else’s chair.

Addie LaRue’s is one such tale.

★ Mintaka: History & Art

For a book that spans across hundreds of years and yards, it goes without saying that there will be history and humanity with all its wonders and cruelty and war and art. And yet, as Addie would put it, “history is a thing designed in retrospect” and Addie LaRue is less a lesson on history than a parable of a great many presents.

“Art is about ideas. And ideas are wilder than memories. They’re like weeds, always finding their way up.”

So while there is history with clever commentary on evolution of fashion and glimpses of war and death and revolution, that is not what it is about. Schwab’s new novel is about history taking shape. About stories and ideas taking root in unseen places and climbing up through the darkest places of mind that have never seen the sunlight. Not about the world-changing historical figures and world-ending historical events written as a hammer falling, but as a friend and a brief conversation and a flash of life. This is not about the affect of the grand but the power of the minor.

It’s about life and art and humans and how, even after one hundred years or three hundred years, there is yet more to find. Unknowns to see. Novelties to discover. And it is all the more memorable because of it.

★ Saiph: Loneliness & Remembrance

Have you ever watched that glorious, solitary tree of decades and centuries and memories struck down by a lightning storm? Ever held that tiny, inconsequential keepsake of a forgotten soul, refusing to ease your desperate grasp? Have you spent hours and days and a lifetime breathing your heart and soul and life into that lifeless thing, shaping it with your will and need and then, just a blink too soon, a moment before perfection, resolution, completion, seen it fall apart?

Tell me, have you ever felt that abyss of sadness reserved for the lost? The forgotten? The lonely?

“Why would anyone trade a lifetime of talent for a few years of glory?”
“Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end,” he says, “everyone wants to be remembered.”

I am a creature doomed to loneliness, seeking its banishment and knowing it is here to stay, and this book is the song of my soul. Because this, this is the why behind the exquisite pain of this book: a loss so stark, so sharp it cut straight through me and I poured, I poured until I drowned and I poured until all was washed away and there, right there—beneath the pain and the dirt and the injustice—there lay the gem of names and marks fading into darkness; of identity and reality with its bittersweet embrace; of dreams and time slipping through your clutching hands; of me, and you, and humanity’s unending need to be remembered and chased and never replaced.

“The vexing thing about time,” he says, “is that it’s never enough. Perhaps a decade too short, perhaps a moment. But a life always ends too soon.”

Millions of thankful stars and constellations to my superhero for sending me an eARC from Edelweiss!

Info on the film adaptation with Schwab as screenwriter.
Profile Image for Joel Rochester.
62 reviews17k followers
January 10, 2021
Déjà vu. Déjà su. Déjà vecu.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue or The Invisible Life of Addie the Street conveys a tale about a girl who makes a faustian bargain with the devil and is thus forgotten by everyone she meets. Addie becomes convinced she must make her mark upon the world in unique and influential ways, as she believes that an idea can spark into so much more. It is a story that deals with the consequences of our actions, how one choice can make life fall apart at the seams, and how everyone, despite everything, truly wants to be remembered by someone.

I was really excited about this novel, the story that V.E. Schwab would bring. I enjoyed her Shades of Magic series and I was intrigued to read her latest novel. As a fan of books that contain deals with gods and devils, I was hoping that this book was able to deliver, especially since some of my friends had loved it too. However, whilst this book emphasized on palimpsests and the meanings of making your mark, of love, and of finding your way in the world, I was lost in how not only white but how eurocentric this novel was.

Eurocentrism (also Eurocentricity or Western-centrism) is a worldview that is centered on Western civilization or a biased view that favors it over non-Western civilizations.

The writing was beautiful, but the story lacked some substance. Addie LaRue truly told us (emphasis on told) through her lens how difficult and hard her life was. How she was only a shadow, a whisper, a lost thought in the wind. Addie LaRue desperately wanted someone to remember her, to know her name, to know her story. However, as we traveled throughout Addie's life, I couldn't feel connected to her tale, to her story. She had lived for three hundred years, and yet the experiences we saw were so narrow in comparison to how grand her life could've been. We flashed back for only brief moments before returning back to New York for the main plot of the tale, and its focus on art, white culture, and history. I feel as though it concentrated on the ✨ white aesthetic ✨ of her experiences as opposed to ensuring it had good execution.

The plot (is that the right word?) felt extremely repetitive, although potentially done on purpose to emphasize how painful it was for Addie to be forgotten, after a while, it began to lose its effect. Again, it could be to potentially showcase Addie becoming desensitized to her curse. However, it made the novel to be predictable, and at the end of it, I guessed what was going to happen, and I was left feeling meh. The emotional impact that the ending would've had was 85% lost. Henry's gift to Addie at the end was the only thing I felt for, the only thing I could connect to at the end. It emphasized the fact that words are powerful, and the words you choose mean everything, especially in Addie's case.

I also had problems with Addie's character, in the sense that she didn't evolve that much throughout the novel. I experienced the same feeling when reading another of Schwab's characters, Lila Bard. Addie is intelligent, calculated, and experienced whilst Lila is young, naive, and spontaneous. Addie is careful of the consequences whilst Lila doesn't care about them. However, I can't help but feel that both characters are similar in the sense that their extent of evolving surrounds becoming selfless as a result of their relationships. Lila becomes selfless through meeting Kell and changing her view of the world whilst Addie becomes more selfless through meeting Henry and experiencing what it feels to be remembered again.

Whilst it was nice to see Addie change slightly and become hopeful, I felt as though she was still the same girl three hundred years prior, who had made the deal, with no regards as to how the (traumatic) events in history have shaped her, how it was to be in a German cell, how it was to live through wars and death. Instead, the story continued it's great focus on Addie wanting to be remembered like it was the only thing that mattered in the grand history of things. This is evident through her repetition of certain phrases throughout the novel, showing that she still holds onto her past which reinforces the person that she was, is, and will always be. Addie refuses to let go of it because only she can remember her past, and thus cannot change as a person. She wants to be the same person as it's how she wants to be remembered, she wants to be able to tell her story.

One thing I did like was the anniversary between Luc and Addie. It was a nice touch and I personally enjoyed the conversations between them in the beginning, how it was two opposing forces that couldn't help but revolve around one another like two planets. Addie basically plays the longest game of doing things out of spite, just to prove a point and I loved that Luc came back with "huh you thought". Although near the end, I found that Luc became a lot more possessive and manipulative, as a god such as he usually does. But for the life of me, I cannot see why people would want Addie to be with him for that exact reason. Like Team "Boy who remembers Addie" or Team "Tall, Dark (but white) and Handsome who not only plays with Addie, but manipulates, punishes and abuses her for not doing what he wants." HMMMM??!??!?!?!!?!??!??

Henry was... Henry. Whilst he was cute and I enjoyed reading his perspective and backstory, I just felt he only existed to give Addie's story more meaning. I just wished Henry had a greater sense of purpose.

This novel is a standalone according to Schwab, but the way that it ends implies that there'll be more to the story. Is this Schwab keeping a wedge in the door in case she decides to come back to the world, or is it just to leave readers intrigued as to how it all truly ends? We might never know.

However, as I was reading this story, I couldn't help but feel uneasy. Something made me uncomfortable about this tale apart from the mild existential crisis I was having about whether I'd be remembered after I died. Addie's story is white, extremely white. We are shown one black woman, Bea, who Addie calls beautiful. That is it.

Throughout her three hundred years of living, we aren't shown Addie being in any other continents apart from the UK, Europe, and America. Addie knows French, Italian, Spanish, Greek but doesn't think to learn other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindi, you get the gist. It seems Addie LaRue wanted to be remembered, just not by people of colour. Someone managed to go around the world in 80 days whilst Addie has only visited three continents in three hundred years. The fact the only thing she can also say about a person of colour is that they're beautiful? It made me uncomfortable.

This presentation of the west in a novel about the meaning of being remembered is ironic, as it's often the west that's remembered and exemplified in history, leaving the histories of people of colour to be forgotten, erased. Where were the references to colonisation, how France, Spain, Italy Britain, and America partook in the scramble for Africa? She was literally going between Germany and England during this time. Also, there is no excuse for her not to notice, oh i don't know, RACISM OR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SLAVES?! Like, it just shows how apathetic Addie LaRue is to colonization and slavery, and the fact she didn't note it at all in her history shows how complicit she was in the system. The fact that Henry never questions her on it either? I just find that this novel displayed such a white lens, it was blinding.

