The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
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Publisher/date: Tor Books (October 6, 2020)
Genre: Historical Romantic Fantasy
If you like Nicholas Sparks novels, you'll love The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
Life is the minutes you want minus one.
Adeline LaRue has never left Villon, France. One day, her father takes her to market, and she realizes there is a whole world outside the tiny square mile that everyone she knows will be born and die in.
Adeline is sixteen now, and everyone speaks of her as if she is a summer bloom, something to be plucked, and propped within a vase, intended only to flower and then to rot.
But she wants more.
So when she is to be married off to a widower, she makes a deal with the only one who will listen. A deal for her soul. And so begins the invisible life of Addie LaRue. Blessed to never be tied down to anything or anyone, and cursed to never be remembered by anything or anyone. And pushed on by the hope that one day, she will get the better of the Thing who owns her soul.
I have to say that this is a major departure from the fantastical style of V.E. Schwab! Not in a bad way, but definitely not what I was expecting after having read the rich fantasy worlds in her other books. This one is much more worldly, much more believable. And so it sucks you in even more.
There's a bit of fantasy, with the magic of her curse and Luc, the thing made of darkness who made the deal for her soul. But other than that, this book follows her through history as she never ages, never dies, but also never leaves a mark on the world. She finds little ways to spite Luc, mostly by being stubborn. She cannot make a mark on anything, nobody can specifically remember her, but she can leave ideas, thoughts, inspiration. She has become a muse to leave her mark on the world. There's a really schmancy metaphor in there somewhere about making a difference in your own small way, and even that tiny thing cause ripples and waves and makes a bigger impact than we realize.
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.
Addie is everything I want in a heroin. A deal with the devil, stubbornness and strength, a good heart, but real, she feels and hopes and despairs and loves.
Luc is everything I want in a villain. Morally ambiguous enough to want to read more though you still love to hate him.
And then there's Henry. I won't tell you about Henry, you'll have to read the book to know Henry!
This book took me an age to get through. It's partly the quarantine blues and partly that it's not a suspenseful book. It's a romance without the sex. Something I'd be as happy to recommend to a teenager as I was to recommend to a grandmother.
I'm so impressed with Victoria Schwab. The flexibility of a person to write things that are so vastly different, and yet still have threads of similarity, is what so many people aspire to. Its stunning and amazing and inspirational. I was already a fan of hers, but this book - again SUCH a departure from her normal style - cemented her into my favorite writers club. Wow. Just wow.
5 Stars, anyone who raves about Serpent and Dove will be ROCKED by this book.
*Thank you to NetGalley.com who provided this eARC in exchange for an honest review.*