The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab | book review

This review is spoiler-free!

“You know,” she’d said, “they say people are like snowflakes, each one unique, but I think they’re more like skies. Some are cloudy, some are stormy, some are clear, but no two are ever quite the same.”

V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Published: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Category: adult
Genre: historical, contemporary, fantasy, romance
Pages: 442
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 stars)
Goodreads page

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A life no one will remember. A story you will never forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

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

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

[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]

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I didn’t know 100% what to expect when I picked up this book. I’ve read V.E. Schwab’s work in the past (namely A Darker Shade of Magic), so I was expecting something along the lines of that series. Boy, was I wrong! To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought V.E. Schwab wrote this book if I didn’t see her name on the cover. It’s a departure from her usual stories, but I’m not mad at it. She usually doesn’t write romance into her stories, so I was very surprised to see that this had a lot of it. She said on social media that this book is the closest she’ll ever write to a romance story, and the book’s massive success goes to show that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to, even if it’s different from what she usually does.

I’m not going to lie: I probably wouldn’t have picked The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue up if it weren’t for the hype surrounding it. It’s not usually what I go for. It’s a historical/contemporary/fantasy novel about a girl who wants to leave her mark on the world but struggles to do so because she’s been cursed to be forgotten. While it sounded interesting, it didn’t peak my interest until I saw all the raving reviews.

The story was okay. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t as mind-blowing as I thought it would be, but I’m glad I read it. I’ve never read a book that is both historical and contemporary that follows the same character throughout the whole story. It was cool to see a blend of the past, present, magic, and art all in one book. At first I preferred the chapters about Addie in the past, but once she meets Henry in the present, that was all I wanted to read about. I didn’t find Addie’s interactions with Luc to be all that entertaining (it was pretty much the same thing over and over again), but other than that it was a good story.

One thing I wished is that the artworks highlighted in each part of the book were real. It would’ve been really cool to see those pieces IRL, but alas, they’re just as fictional as the story they’re a part of.

As much as I enjoyed the story, I had one major problem: the diversity. I can understand why the three main characters are white. Addie is from early 1700 France. I can’t imagine that there are a lot of non-white people in the small town that she grew up in. Luc appears in a form of what she desires most, which happens to be her sketch of man with dark hair and green eyes. She probably didn’t know much about other races outside her own and just drew what she knew. I can even get behind Henry being white, given that V.E. Schwab has said that she put a lot of herself in that character. What I don’t understand is why the present-day story set in New York City (which, in my opinion, is one of the most diverse cities in America) doesn’t have more people of color. Sure, Bea (one of Henry’s best friends) is Black, but that’s it. There were so many opportunities to bring in characters of different backgrounds, but it didn’t happen.

I can’t even think of a lot of books that are similar to this one. The best one I can think of is Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you like twists of (fictional) art history, brooding gods, and impossible love, this book is for you. If you’re looking to read something you’ve never read before, this book might be for you.

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I give The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue 3.5 out of 5 stars!

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If you could make a deal with the gods after dark, what would it be?
Did you read this book? What were your thoughts?
Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree?

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Stay awkward and amazing!

5 thoughts on “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab | book review

  1. Marta @ of waves and pages 01/30/2021 / 12:41 pm

    This is a really interesting review!! I fell in love with Addie LaRue especially because of the whimsical writing style, and I was eating everything up, seriously. I did find Henry kinda meh, and his chapters as well, but I did really enjoy the whole book and especially the end! However, I have to admit I only really thought about the lack of diversity when I saw it pointed out on Twitter, and I’m really ashamed in that (definitely need to do better), but I 100% agree with you on that point. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/30/2021 / 3:10 pm

      I totally agree that the writing is fantastic! I guess the problem I had with the book (minus the diversity) is that I couldn’t relate to Addie that much. All I could think about is how I wouldn’t be able to get away with a lot of the things she does if I were in her shoes.

      Honestly, I didn’t think much about the diversity until I started writing this review 😅 There’s no shame in liking this book (seriously, V.E. Schwab’s writing is amazing). No book is perfect, and as long as we understand that there are imperfections, I think it’s fine to enjoy a really well-written story. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nehal Jain 02/21/2021 / 12:50 am

    I also read this book due to the hype around it. And I enjoyed it fine, but it was unnecessarily long and got boring at Addie’s past parts. I also felt like Henry and Addie just didn’t make the right couple. I loved the ending though, but I get what you mean by disappointing, I can relate to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 02/21/2021 / 7:24 pm

      I think the ending saved the book. If the author wrote it differently, I’m not sure I would’ve liked the story as much. Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one slightly disappointed with the book, though.

      Liked by 1 person

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