Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

We all want to be loved. Noticed. Accepted. In a sense, love is a compromise. To receive, you must give. To know another, you must open up and be known. It is a push, and pull. How would you experience love – or any of life’s strongest emotions – if you were literally, magically, incapable of forming more than a passing acquaintance? 

Ask Addie Larue. 

The Basics: 

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Modern Fantasy, Literature, Romance
Published: Tor, 2020

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

Adaline Larue was born in rural France in the early 1700s. She strains against the boundaries her culture assigned to her as a woman. She has dreams beyond raising children and keeping a home. When she is forced into an arranged marriage, in her desperation, she does the unthinkable, the one thing she knows she must not do: she prays to the old gods who answer after dark. 

Photo by Brady Knoll on Pexels.com

Addie receives the freedom she desires at a terrible cost: nobody remembers her when she is out of sight. She will live an immortal, invisible life until she tires of of living alone. Inch by inch, she explores the confines of her curse and struggles to leave her mark on a world where she is completely unnoticeable. Despite her circumstances, she refuses to give in and never stops pursuing little ways to leave an impact. The centuries march on, the world turns, and she finds herself in New York City in 2013 when everything changes. I would love to say more, but this is one of those books where the line between teaser and spoiler is razor-thin, so you’ll have to read to find out. 

Is this new twist on her curse the path to redemption, or is it just another of The Darkness’ cruel torments? 

Why This Book Is For You: 

Told in two timelines – one starting in the 1700s before the curse, one starting in modern times hundreds of years on – Addie Larue is a masterclass of craft and pacing.

Some books are all about the destination. They tease you with an exciting premise or an intriguing question, and drag you along with that promise waving, tantalizing, just beyond your reach until the final few pages. Others are all about the journey. Addie Larue is the latter. Ms. Schwab is a masterful lyricist. Her pen is a paintbrush as she draws the reader into the beautiful, heartbreaking, achingly beautiful world of Addie’s curse. The prose alone is worth the read. 

It’s not just musical language and tragedy. Addie’s life shifts from one thought-provoking circumstance to another. The situations themselves are intrinsically beautiful, with a quiet, moving tension.

I do feel that a trigger warning is necessary: Addie’s relationship with The Darkness is textbook emotional abuse. If 300 pages of psychological manipulation will take you to a dark place, give this one a pass. 

 If you like your modern fantasy with a dash of English-class introspection, you will adore Addie Larue.

Where Can You Find More?

You can check out V.E. Schwab’s other works of fantasy from middle grade to adult to graphic novels on her web site.

Happy Reading, and Happy Writing, folks.

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