I find that the eurocentric focus in this story just took the meaning of this novel away from me, as it just felt to me that whilst all these white people were trying to make marks upon the world, were trying to make themselves known and loved, Bea, the only person of colour, was just... tokenized in the narrative. In a story that focuses on the importance of leaving your mark, I feel like this book told me that the marks people of colour leave just aren't important or valued. also, voltaire??? really????

This novel shows how much privilege Addie has in not needing to care about or notice the brutality and violence that people of colour suffered under during this time. It shows how fortunate she is in the fact that she feels the need to not mention it in her grand history, and instead only focus on the times in which she thought were important to her story.

There is also the argument that Schwab intentionally left them out in order to not anger people of colour for the representation of their countries and cultures. However, sensitivity readers could've been employed and a majority of measures could've been taken to ensure the representation was somewhat accurate, and that there was at least more representation! We did get some queer rep though.

Can I also just mention how funny it is that during the Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s, Addie is "Everywhere, Nowhere", and yet fails to make one single comment about the impact of the movement? Oh yeah, it's because Addie is too self-absorbed in her curse, in the circumstances surrounding her curse, her desire to be wanted, remembered. Did Addie LaRue partake in the Civil Rights Marches? Did Addie LaRue meet Martin Luther King Jr.? Or was she too busy Questions we'll never know the answers to.

I adored the exploration of the meaning of art, history and love. How in one instant, memories can slip away and your life could amount to nothing. However, Addie LaRue forces you to remember her in the text, as everyone else (apart from Luc and Henry), especially people of colour are simply forgotten.

This is a well-written novel and one that I enjoyed experiencing. However, I can't help but feel I am not the target audience for this book, and instead it is a story for white people and white people alone.

I've been rambling for the past three hours but I just hope this makes sense LMAO

The live show for The Late Night Book Club's discussion of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is on Noelle's channel, link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTrg8...
Profile Image for marta the book slayer.
381 reviews798 followers
January 31, 2021
Welcome back students. I have been reassigned to teach Writing 102: So many words, so little plot. After my success with my first course, I am sure you are all aware it is expected that you have read this novel before attending my class in order to avoid spoilers. We will be delving into three main topics: monotony, pretension, and shallowness. Fill up your favorite mug with your choice of caffeinated beverage; I promise my review will be more entertaining than this dull novel. We also have a guest speaker, Roel, so please be kind and show her some appreciation.


This book simply lacks a plot. Many will try and argue that the first and last 10% of the novel are where all the action occurs. Did I hear that correctly? Action? There is no such thing in this novel. The first 10% are a repetition of the novel description. I admit, the description immediately grasped my attention, however I’ll spare you the hours you spend reading this yawning and simply advise you that the description is sufficient enough.

We can easily change the title of this novel to The Monotonous Life of Addie LaRue and I guarantee no other revision to the novel would be needed; the title would be fitting. The whole novel is Addie walking around whining, followed by the introduction of Henry, who walks around whining and crying. Together they whine and walk around. The end.

Yup. I think I accurately captured everything that happens in this plot.

The writing style is so repetitive. I have read reviews that argue that although this novel lacks plot, the writing style is beautiful. This novel could be simplified to mad lib style. For example:

She was taken back to ___,(place) to ____,(place) to ____.(place) She was reminded of the coffee in ____,(city) in _____,(city) in _____.(city)

Everyone was mesmerized by her ________(seven freckles shaped like a constellation). Her beauty transcended this galaxy and it was evidenced by her _________(seven freckles on her cheek that looked like a constellation).

Maybe it simply took V.E. Schwab ten years to write this novel because she was running out of nouns to fill up her mad libs. It might be hard to believe that the above quotes were made up by me, but I will make sure to include citations from the novel itself:

"…drawing Addie back to Marseilles, to Budapest, to Dublin.”

“A park in London. A patio in Prague. A team room in Edinburgh.”

"Addie was used to passing glances—her features are sharp, but feminine, her eyes bright above the constellation of freckles on her cheeks, a kind of timeless beauty, she’s been told”

I was surprised to find out that her seven freckles were only mentioned ~23 times. I swear it was every other page. The only description we are constantly given, as if we had forgotten.

Also, what was the use of the following quote:

"Seven freckles. One for every love she’d have, that’s what Estele had said, when the girl was still young. One for every life she’d lead. One for every god watching over her.”

Was I the only one that actually thought she would have seven love lives? Did I think that somehow this story would be a great love adventure through the 300 years? What is the point of highlighting this in the prologue and never mentioning anything about this again?

To further highlight the pointless writing and how it's really something a 6 year old would be able to write:

No one is ever ready to die.
Even when they think they want to.
No one is ready.
He isn’t ready.
But it is time.
It is time.

For a person that is allowed to live 300+ years, Addie spends her life walking. I’m serious all she does is walk and think about herself. Yes the circumstances she grew up in were “tough” and I put that lightly. She had a roof over her head, two loving parents who wanted her taken care of after their passing by marrying her off. As a woman who also values her independence and freedom, I get it.

Once she strikes the deal, however, Addie remains the same brat she did in the first ten pages. She’s in a fortunate position as an “exceptionally beautiful” white woman; her only troubles it seems are when women are oppressed. We get a brief mention of war, but her troubles are quickly resolved when Luc takes her away from it all. She has the ability to be invisible, making her a great candidate for espionage or LITERALLY ANYTHING USEFUL, but instead she cries for rescue and continues walking and thinking about herself in a different setting.

Her only contribution (albeit the most stupidest possible) is all the artwork (about you guessed it) HERSELF. This girl has lived 300 years and could have easily first hand described everything that occurred in history, but instead she has people writing about her. The cherry on top is that out of all the possible artworks IN THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD, Bea decided to do her thesis on Addie. What are the odds?

Our next character, second only to Addie in blandness and uselessness, is Henry. We all get it life is short. This man is the stupidest character I have ever read about. Who makes such a tragic deal? AND even after making such a tragic deal, who would just waste their life moping around and whining some more? When people get a second chance in life, they grasp it; they travel, volunteer, learn, teach others, ANYTHING. Nope, Henry sits there and mopes and feels bad for himself. It’s pathetic. I also need to address the following quote, which made me cringe:

Bea leans toward him. “But that’s the thing, Henry, you haven’t been you. You waste so much time on people who don’t deserve you. People who don’t know you, because you don’t let them know you.” Bea cups his face, that strange shimmer in her eyes. “Henry, you’re smart, and kind, and infuriating. You hate olives and people who talk during movies. You love milkshakes and people who can laugh until they cry. You think it’s a crime to turn ahead to the end of a book. When you’re angry you get quiet, and when you’re sad you get loud, and you hum when you’re happy.”
“And I haven’t heard you hum in years.” Her hands fall away. “But I’ve seen you eat a shit ton of olives.”

All Henry has going for himself is eating olives, not surprising.

Given the historic backdrop to this novel you would think some events would be brought to light. You cannot just have a novel set throughout 300 years of history and completely disregard what was going on in the world (racism, genocide, war, to name a few). I honestly have no idea what Henry could write about Addie because she contributed absolutely nothing and had nothing noteworthy to speak of.

Every single sex scene in this novel was so bland. I don’t understand how this is categorized as “adult novel” when things were poorly described and there was no chemistry between any of the characters. Everyone was instantly mesmerized by Addie's seven freckles, slept with her and then proceeded to create their best artwork or music to date. The twist? It's Addie feeding them ideas, about (YOU GUESS IT) herself.

Addie is also so stupid if she believes her deal with Luc in the end will pan out. Everything was incredibly predictable. Henry already had a second chance, which he wasted and now he get's a third which I can guarantee you he will waste again. Addie doesn't even love Henry so that's just so stupid. She gave away her freedom for someone she doesn't even love. She's incapable of ever loving anyone because she's so vain.

The most shallow character of all is Luc. This was known from the beginning. He is the devil. The only slight redeeming point of the novel was his introduction and sporadic appearances. Why was he helping Addie? Why torture her sometimes but always ensure she's in a safe space? GIVE ME A NOVEL ABOUT THIS. I was so interested and I only maybe got 10 pages total including an incredibly predictable sex scene between the two. *yawn* Dissapointing.

Extra Credit
Someone please recommend me some authors who actually know the definition of the word "plot".

