The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Review: Everyday Slow Beginnings, and Emotional Endings
The whole book community online has been talking about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue since it was first announced to come out by author V.E. Schwab. This is my first venture into Schwab’s very hyped-up books, and I must say–I totally understand now.
I had high expectations coming into Addie’s story, and I was not disappointed.
If you have never heard of this title, or have no idea what it’s about, let me break it down for you: Addie LaRue made a deal with the darkness to have more time, and to not be tied down to one place. The darkness gave it to her, and more. She can live forever and her body will never deteriorate, but she can never be remembered by anyone she meets. She’s lived for 300 years, and in present-day New York, she meets the first person to ever remember her.
The writing was beautiful. It was poetic, melodic, and at times quite slow, but I think it translated well in the bigger picture as it really allowed readers to be in Addie’s headspace every step of the way. I’m not sure if Schwab takes on a similar writing approach in her other books or if this is unique and intentional for this particular story. But either way, it completely worked in her favor.
As we get into this review, let’s split it up by the criteria in which we’re grading this, shall we?
(Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers here!)
- CHARACTER CREATION
- WORLD BUILDING
Character Creation – 5 stars 🌟
Being three hundred and twenty-three years old, Adelaine “Addie” LaRue’s character development is really one that touches readers’ hearts. Her fear of growing old and dying in her small town was palpable from the very first words of the story, when she was a mere child and only dreamt of seeing more.
Her desperation to get out as she got older was displayed so vividly; it’s as if readers were also going on this anxious ride. And then after making the deal, and her whole life just completely changed.. It was heartbreaking at times, especially in the first few years when everything was a lot more painful and unsure.
Three hundred years. The way this story was written was really impressive because Addie’s growth through her experiences can be felt in progression with each chapter and page. So her current characteristics of being fearless, resourceful, and incredibly attentive of her surroundings are a lot more rewarding because we saw her not being these things at the beginning. We saw her constantly hesitating before doing something, being naive of her own curse, and not paying enough attention to people’s moods and how it might affect her–and centuries later, she’s grown into so much more.
Side characters were also A+ as each of them had a unique personality, and they felt like really fleshed-out people. Even the darkness was a fleshed-out character with emotions, growth, and complex motivations! Absolutely loved that dynamic between “it” and Addie too. 👀
Plot – 5 stars 🌟
Plot-wise, I’ve never actually read a book with a similar premise. The only thing that comes to mind is the movie The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively, but it wasn’t as wild as this, haha.
The premise itself of never aging, but never being remembered, is already interesting in itself. But the introduction of a character that does, totally flipped that storyline on its head, because then you’re suddenly worrying about how it’s all going to end. How could it possibly end well for someone who can’t be remembered, captured by photographs, or anything to leave a mark or prove she exists?
World Building – 5 stars 🌟
(I sound like a broken record now.)
BUT, it’s so well-deserved. Technically, the world in which Addie’s story takes place in is our own world, with touches of an invisible force of magic. Despite it being a somewhat “familiar” setting, though, V.E. Schwab still did a remarkable job at painting a different feeling for each place we’re in: Villon, France / Paris, France / Venice, Italy / New York, etc. And although I’ve never been to any of these places, each one felt vivid and so alive because of the little snippets into Addie’s adventures, and the hidden treasures she finds along the way.
I also particularly loved seeing Addie live through some iconic historical moments, and witnessing the stark differences across cultures and societies, and how that all developed given the times.
Although the “world” here is our own, the book still successfully built on our realities, and expanded on them even more with magic and gods.
Overall rating: 5 stars 🌟
I guess just from the very beginning we can already tell how much I adored The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Subjectively, it’s because it touched on my emotions and I really grew to care for all of the characters (even those that just have small parts). Objectively, I think it’s just a really well-written story with all the things I look for in ✨ good storytelling ✨. That ending was just *chef’s kisses*.
On Bookstagram, here’s how I raved about it:
“Don’t you just love it when a book gets your heart beating frantically towards its last pages because you have no idea how it’s going to end? And you’re a bit scared to find out??
“I haven’t felt that in so long and this book is worth all its slow beginnings, if only for that whiplash of an emotional ending. The whole book’s tone is a representation of Addie’s every day, and every moment with a fleeting person in her life—kinda slow at the start, but will hit your heart every time it ends.“
Let me know what you think!
- Have you read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue? How do you rate it?
- Would you make this deal? Have the chance to live as long as you want, but never be remembered?
- What other V.E. Schwab books should I read?