“It is sad, of course, to forget. But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten. To remember when no one else does.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
GENRE: Fantasy/Romance/Historical Fiction
FIRST PUBLISHED : October 6th 2020, by Tor Books
MY RATING: 5/5
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.
It’s no secret that V is one of my favorite authors. Other than Shades of Magic being one of my favorite fantasy series, I have read, loved and reviewed Vicious, City of Ghosts, and Tunnel of Bones on my blog. I still have several of her YA novels to read, but I have a feeling Addie LaRue is something special, something that will forever stand out in her bibliography, even if she writes 20 new perfect novels, and I have no doubt about that either!
Addie LaRue restored my faith in amazing books and their existence. I know I’m easy on star ratings, and that I often give 5 or 4 stars to books because I feel like I have to, or I feel bad for giving less, but I have a list on Good Reads called simply favorites, and only 25 books on it. Addie has made the list. Addie, for the first time in months, years maybe, took my breath away and did that thing where I become so invested that hours go by without me knowing. It’s been years since I literally couldn’t put a book down, and it’s mainly like that because of my anxiety, not because the books I read are boring. I could be reading an amazing book, but after every 2-3 sentences I would drift away in thoughts or I’d check my phone for no reason at all. That is how I read 90% of the time, and it’s exhausting. Well, Addie changed that for a bit and I loved it!
Simply put, Addie LaRue is a novel about a girl who wants the world and who wants to be free but ends up getting tricked badly. Kind of like the Little Mermaid! Addie is a young girl living in an 18th century French village, but in that time and place she is almost a spinster, so her parents force her to marry, and it’s someone she doesn’t love, of course. In a last-minute moment of despair, Addie calls upon the old gods to help her, but in her rush and panic she doesn’t notice the setting sun so she keeps praying as the sun goes down, until someone answers.
“The old gods may be great, but they are neither kind nor merciful. They are fickle, unsteady as moonlight on water, or shadows in a storm. If you insist on calling them, take heed: be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price. And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”
There is always a price. In her despair, Addie asks for more time, for a freedom to see the world, to fall in love, to do what she wants. By a dark and twisty thing, a darkness which takes a form of a beautiful man of Addie’s dreams, she is granted her wish, and she is granted her consequences. Addie’s gift is to live forever, to withstand wounds which would kill any other person, but her curse is to be forgotten by anyone, as soon as she gets out of their sight, or as they wake up to a new day.
The curse is just a beginning, because the rest of this amazing novel chronicles Addie’s adventures through the next 300 years. In that time she’ll meet many historical figures, learn a dozen of languages, read hundreds of books, travel the world and fall in love several times. And not once will she be remembered for more than 24 hours. Not until 2014 that is.
“Three words, large enough to tip the world. I remember you.”
I can tell you that I loved all the characters brought so vividly to life, that I was wildly sucked into this epic story of love and loss, that each single page out of 448 meant something to me and made me smile or cry or yell out in frustration. But whether you end up loving this novel will largely depend on your own relationship with life, death, love, loss, and especially freedom. This novel, like a true novel is meant to, will bring to surface your own wants and fears and secret desires, and if you are a person who is constantly searching for a meaning, a person who despite everything has a lot of belief that something is still out there, you will live vicariously through Addie LaRue, and you will never forget her.
Victoria Schwab had the initial idea for Addie LaRue about 10 years ago, and she worked on it until she achieved pure perfection. She could have easily published this book nine years ago, since she’s a prolific writer and successful enough to put other projects aside and work on her life’s work, which I think Addie is. But she bided her time and as she herself said, waited for the perfect moment to bring this great novel to the world. I’m so glad she did, because as a result we got a truly timeless novel, an epic of sorts, a story, and a character that will stand the test of time.
“Because time is cruel to all, and crueler still to artists. Because visions weakens, and voices wither, and talent fades…. Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end… everyone wants to be remembered.”
Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”