Special thanks to my lovely Roel, who tolerated my spams about how much I hate this novel. So thankful that you hated this as much as I did, otherwise our buddy read might have been quite awkward. I plan to remember this buddy read and promptly forget this whole novel and useless Addie and Henry
Profile Image for Simona B.
886 reviews2,969 followers
September 20, 2021
1.5 (and please please don't look at me like that okay. I know.)(Also, mild spoilers ahead.)(Also, it's been brought to my attention that in the review below I got just a tiny bit technical at times. Sorry about that. I promise I'm not in the least trying to come off as a conceited know-it-all.)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a manifesto of the dangers of pouring too much of yourself in your artistic creations. Does that mean that art must be impersonal? I'm too much of a relativist to make a definite, let alone definitive, statement about that, but let's say I would certainly like for authors of fiction to take a leaf out of T.S. Eliot's book and try and flee their personalities when they're at work. The underlying problem of Addie LaRue, as I see it, is that it has no discipline, no sound strategy beyond the author's 'well, let's see what else would meet my very personal taste now,' a looseness which becomes manifest in the book's weak characterization and character development, and most of all, in its even weaker writing style.

And I know. I know. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd have to say these things of a Schwab book, but they are, sadly, true. The writing style, usually Schwab's forte, at least according to what I remember from her previous books, was particularly appalling in this one. I swear it felt like she couldn't decide whether she wanted to write a novel or a narrative poem. I've never seen such extensive, invasive use of internal rhymes in a prose work (they're literally every other sentence), or such a generous, gratuitous, not to say pretentious distribution of line breaks, as if this were a piece of badly written, wannabe poetry. But narrative prose works are not poetry, which is why they aren't normally* supposed to make such liberal and indiscriminate use of poetic devices, especially phonetic ones, and for very good reasons. Poetry's reliance on sound, rhythm, and metaphoric charge necessarily draws attention to the textual nature of the piece, while prose narratives are normally* dependent on referentiality (as opposed to self-referentiality--although I'm fairly confident this was part of Schwab's plan for setting up the final metatextual plot twist. But the point is that it's all done badly). Writing a prose narrative as if it were poetry, without actually having a clue what prose poetry is (which I don't have either, because that's not really my thing, but certainly it isn't this disjointed collection of aggravating assonances and empty imagery) or without even trying to frame it as such, well, that's just begging for trouble. Especially because more often than not, all that the novel's attempts at lyricality do is trigger a ruinous fall into bathos.

Practical example [to give you some context: our heroine, Adeline, would rather die than marry, but her parents nonetheless decide to marry her away. The year is 1714]:

Of course, she said no.
Adeline is three and twenty, already too old to wed.
Three and twenty, a third of a life already buried.
Three and twenty--and then gifted like a prize sow to a man she does not love, or want, or even know.
She said no, and learned how much the word was worth.

Such a dramatic and, in theory, emotionally draining moment in the story, and Schwab decides to render it in the form of a nursery rhyme. I'm pretty sure you could come up with some kind of tune and sing this shit. And there are passages like this galore scattered nearly in every page. (Another jewel is, "This is a vile trick, she thinks, a horrid dream, but it will pass./This is the nature of dreams. They do not last." Oh do get outta here please.) How am I ever going to empathize with the character when all I want to do is laugh? Not to speak of the patent abuse of the rule of three. The scant five lines above already feature two instances. But my favourite examples are the city names Adeline drops completely at random, always in groups of three. She sips from a cup of coffee in New York, and she is "back in Paris again, in Instanbul, in Naples." A handful of pages later, she hears a woman playing a song on her violin and she is drawn "back to Marseilles, to Budapest, to Dublin." Now, the problem is, these cities don't mean absolutely anything, plot-wise or in terms of characterization. They will never be mentioned again. They sound cool, and they fill up the three spaces to be filled. But I think, and I would dare say it's also pretty self-evident, that as a rhetorical device, the rule of thee is actually effective only if you can put some meaning behind the items you're listing. As it is, she could as well have said "back to Agrabah, Flatland, and Bikini Bottom," and the emotional impact would have been exactly the same. Let's at least be a little imaginative while we're at it, shan't we? And these examples of casual geographical name-dropping, I think, are paradigmatic of the intention animating the way the book is written. It's not what you mean that's important or poetic, but only if you make it sound like it should mean something important and poetic.

The characterization, as I said before, is basically absent. You have Adeline. By authorial design, she is so purposefully not your stereotypical female, that she inevitably becomes a walking stereotype. Rebellious, free-spirited, adventure-starved, want-to-see-the-world-so-bad. And of course, she adores books. The lovechild of Belle and Ariel, I'd say. Henry, Adeline's co-protagonist, would have been interesting, I believe, if the question of his mental health (if that's even what we're talking about, because everything is described so poetically and metaphorically and indirectly that it's kind of difficult to be sure and not to put your foot in your mouth) had been explored somewhat more in depth. Since it wasn't, I feel allowed to joke about how emo it is that at twenty-six he bargained all the years he had yet to live except one, only to have people not be disappointed in him. Because the whole thing is told without an ounce of finesse, so it feels simply ludicrous rather than actually sad. The last co-protagonist, Luc (I'm not going to comment on the fact that he is some sort of ancestral preternatural force, and we're just going to call him Luc), I don't even know. I still feel like we don't know enough about him to make a statement of any kind.

I myself can't believe that I'm rating and reviewing this novel so harshly, but there it is. Believe me, I am just as incredulous and astonished as you are, if not, as is likely, a lot more. I was expecting The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue with trepidation, because I was so sure it would be a four- or even a five-star reading for me--and indeed, I feel like the premise was excellent, full of potential and conceptually rich; it was the execution that was clearly lacking, as I see it. Schwab had probably been spoiling me a bit too much, what with Vicious and the Shades of Magic series. Oh well. Next time then.

*Before (more) people go about accusing me of shortsightedness, let me point out that those adverbs are there (and have been there since the very first draft of this review, I didn't add them in this edit, I just underlined them) for a reason. The same applies to my use of such expressions as "I think," "I'd say," "I believe." Translation: I, personally, feel that this specific book didn't manage to achieve the emotionally engaging and immersive effect it meant to have on readers because of shortcomings in the style. This doesn't rule out the possibility that some novel somewhere might employ a style similar to this, and succeed marvellously. That's all.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
726 reviews11.5k followers
October 24, 2020
To be honest, this felt a bit … well… twee.
“[…] It is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”

Now, I was actually captivated by the beginning. Adeline LaRue makes an ill-considered Faustian bargain in 1714 with a sinisterly handsome devil/darkness god - trading her soul for the life of freedom and immortality, with a caveat that hits her like a ton of bricks rather quickly - the price of freedom is forgettability. Everyone forgets her the moment she is out of sight, and she is doomed to wander the world without ever leaving a mark on it, not even a memory, until she’s so tired for it that she would beg for her life to end and her soul to be taken. Because living an invisible, immaterial life forever is a curse rather than a blessing, especially when the dark and handsome entity you made that bargain with seems *very* interested in you and your misery.

And then one day, three centuries later Addie meets a man (or a boy, as she insists of thinking of him despite him pushing thirty) who remembers her despite her curse. And there may be a good reason for that.

Sounds good, right? And for a bit it was. I kinda loved it for about a 100 pages or so.
“I gave you what you asked for, Adeline. Time, without constraint. Life without restriction.”
“You cursed me to be forgotten.”
“You asked for freedom. There is no greater freedom than that. You can move through the world unhindered. Untethered. Unbound.”

And then my brain started getting peskily restless, and started asking all kinds of questions and pointing out all kinds of annoyances.

Let’s list some, shall we?

- Why is Addie unable to say any variation of her name - until she suddenly can to Henry?

- How is Addie unable to leave her mark on the world (can’t even set an abandoned hut on fire) until she is able to transplant a tree sapling that grows into a full-size tree?

- So if everyone immediately forgets her the moment she’s out of sight, have none of her lovers ever needed a bathroom break in the course of the evenings they spent with her? Either she accompanied them to the toilet or else there was quite a bit of full-bladder lovemaking.

- Was there a point to the constant mentioning of her seven freckles (apparently shaped like a constellation) besides making her recognizable in the works of art? Because they are mentioned quite a bit, without much payoff. And everyone is mesmerized by them for some reason. Seven freckles. Over and over again. Freckles do not replace personality.

- Is there a reason Henry looks so much like Luc/ Adeline’s love fantasy from before her curse? Wouldn’t it be more interesting (especially and the nature of his relationship with Addie) for him to be unremarkable-looking, plain, ordinary?

