Australian RRP: $32.99
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Page Count: 560
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Sypnosis from Newsouth Books Australia –
When Addie LaRue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price — the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.
Addie flees her tiny hometown in 18th Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.
Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.
Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.
‘For someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality.’ — Neil Gaiman
I received a copy of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue from Newsouth Books Australia in exchange for an honest review, all though
Addie LaRue flees her hometown in 18th Century France, a time when women were expected to be nothing more than Wives and Mothers, settling down, marrying an esteemed husband and giving birth to any number of children. Truthfully, I don’t think I could’ve survived the harsh restrictions and limitations that women were faced with back then! Bearing this in mind, I absolutely couldn’t help but instantaneously and utterly feel for Addie LaRue, no one wants to ever be stuck in one place at any one given time, we all want to live a full life and discover all the joys within it (whether it’s hearing a certain piece of music for the first time, appreciating a piece of artwork, tasting a certain food, let alone seeing the beautiful sights all over the world, big or small).
It seems quite sharp, yet equally fitting in its irony, reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue given the Coronavirus Pandemic that we’re in, unable to really go anywhere on a larger scale. However, through the eyes of darling Addie, we’re projected into her life from when she was a wide-eyed, curious young girl, to 2014, back and forth between France, New York and many a place in between as Addie lives through Wars and so much more, planting the seeds, trickling an idea, being a Muse, inspiring Creatives throughout history, all whilst never being specifically remembered aside from these glimmers of ideas, those 7 starry constellations, those freckles that dot her face so beautifully, forever a cause of awe. Never remembered, only with her dark Companion as a reminder of the bargain she once made, for such a long time, until one fateful encounter with a young man in a corner New York Bookshop.
Henry Strauss remembers Addie LaRue.
It’s funny, though, when Henry’s chapters came onto the scene, I was initially unsure what to think of his character, though sure, he’s completely likeable and I just wanted to hug him and reassure him that he is enough, initially I did find myself missing Addie’s page time when Henry was first brought into the story. However, these feeling rapidly were vanquished when Henry’s backstory was introduced, the immense pain that he felt, the heartbreak and just the fact that he’s an utter sweetheart who’s feeling like he’s got the weight of everything on him, that he feels like he’s a disappointment to his loved ones! Like, aaah, so raw and heartbreaking, no one should have to feel this burden! It was as Victoria Schwab weaved Henry’s backstory, divulging his deepest and darkest torments, everything that he went through in such saddening degrees, that made me ache for Henry, almost as much as I’d felt for Addie.
Yet, as soon as those words were uttered: I remember you, those three words which hold such hope and yet are completely so unthinkable and of course poignant, how could he remember her when no one else has? As soon as Henry came onto the scene, as soon as he said those words, I instantly found myself wondering how and why he was able to remember Addie, what he might have done or who’s path he might have crossed to be able to remember this remarkable character.
As his backstory was explored further, the time jumps between the past and present woven and written so beautifully as V.E Schwab does, as Addie’s and Henry’s lives intersect so beautifully, their chemistry undeniable and utterly poignant and just so human, as I learnt more about Henry and Addie, together and seperatley, I just couldn’t help but feel more in love with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue!
V.E Schwab has longtime been a favourite Author of mine, her writing is just so lyrical and absolutely glorious to read, so magical and lyrical, whimsical and just all kinds of spectacular! Right from that first page, where it all begins, where the reader meets a girl running fast, hearing those pleas for her, the fact that she keeps on running (at the start though, of course we fully don’t know what she’s running away from), but oh, right from the start, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is just completely evocative in its nature! It practically instantly became one of my favourite books of all time, and I know I’m going to reread it many a time over and continue to be spellbound by it!
I actually really loved that The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is more character oriented more so than the plot, sure the time jumps project the reader right alongside Addie and through those, we get to read about Addie crossing into the paths of Artists, inspiring pictures, art, music, the story is just so rooted in her character and Henry’s too, then there’s Addie’s devilish Companion, the fleeting (yet always permanent) reminder of her fateful bargain, though there’s also a wonderful bookstore cat named Book who I absolutely adored too! I also found it quite refreshing that both Addie and Henry are bisexauls, I don’t think I’ve read a book where both its lead protagonists are a bisexual woman and man, respectively. Through Henry, we read about his ill fated romances with Tabitha and Robbie and through Addie, we read about her romances with Artists (however fleeting), of both genders and I just found it so wonderfully refreshing!
I completely urge everyone to add this book to your TBR if you haven’t already! Everyone needs to discover the absolute joyous magic that is V.E. Schwab’s writing and honestly I think Addie LaRue is the perfect place to start! It’s a standalone, something which I’m lamenting about truly, though I’m with a flicker of hope that maybe, just maybe, we might get to return to the works of Addie, see what Henry and Book are up to, just maybe! However, without a doubt I can happily admit that The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is an entirely unforgettable journey!