- How the hell is Henry able to afford his own apartment in New York without roommates on what is likely to be minimum wage even before ? Plus him being able to afford a diamond ring on what I presume are measly paycheck leftovers from New York rent? What odd magic is at work here? Or are his parents still paying for him, therefore providing a decent reason for why people are not too impressed with him?

- Why do we not get to actually see the progression of much more interesting relationship between Addie and Luc?

- Why did it take a whole decade for Addie to become a fluent reader? I mean, seriously?

- And what exactly is so inspirational about Addie for her to impress all those artists and writers? There must be something, but we are not actually shown any of that. It can’t be just these FRECKLES, right?

- And why is Addie more interesting to the darkness/old god/Luc than, for instance, Beethoven or Shakespeare or Sinatra? Is that because of those freckles? They must be there for a reason, right?

- And does Schwab have a thing for curls or what?

- And don’t even get me started on insta-love that happens because plot needs it to, but with no chemistry between the leads whatsoever.
“Henry is an impossible thing, her strange and beautiful oasis. But he is also human, and humans have friends, have families, have a thousand strands tying them to other people. Unlike her, he has never been untethered, never existed in a void.”

This book retains a very young feel to it, despite Addie being 300+ years old. She never seems to progress beyond her physical age of 23 despite centuries of experience, her thinking never seems to change, and her personality never develops. It’s just so young. And everything feels sweet and safe and twee, even when she is supposed to be in danger. Other than her selling her body in the beginning of her story, it seems that Luc is there to rescue her out of genuinely sticky situations, and New York is a shiny sparkly wide-eyed sanitized world of art and secret lively art and music venues and Pac-Man “speakeasies” and rooftop parties and never ever shows any genuinely unpleasant side. And deals with the gods who answer after dark are immutable and final and unchangeable - unless Addie needs them not to be. And adults being constantly referred to as boys and girls instead of men and women, adding to the very young adult feel in a book that really should not be young adult.

For a book that is so long, it manages to leave the characters quite underdeveloped. Half of it consists of flashbacks to Addie’s 300 years of existence, but after a few they all assume the familiar repetitive feel - which may fit Addie’s repetitive “invisible” life but does not add that much to the story. In the meantime, there are tantalizing references to interesting things happening - French Revolution, World War II, transatlantic voyage - but all we get to see are mundane snippets with questionable love story, most of the development of which is just hinted at and then barely shown in the very end. “Show not tell” does not really happen much here.

And of course, everything is filled with angst. Oh, the angsty angst.
“[…] She wonders about Henry. Wonders at the loneliness she sees behind his eyes. Wonders at the way the waiters and the bartenders and the other patrons look at him, the warmth he doesn’t seem to notice.”

Yet I did not hate it. It was an easy read, done in competent, although at times much too flowery writing. The strength of the beginning carried me through at least half of it easily, so there’s that. It’s not bad; it’s just nothing as special as one would expect from all the buildup.

2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books74.2k followers
October 25, 2020
Note: To read my review in english, scroll down.

“Do you think a life has any value if one doesn’t leave some mark upon the world?”


Empiezo esta reseña sin saber qué decir exactamente. Este es uno de esos libros que sé que se van a quedar en mi mente y en mi corazón. Siempre he dicho que los libros de V.E. Schwab me fascinan, pero este, por mucho, es mi favorito. Y créanme que entré a él con altas expectativas, y pues... las superó.

Este libro trata de Addie LaRue, una chica francesa que nació en los años 1700. A ella siempre le advirtieron que no le rezara a los dioses que responden cuando oscurece, pero en una noche de desesperación, eso hace y le responden. Addie termina haciendo un pacto con el diablo: ahora ella vivirá para siempre, pero va a ser olvidada por todo el que la conozca. Hasta que un día, 300 años después, un chico le dice las palabras que lo cambian todo: te recuerdo.

¿Verdad que la premisa es brutal? Tuve el honor de escucharla de la boca de la misma Victoria Schwab en dos ocasiones (una en Argentina y la otra en México) y desde la primera vez quedé fascinada e intrigada. Se hizo de mis libros más anticipados de la vida y fui la más feliz cuando la editorial me concedió una copia avanzada.

Y pues sí, es muy fácil contarles de qué trata pero muy difícil explicarles todo lo que me hizo sentir. Conocer a Addie fue un privilegio. Fue maravilloso (y doloroso) ver al mundo y a la humanidad a través de sus ojos. Son 300 años de vida en los que ella camina siendo olvidada por todos, y jamás se da por vencida. Nunca pierde las ganas de conocer y de vivir. Y sí, está cansada, ¿cómo no estarlo?

En definitiva, es un personaje con el que me encariñé mucho y con el que incluso me pude ver reflejada en varios aspectos. De verdad que la quiero bastante y, aunque nadie en el mundo pueda recordarla, yo siempre voy a hacerlo. Me va a ser difícil no recordar a Addie LaRue.

No les quiero hablar mucho de los otros personajes principales, pero les puedo comentar que uno es el diablo, al que Addie llama Luc. Él es la mismísima noche. Es maldad, pero también es un personaje lleno de capas. Yo no sabía si lo amaba o lo odiaba (lowkey lo amaba ok). Y por otro lado tenemos a Henry, que de él no les diré NADA, tienen qué conocerlo. Sólo deben saber que es quien le dice esas míticas palabras a Addie: "te recuerdo". ¿Cómo es que él puede recordarla? ¿Qué lo hace diferente al resto de la humanidad? UFF UFF, DEBEN LEERLO PARA DESCUBRIRLO.

Ahora, el libro me mantuvo muy entretenida en todo momento, además de que está lleno de reflexiones sobre la vida y la humanidad. Creo que mientras lo leía pensaba que me iba a gustar bastante, pero fue el final el que me hizo AMARLO con todo mi ser. ¿Saben? Creo que los finales son importantes. El final de una historia puede levantarla o dejarla caer, y el final de La Vida Invisible de Addie LaRue la elevó hasta los cielos. Para mí ese final formó un círculo perfecto y terminé llorando. Los últimos tres capítulos fueron leídos entre lágrimas y sollozos (y esto no es spoiler porque soy el tipo de lectora que llora de felicidad, de tristeza, de coraje y... lloro con cualquier emoción fuerte, la verdad).

Ya sólo me queda decirles que Addie LaRue merece ser leída, conocida y recordada. Es un libro tan real, pero a la vez tan lleno de magia, que nunca van a olvidar.


I'll start this review without knowing what to say. This is one of those books that will stay in my mind and in my heart for a long, long time. I've always said that I love V.E. Schwab's books, but this one is by far my favorite. And believe me, I had high expectations and it exceeded them.

This book is about Addie LaRue, a French girl who was born in the 1700s. She was always warned not to pray to the gods who answer when it gets dark. But on a desperate night, she does it and she gets an answer. Addie ends up making a pact with the devil: now she will live forever, but she will be forgotten by everyone. Until one day, 300 years later, a boy says the words that change everything: I remember you.

Isn't the premise brutal? I had the honor of hearing it from the mouth of Victoria Schwab herself on two occasions (one in Argentina and the other in Mexico) and from the first time I was fascinated and intrigued. This was one of my most anticipated books and I was the happiest when I got an advanced copy from the publisher.

And yes, it is very easy to tell you what this book is about, but very difficult to explain everything that it made me feel. Meeting Addie was a privilege. It was wonderful (and painful) to see the world and humanity through her eyes. She has lived 300 years being forgotten by everyone, and she never gives up. She never loses her wonder and her desire to live. And yes, she is tired, how can she not be?

I don't want to tell you much about the other main characters, but I can tell you that one of them is the devil, Addie calls him Luc. He is the night itself. He is evil, but also a character full of layers. I didn't know if I loved him or hated him (I lowkey loved him ok). And on the other hand we have Henry, who I will tell you NOTHING about. You just need to know that he is the one who says those mythical words to Addie: "I remember you." How can he remember her? What makes him different? YOU MUST READ IT TO DISCOVER IT.

Now, the book kept me very entertained at all times, plus it is full of reflections on life and humanity. While reading it I thought I was going to like it a lot, but it was the ending that made me LOVE it with all my heart. I think endings are important. The end of a story can lift it or ruin it, and the end of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue lifted it to the sky and beyond. For me, that ending formed a perfect circle and I ended up crying my eyes out. The last three chapters were read between tears and sobs (and this is not a spoiler because I am the type of reader who cries of happiness and sadness and, well, I cry with any strong emotion, really).

Now I can only say that Addie LaRue deserves to be read, known and remembered. It is a book so real, but at the same time so full of magic, that you will never forget.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews151k followers
August 28, 2022
Oh, to be a French girl who knelt in the woods, on the eve of a wedding she did not want, and prayed for freedom to a god—or perhaps a devil—who made her a deal that'll grow to be like a thorn in her, a goad: she will live forever, but she will be forgotten by everyone she meets, always slipping out of reach. An eternity of flitting from one place to another, never feeling quite at home anywhere, and from one person to another, leaving behind only the phantom feel of her touch, and the faint memory of seven freckles dotting her cheeks, like a scattering of stars.

That is, until a boy born with a broken heart says, “I remember you”, and it feels like a prayer. Like a crack in the mortar of her curse.

“Why would anyone trade a lifetime of talent for a few years of glory?” Luc’s smile darkens. “Because time is cruel to all, and crueler still to artists. Because vision weakens, and voices wither, and talent fades.” He leans close, twists a lock of her hair around one finger. “Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end,” he says, “everyone wants to be remembered.”

That is possibly one of the sexiest premises for a book that I've read, and having read many of Schwab’s books, I can confidently say that this is undoubtedly the single best piece of writing she’s ever produced.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is beautifully written. The novel teems with passages of transfixing description, and I could not but let myself sink into the velvet-soft embrace of the author’s voice, as cozily as into a beloved sweater. Even now, days after I’ve read it, I find myself returning to parts of the book to re-read passage, and re-experience the heady prose within, to open up those moments and stretch them out full length, see what new effects they might have on me.

I should say that this is not a novel of thrilling conflicts so much as it is a story of poignant and unforgettable encounters. The novel breezes by at a leisurely pace as the story slowly takes shape before its reader like smoke poured into an invisible mold. This could potentially be frustrating for readers who prefer propulsive plot-lines and clear-cut resolutions as the novel offers neither, but I honestly loved it precisely for that. The real strength of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue lies in the way the author manages to tug so many difficult themes into a heart-wrenching whole, making you feel the characters' depth of anguish, their loneliness and longing to be seen.

Three hundred years is a long time to be alone. In three hundred years, that aloneness grows deep roots; it works its way into every crevice, it gnaws at you from within. It was longer still for Addie LaRue who moved through the world like an apparition, unseen and unacknowledged by everyone except the devil who condemned her to this life of invisibility. His stare, however, brings little comfort, as he reminds her at one point: “Do not mistake this—any of it—for kindness, Adeline. I simply want to be the one who breaks you.”

Twenty-eight years, too, is a long time to be alone. Henry, our other protagonist, was born into a world he felt only halfway inside of. Full to the brim with desires, Henry yearned to be loved, to be wanted, to be enough, and he wanted it all with the greed of someone starved. For years, Addie and Henry both formed the same crooning, desperate, yearning plea in their minds: to not be alone. They had long been wandering in the same labyrinth—both comfortless, lonely, and empty—and had finally rounded the corner that brought them face-to-face. It was the feeling of being invisible and lost and searching and then suddenly neither—and it was heady. But it’s that loneliness that drew Luc’s—the devil’s—eye like a blight on the horizon. Perhaps, because it reminded him of his own.

It's a dangerous thing to be alone after all, but as the reader soon realizes, it's even more dangerous to want. There is so much fear at the center of this novel, like a thorn deep in a festering wound: Will you always drift through life more than you walk, feeling less like yourself and more like a kind of lost and wandering mist? Will your heart always hurt for the wanting of someone? Will you be remembered or will your memory be washed away as though it never were? What will survive of us? Of all the profound ideas echoing throughout this novel, that last one was its most resonant.

Still, hope is a small heated ball at the heart of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and the answers the characters find for themselves at the end () feel like a weight released at last after long hours of bearing it up. Three hundred years is indeed a long time to be alive, but for three hundred years, Addie LaRue twirled around the world, holding her eyes wide open, and always found something new. Addie LaRue learned to love it, all of it, even when it pounded over her in waves that left her gasping, even when it hurt, because it was wonderful too. And always, always worth it.

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.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,123 reviews39.1k followers
March 21, 2023
This time: I have no words for this masterpiece. Literally speechless, wordless, expressionless, blinking, sighing, awed, adored, fell hard, truly loved! I may announce you one of top ten best books of the year.

I know we’re at the fourth month and during our quarantine if I resume finishing approximately 10 to 14 books weekly, this means I can read nearly 500 more books but when you know, you know, this book is like unconditional love at first sight.

It’s a unique story about a village girl’s true demand of her independence, free will and having choices about her own life. She doesn’t want to be someone’s wife and somebody’s mother. She wanted to die standing tall just like trees. So she prays for the old gods and new gods but nobody answered her prayers but somebody heard her. She grabbed somebody’s true attention! Before her wedding, she knelt down on the soil and made a big mistake to pray after dark because she summoned the darkness. And she made a deal with the devil( green eyed, curly dark haired, a version of Lucifer Morningstar who uses contact lenses) for her freedom, earned her immortality at the expanse of being forgotten.

That’s right. Adeline La Rue became immortal and also expendable, cursed, living like a shadow by giving each person she met a short term memory lost. Anyone she meets turns into Guy Pearce from Memento and forgets her a few seconds later. That was the punishment his charming and cunny evil she called Luc gave her. She cannot even tell her name and write it anywhere. Only devil can call her name.

So Adeline shortens her name as Addie and starts her epic adventure, witnessing the world’s history, mostly spending her time at European countries, seeing the French Revolution, world wars, artistic, political, social economic movements and awakening of the cities.

She loved, she hurt, she suffered, she is neglected, abandoned, abused. She lived like a fugitive in people’s houses, learning to be skilled thief. Mostly at each anniversary she resumed her meeting with Luc who wants her obey and surrender to him completely by giving her soul.

But her biggest strength is her endurance and stubbornness because no matter how lonely she is, how she witness the people she fell for treating her like a stranger each time she meet them again, she still love to live fulfilled and learn from experiences. And she is wise enough to become unforgettable by living her thumb prints to the many art masterpieces from the drawings to the songs, books. Even her blurry photos left quite stunning impression on the people. She enjoyed the art and she was talented enough to leave her trace. That’s the real essence of immortality she contributed to the changing world.

But 300 years of solitude and loneliness end when she stops by the bookstore. Henry, the owner of the store, feeling too much, suffering from broken heart and melancholia looking for something but as like the song he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Till he sees the girl tries to trick him by stealing books and he remembers her name.

Yes, after 300 freaking years later, somebody remembered Addie. How? Who is this? Just a lonely boy who wants to love and to be loved in return! Addie thinks she tricked Luc, she found her soul mate but everything comes with the price like her free will and immortality. Is she ready pay for the unconditional love? Is there still hope for her future? Or Luc is about to win their duello by pulling out a last deadly trick? Let’s get lost at this incredible journey to find out.

The ending is a little surprising but it was also hopeful and motivational. I don’t want to talk about because I’m afraid of giving too many details and ruin everything but I wish I could read more adventures of Addie. Fingers crossed!
This is the best book tributes to living and enjoying life fulfilled and healing power of the art. Even though Addie is lonely, cursed, abandoned, she has strong willpower, tough and fearless because she never regrets the life she has lived.

Here is one of my favorite part of the book:
“And she is tired. Unspeakably tired.
But there is no question she has lived.
“Nothing is all good or all bad”, she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”
And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.
Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?”
Were the moments of beauty worth the years of pain?
And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says, “Always”

So is this book worth to fall in at first sentence? ABSOLUTELY! Five stars won’t be enough!

So much thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for sharing this fantastic ARC and giving me this opportunity to read and review it. I loved it so much! This is not one of the best books I’ve read lately, this also turned into one of my favorite books of V.E. Schwab. I wish it would never end!

Profile Image for Roel ✿.
98 reviews123 followers
December 24, 2020
BR with the lovely Marta

I know how many people love V.E. Schwab to death, and I know how many people were completely blown away by The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, but I just do not get it. This was a nightmare.

Plot-wise, this story could have been so thrilling. The plot begins when Addie LaRue, our protagonist, makes a deal with the devil in order to get out of an arranged marriage, and finally live the adventurous life she has always dreamed of living. But there is a catch. Not only does she become immortal, she is also instantly forgotten about by every person she meets as soon as they leave the room she is in.

Ultimately, the book was anything but exciting. Most of my favourite books lack a spectacular plot, and I am always in the mood for a good slow-burn, but this could easily have been condensed to a 200-page book without leaving out anything of the slightest importance. At least half of the book did not add a single thing to the overall narrative, the development of the characters, the atmosphere...

About three hundred years after the spell is cast, Henry Strauss (somebody with no interesting characteristics whatsoever) meets Addie in the second-hand bookshop where he works. When Addie returns to the shop days later, Henry still remembers who she is. This is the part where the insta-love and the cringey rom-com montage scenes come in.

"Three words, large enough to tip the world. I remember you."

Now, Addie is an incredibly dull character to begin with. She is self-centered and insensitive, and really has no hobbies (which is quite strange for someone that has been alive for three hundred years and counting). So, as you can imagine, when circumstances push her toward developing feelings for another flat character, the relationship is as stale as can be. Because what do Henry and Addie ever do except walk around in New York City?

I understand that insignificant scenes of everyday life can have the ability to let readers fully connect, but what this book lacks is a clear point. Over-explaining is Schwab's downfall with this one. At the beginning of the novel, I enjoyed the theme she explores of art essentially being the only truly immortal part of human life — but as the chapters went by, and Schwab kept substantiating the point she was trying to make a thousand different times in exactly the same ways, I ended up being bored out of my mind.

This repetitiveness is not only to be found in the plot itself, but also in the writing. I have heard many people say that this is the best writing they have seen from Schwab to date. That it is beautiful. That it is lyrical. To each their own, but if this is considered to be amazing writing, I do start to wonder how low the bar is on that topic. The text is filled with obscure metaphors that do not make much sense, the same sentence structure is used continuously, and many words and phrases are used, reused, and re-reused...

Can somebody count how many times a sentence starts with 'and yet' or 'blink'? How many times some boy has 'black curls tumbling over their forehead'? How many times Addie's seven beautiful freckles form a constellation or some shit?

Or how many times Addie LaRue wants to be a fucking tree?

You would think, with that off-beat plot, the author would have been able to make up for what was lacking in other areas. It could easily have been made less excruciating to get through this book if, say, Addie got involved in the historical events that shaped the world as we know it today. That would have been interesting. The author, however, decided to mention Frank Sinatra and Beethoven, have Addie be imprisoned in Germany for a split second before letting her be saved by the devil, and be done with it. Schwab gave herself ten years to write this book, and she still let herself (and her main character) gloss over the most important events.

To me, this book is just as forgettable as Addie LaRue herself.


Additional Notes:
- First time reading anything by Schwab. Possibly also the last time
- The cat called Book is the only thing I wanted to read about
Profile Image for emma.
1,819 reviews45.2k followers
March 14, 2023

Attention: all ghouls, witches, wizards, sorcerers and -esses, devils, creatures of the night, and other harbingers of vaguely this-seems-like-a-bad-idea type magic…

Let’s make a deal.

According to this book, you’re making bargains with any bozo who sputters her way into seventeenth-century French bodies of water, and I want in on the opportunity.

Yes, you read that correctly. Our protagonist, Addie LaRue, is a complete bozo.

For those of you who have been living under a rock that no overhyped bestseller can permeate, 1) drop that address and 2) I’ll give you a lil synopsis, so you can continue your very wise decision to avoid this book but for my review (high praise, really).

We begin with the most boring story ever told: A girl in seventeenth-century France who is bored. Her name is Addie. She has freckles that look like stars, for some reason, but you do not have to remember that because she and every other person she meets will never shut the ever-living f*ck up about it.

Speaking of ever-living f*cks, Addie considers herself better than all those other girls who are also expected to marry and live normally, so she makes a deal with a devil-type guy that she’s allowed to live forever. In exchange, no one remembers who she is.

Tough luck? I guess? I don’t know, I got sick of Addie complaining within about 4 months. And we have 300-some-odd years to go. So sorry your immortality isn’t exactly what you pictured. Boo-hoo.

The whole thing reminds me of how I watched Marie Antoinette with a friend recently and spent the entire duration of it unable to believe I was expected to sympathize with MARIE ANTOINETTE. Sure, she had to get married to someone she didn’t want to marry...along with EVERY WOMAN ALIVE. Is it my fault she lived a life of incredible privilege and didn’t spend it very well? No, it’s not. And I won’t allow Sofia Coppola to punish me for it.

Relatedly, no one could have lived from the early 1700s to present and done a worse job of it than Addie LaRue.

She travels only within Europe until World War II (and really mostly in France at that), then moves to America and really sees nothing more than LA, NYC, and NOLA. (Love an initialism.) She manages to meet no people of color. She never considers slavery, revolution, women’s suffrage, or civil rights. She doesn’t travel to a single majority-POC area. She learns several languages, all of them Western.

She is the most irritating stupid idiot alive. I want to throttle her.

On top of that, this book has very little going for it other than pretty writing. (I’ll hand it to you, Schwab - your style went from doing nothing for me to almost distracting me from what a dumpster fire everything else was from time to time.)

I didn’t like Addie for a second, but I tried to like everyone else. Henry, for example, seemed like he could be My Type, as a skinny guy who works in a bookstore - but he felt like anyone. Henry’s two (2) friends, who represent the entirety of the, well, representation in this book, seemed fine, but we never got to confirm or deny that because (as you may have already guessed from the inkling of diversity) they are almost never present.

This just felt half-baked and silly. There was no plot to speak of until maybe the last 100 pages, and the ending was ultimately so disappointing and ridiculous that I almost wish the plotlessness had stuck around.

Just a note, to any, ahem, authors who might find it helpful: If characters are boring and unremarkable, and the story feels flat, and the romance never hits, then going for a big emotional ending isn’t going to do much for anybody.

Anyway. Yeah, I hated this.

Bottom line: Dropping from a 3 to a 2 to 1.5. (The writing was nice.)


took me long enough.

review to come / 3 stars (actually 2)

currently-reading updates

at the rate i am reading this, i will finish it just in time for my 2021 wrap up

tbr review

no, i have never enjoyed a VE Schwab book.

yes, i desperately want to read this one.

we exist
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,942 reviews291k followers
October 12, 2020
"And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark."

It's interesting. I read a couple of reviews for this book that said it was a slow-starter and took a hundred or so pages to get going, so I thought it was a good sign when I fell in love with it right away. The premise captivated me, drew me in, and took me away to another time and place; to an 18th century French village where young Adeline is being forced into a marriage she doesn't want. She prays so hard to escape the constraints placed upon women, and upon mortals themselves, but it seems no god is listening. In the end, she makes a desperate Faustian bargain and learns that old lesson: be careful what you wish for.

Totally sucked in. The prose is a little more poetic than Schwab's usual style, but I think it worked. I also really got on board emotionally with the premise of this book. In exchange for immortality, Addie is doomed to be forgotten by everyone she meets, unable to leave a mark. As soon as she's out of sight, she's out of mind, never to be remembered. Her family forget her. She becomes a stranger to everyone she loves. It is, as you can imagine, a most painful lonely existence.

I can see why some might find it slow, but I found it sad and infuriating enough to be engaging.

It is that big chunk of book between approximately page 150 and 350 where this story lost me. As soon as the love interest arrived on the scene and the whirlwind romance started, I began to lose my emotional attachment to the story. A number of things about this part irked me. The way the purple prose bled over into dialogue (which I never like), the way I instantly guessed the truth about Henry, and, my god, the way we had to be reminded of his "black curls" every time he appears on page.

We also get a lot of backstory about Henry and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I appreciated the discussions about depression and anxiety, and I honestly related to a lot of what the author describes here, but I also found Henry just quite boring in general. I wasn't interested in his relationships with his friends and family, so the chapters we spend with him dragged for me.

It grew repetitive, too. After the interesting start, the story seemed to wander around aimlessly. Addie & Henry gazed into each other's eyes a lot between various flashbacks to Addie's escapades during the last 300 years. The darkness appears and whispers evil things, Addie meets people and is then forgotten over and over.

I did like the ending, though. I feel like it will be polarizing because it is left somewhat open (though not for a sequel, I hope), but I liked the lack of neatness and found the final chapter very satisfying.

One more thing. There's been a bit of controversy over how Schwab's adult books are often wrongly categorized as YA because she is a woman. While I have no doubt women writers do suffer this indignity, I've read a good amount of YA and adult fantasy from both men and women and I still cannot shake the feeling that this book has a very strong YA vibe to it. I know it's a completely subjective line to draw anyway, but I would be far more likely to recommend this book to YA fans than to fans of adult fantasy. Compare this to other women who write adult fantasy like Jemisin, Le Guin, Butler, Wecker and Marillier, and it's a whole different vibe and maturity level, I feel.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,463 reviews9,328 followers
March 14, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

With the tagline, A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget; I should have known this was going to happen. The infamous book hangover.

Y'all, she hurts. Everything hurts.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is an experience. I don't feel like I have ever been this beaten up by a book.

It was literally like Schwab was taking an ice pick to my heart and slowly chipping pieces away through the entire story. I felt the weight of it.

There were times I actually had to set it down and step away. I can't be held accountable for my actions during those moments.

Honestly, it's a bit of a blur.

Addie LaRue is a character who has an extraordinary story to tell, yet no way to tell it.

In 1714, she entered into a Faustian bargain granting her eternal life. The downfall, she will be forgotten by every person she ever meets, unable to do even the simplest of things, like telling someone her name.

Addie flounders for years, trying to determine how best to live within the constraints of the deal.

It is a struggle; nothing comes easy. Addie's only connection, the dark being who granted her wish, a being named, Luc.

These scenes of Addie trying to find her way, adapting to her new reality, were hard to read. In fact, they were some of the most melancholy scenes I have ever read.

It was gripping, beautiful and painful, all at the same time. The writing was able to elicit such empathy for Addie's position. I found it to be extremely powerful.

Addie eventually develops a semi-comfortable pattern for living, until one day, in 2014-New York City, a boy in a bookstore changes everything.

He remembers her.

Intricately weaving together both past and present timelines, Schwab sweeps you up into a love story centuries in the making.

There's tender intimacy, sacrifice and tasty bites of food for thought the entire way through.

Additionally, I loved the exploration of the power of the arts to transcend space and time. There's an underlining theme of art, in many different forms, creating a sort of timeless influence on future generations.

It felt like a love letter to artistic expression and I was so into that whole vibe.

Overall, I think this is a very special story. One that will have a great and lasting impact on a lot of people.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I will never forget Addie, or her story.

Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
January 12, 2022
“What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?”

Where do I start? This was a good book. What you'd expect from Victoria Schwab. Magical and lyrical. And yet...I turned the last page and was left wanting.

This is the book that Victoria has been working on for 10 years. And yes it's pretty. It's an amazing concept and an intriguing beginning. But I first read this in July and now, barely three months later, I cannot remember all that much except for the fact that Addie has seven bloody freckles in her face like a constellation of stars. It was mentioned so often, I had no chance to forget. It's on the cover too. Literally couldn't be more in your face. This is probably the thing that bugged me the most about this whole book. The damn freckles.

Character-wise I have to admit that I didn't fall in love with either main character. I didn't warm up to Addie and I cannot tell you why. I can't say much about her except that she's smart and really doesn't want to die, which is relatable I guess, but not enough to make me feel for her. The same goes for Henry. He's pretty and smart and doesn't want to die, which is relatable I guess, but he doesn't have enough edges for me to care for him. I did love that they were both queer, though. But that alone doesn't make for a fascinating character.

It took a while for the plot to get rolling. For the first half of the novel Addie simply floats through time and makes some wondrous and some horrible experiences. And everyone who meets her forgets about her as soon as she leaves the room. But after that happened to the third person, I got it. After that, the book didn't hold many surprises.

Overall, definitely a nice book to pass the time, and for someone who is only just getting started reading her books, it sure is a beautiful introduction. Personally, I've gobbled up every single one of her books and Addie didn't do what Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic and The Archived did to me. That is draw me in and never let me go.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews37.7k followers
January 9, 2021
Pretty book filled with pretty people and pretty writing.

That's it.

I felt like I was missing some weight or substance in this book. And I know why. There was to much (probably the most in any book that I've read), way too much of telling and less showing. Like the whole book was basically described to me; I couldn't live, learn it, or see it. And that was fundamentally most disappointing to me. We were living through someone else's view- a narrow field of view at that, and still could barely get a taste.

Also this book is very white. We're told that Addie got to experience and travel to a plethora of different and vast places- Spain, Singapore, India, Beijing, etc...and yet we never even got to visit those places with her; instead, we're stuck in Europe- mainly France, Germany, and Italy. And then New York. So much could have been done and said in these other different places and countries that are full of rich history, context, and people of color. But I guess that doesn't matter because Addie has fully lived. Sure. We just didn't live long enough to see it (pun intended). It would have been nice to see Addie play some part or take part in large of the events and movements important in history regarding BIPOC and LGTBQIA, especially since Addie is bisexual in the book. But none of that is ever brought up.

The writing for this book was incredible. Chef's kiss. My type of writing right here. Not too flowery or pretty; just the right kind of song, beat, and rhythm. Probably the best aspect of the entire book. Henry to me, was the better character to read about; I wanted to get to know him better and I preferred his arc over Addie's. Even though he's a basic lonely boy just wanting to be loved. Still, the ending of the book, I think, was the weakest. I could already tell what was going to go down and what would happen. Does that necessarily mean a bad thing? No. But if that was the scale of the ending to a whole premise based on bargain of immortality, finding love, and being able to live again, I would have expected it to be different, a roaring epic showdown of proportionate value.....instead it was kind of lame.

Overall a book with a great premise and wonderful writing that ultimately fell a little too flat for me. Henry <3 I love you bb.

Read for The Late Night Book Club

3.75 STARS
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Profile Image for Yun.
508 reviews18.9k followers
March 21, 2022
Please don't hate, ok? I know how much everyone loves this book, but for me, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was a very uneven reading experience, with some gems buried under seemingly mountains of fluff.

Addie doesn't want the traditional 18th century life of just being a wife and mother at her poor provincial town. So on the eve of a forced marriage, she makes a deal with the devil for her heart's most fervent wish. Though that deal traps her in a curse, it also sets her on a most unexpected journey.

My foremost thought while reading this book is: gosh, this sure is a very long book for the amount of content in here. Not much happens through most of the pages. The actual plot in here is fairly simple and straightforward. In fact, you could safely cut out a lot of the paragraphs and chapters and not lose any meaning to the story, which is never a good sign.

So what is 450 pages filled with, you ask? Paragraphs and paragraphs of pretty writing. If it could be said in one sentence, it's said in several fluffy paragraphs. If one metaphor suffices, well, they come in sets of three or four, every time. It's all a bit much. In fact, it often seems as if the author cared more about putting together clever floral word arrangements than moving the plot along.

The other issue is that Addie is fairly naive, so this book comes across as distinctly YA even though it's marketed to adults. Her decisions, her thoughts, her growth (or lack thereof), her romances, they all feel very young. Though we follow Addie through her youth and later years, her character sounds exactly the same throughout.

Yet, for all the flaws, there is something undeniably charming in the story. I cared about the characters and what happens to them. And I found the premise intriguing. It reminds me of the movie The Age of Adaline, which takes a similar concept and does it much better, though coincidentally with a similar name.

In the end, I liked this book enough. There were moments of brilliance that really made this story shine. But they were often buried deep under mountains of indulgent verbal gymnastics that tested my patience to the extreme. I can't help but feel this was a missed opportunity, that with some aggressive editing, this could've been a stellar read.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews111k followers
October 16, 2020
3.5 stars. VE Schwab has consistently great writing as always and really wrote her ass off here. I can tell many of the internal struggles that the main characters go through (particularly Henry) come from a personal place in Schwab's life, and you can feel that earnestly pouring through the pages. This book would be enjoyed by people who like slower, atmospheric, and character-driven stories. I think this works if you relate to the characters; if you don’t, the narrative becomes quite repetitive and saccharine. The level of navel gazing is 110% and really lays it on thick - it feels like watching an artsy indie film with sentimental white hipsters and a splash of magic, albeit written elegantly!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,503 reviews30.8k followers
March 21, 2021
oh, addie. who could ever forget you?


i honestly dont know what i could say that hasnt already been said. every positive thing you have read about this book, take it and multiply it by 100. thats how stunning this story is.

ive always been a fan of schwab. i love how atmospheric, energetic, and wholly engaging her stories are. but wow. i would have never expected her to write something so beautiful, so alluring, so comforting. i really like this look for her writing and i hope she continues this style of storytelling. i think i would dare to say this is probably her best work to date. its that remarkable.

easily a new favourite.

5 stars
Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 37 books103k followers
October 7, 2020
As I do my final read-through on this book, a story nearly 10 years in the making, all I can think is that I've put my heart and soul, my teeth and blood and bones into this one.

I hope you love it.

ETA: I can't believe we made it. Addie spent so many years haunting me, I hope she haunts a few of you. <3
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
527 reviews57.6k followers
October 6, 2020

Love story between a French girl and the devil over 300 years...

I tried to go into this book with low expectations considering romance isn't my genre and... Wow, this has to be V. E. Schwab's best book!

I've always liked her writing but this character-driven, slow-paced story really works for her. It's closer to literary fiction than her other work and her characters are much stronger.

Frankly, I recommend you go into it knowing nothing else.

Pick it up!
Profile Image for Sofia.
267 reviews6,148 followers
July 26, 2021
Words can't even begin to describe the beauty of this book.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a mesmerizing tapestry woven from heartbreak and desperation and yet, somewhere in the midst of the suffering, the pure joy of living. This book touched my heart in places I didn't know existed. It tore open the gates of my emotions and ripped them apart mercilessly.

We follow Addie LaRue, a French woman longing for freedom, who strikes a bargain with a god named Luc. She will live forever—for a price. A blink, and Addie LaRue is gone. Turn away, and she is forgotten. Her name chokes in her throat when she tries to speak it. Words she writes are erased by an invisible hand. When she attempts to tell her story, she is silenced. Slowly, she loses hope. In her stubbornness, she refuses to give her soul to Luc, even as she begins to despair and finds herself the victim of blank stares and confused glances. Until she meets Henry Strauss, who speaks three words that change her life forever.

I remember you.

Schwab's writing is dreamy, poetic, lyrical, melancholy—lonely. Addie LaRue is so lonely, and you can feel her sorrow with every word she speaks. Her friendships dissolve overnight, her parents don't remember her face. And it physically pains me. No one but V.E. Schwab could have written such a delicate and pensive novel.

What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?

Addie is a protagonist who lives on despite it all. She leaves her mark where she can, in blurry photographs and wistful song lyrics. She's not remarkable, but this works in the novel's favor. She is always forgotten; it wouldn't make sense for her to stand out. And yet, my soul was touched by her struggles and I saw bits of myself in her.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is one of my favorite books of all time. It's quiet, not showy at all, but beautiful and lyrical and personal. Schwab poured her heart and soul into this novel, and it shows.


I want to delete my emotions.
RIP my heart.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
December 31, 2020

Just released my Top 10 Books from 2020 BookTube Video - now that you know this one made the list, click the link to find the rest!
Annnd here's my book vlog!

Here's my full Unboxing and Video Review - click the link to check it out!

Annnd here's my original reaction to this book!

It's here! It's here! It's here!

Cancel all the plans - it's reading time!!

Update - 50%

So far, so good! Such a compelling story - I'm addicted!

Update - Finished

Victoria. Did you have to rip out my heart and stomp on it like what? 5 stars but I'm also dead.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,196 reviews25.9k followers
November 9, 2020
Are you kidding me? 😭 This book wrecked me.

I feel like this book was written for me because Addie is just the most relatable independent bad bitch and the way she talks about how much she loves books, movies and New York City, yeah that’s basically my brand.

I’m not usually one to read historical fiction or fantasy but this book was magical. The writing was absolute perfection, so gorgeous I could cry just thinking about it. I love the idea of reading about a character who is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets, it was fascinating and I just can’t imagine how lonely she is. It’s devastating to imagine.

I thought parts 2 and 3 were a little slow, but part 4 really knocked it out of the park for me and I loved learning more about Henry’s character. I just really adore Henry’s character so hard.

The ending literally made me cry like a bitch. I made a weird gasping sound during one scene that really got to me and then it was a flood of tears until the last page. This is definitely an all time favorite, I’m not going to be forgetting this story anytime soon.

Also kind of a side note here but the song cardigan by Taylor Swift came on as I was reading and now I’ll never listen to that song and not think of this book.

“And when I felt like I was an old cardigan under someone’s bed, you put me on and said I was your favorite.” 😭
Profile Image for Taylor Reid.
Author 21 books134k followers
October 30, 2020
I had the honor of moderating an event with V.E. Schwab this past weekend and that gave me all the reason I needed to luxuriate in the world of Addie LaRue. Addie is immortal and has been since the early 1700s, thanks to a deal with the devil, so to speak. But she has also been rendered entirely impossible to remember. So she lives her life—throughout 18th-century France, 19th-century Venice and London and New York City today—remembered by no one and yearning for company. Until, of course, she finds it. Come for the beautiful world-building, stay for the assertion that certain geniuses of past centuries made their own deals with the devil.
Profile Image for chloe.
240 reviews28k followers
August 23, 2020
okay wow i loved this book. i have been SO excited to read this and it truly was beautiful and unlike anything else i've ever read. i loved the structure of the book - how each chapter was set in a different year/place in addie/henry's life. i loved addie and henry so much.

it's definitely a slow paced book with stunning writing. this is my favourite ve schwab book in terms of the writing style. SO many good quotes.

thank you TOR for sending me an early digital copy for review <3
Profile Image for myo (myonna reads).
696 reviews6,232 followers
August 25, 2020
if you came here for a love story between a girl and the darkness she made a deal with, don’t even bother. i think that the story was actually pretty good but it wasn’t what it was advertised as. i thought this story would be about a girl falling in love with the devil and it wasn’t at all, which is fine but when you have so many people hyped up because we think we’re going to get the villain and the protagonist in love but you don’t write that i feel like it’s kind of cheap.

it was a love triangle and it was quite pointless. it was like she needed one thing to help push the story along so she just came up with a whole person and made them the love interest. but i don’t think her being in love with him was very believable at all.

i think that V.E. Schwab has a habit of writing her female characters to be “not like other girls” and i was hoping that it wouldn’t be the same but sadly it was. i think that she tends to self insert with her characters when it comes to that aspect and you can very much tell. someone please tell her it’s okay to be girly and that being “different” and not into what makes you feminine doesn’t make you special, it feels very put downish.

i wanted to like this book so much because her writing was better than it typically is and i liked a lot of the quotes a lot and i liked the fact that we learned why Addie wanted to live forever and saw people forgetting about her. even how some chapters were in present day and the next was in the past.

but i just feel bamboozled like why advertise it as something it clearly isn’t? like i said the book is good and i can understand why people would love it, i just feel like, don’t make the book out to be something that it isn’t because for people who came for the romance are going to be very disappointed and speaking of the romance, i feel like the romance in general was poo poo. i don’t think that Schwab is good at writing romance at all.

i hated nothing more the corny ass ending too, i don’t mind ambiguous endings but this one was just so bad, it’s something i would’ve wrote in my 5th grade fictional books i used to do for class.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
387 reviews3,108 followers
December 10, 2022
There was so much hype about this book, but I don't really get it.

The story itself is OK, but it has been done before. This book centers on a character named Addie LaRue who makes a deal with some "dark" character, Luc, that she can live forever. However, no one will remember her after she leaves their sight.

There is a Blake Lively movie, "The Age of Adaline", where Adaline can live forever. The other character in the book is named Henry which is the name of the husband in The Time Traveler's Wife. So I really wish the author would have selected different names for her characters.

Addie is completely selfish and thinking only of herself. Instead of thinking of Henry in the last part of the book, she is thinking about how smart she is. The character goes around and is so happy that she is part of all of this art. Why didn't she go to MIT and ask questions of the brightest and solve some major problems for society? Why doesn't she try to do something more than just have romantic encounters and steal things? What makes Addie so special? Nothing. She is very ordinary and uninteresting.

Schwab could have taken us in different directions. We could have seen Addie at The Alamo, at the World's Fair, at the play with Abraham Lincoln, at a million different points in history. But we don't. What if Addie had a child and it died? I'm left wanting.

On a positive note, I did enjoy Schwab's writing. The way in which she writes is almost lyrical. It is developed, but I wish that the plot was better. Also, if I had a dollar for every time, I read the words, "freckles", "black curls", and "pink umbrellas", I would be a very rich person. It was really overdone.

I also put together this YouTube video to start a discussion on the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLP_-...

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