This book contains adult content that is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
Many people believe that The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – much like other books by V. E. Schwab, is meant for YA audiences, but this is not the case.
If you are under the age of 18, please consider not reading this review and/or the book as it might contain material that you are sensitive to.
Many readers have also issued that this book has issues with white-washing, but as a caucasian person, I cannot speak on this. I advise BIPoC readers to approach this book with caution nonetheless.
This review also contains major spoilers!
☾ about the book
Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V. E. Schwab
Format: novel, hardbound (also available as eBook, paperback and audiobook)
Pages: 541 (Waterstones Edition)
Trigger Warnings: arranged marriage, substance abuse (alcohol, mention of drugs), mention of suicide and suicidal thoughts, rape, derogatory name calling, sex, deals with the “devil”.
☾ the synopsis
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.
☾ the characters
Addie is desperate and in her mid twenties when she flees from her own wedding and accidentally calls upon one of the gods who answer after dark.
She strikes a deal with him – a deal for a life in freedom, until she is done with her soul.
And with that deal begins a game with the dark. A game that sends her into New York in 2014, where, having nothing, Addie finally finds something, or rather someone: Henry.
And Henry remembers her.
Henry is heartbroken when he strikes his deal with the darkness: He wants to be loved by everybody.
The darkness gives Henry a year before it will come and reap Henry’s soul.
When Henry meets Addie, he knows she is different, but still, his deal with the devil comes to haunt him.
Addie leaves him the moment he has to uphold his end of the deal – but not, before having told him her story.
Luc – that’s what Addie calls the darkness, her god who answers after dark.
Luc is handsome, tall, has green eyes, a sharp face and black locks, but his human appearance is a facade for what he actually is: a mighty being who doesn’t deal with trinkets, as Addie learns in her desperation, but in souls.
Addie gives hers willingly, and without sparing a second thought.
But Luc wants more than her soul. He wants her, and so, in his want, he chases her until he has her.
☾ the world building
The book is set in multiple periods and cities, but a majority of it is set in New York in 2014.
In her memories, and storytelling, Addie recounts events in the 18th and 19th century, back when she was suffering under the consequences of the deal she struck, and she takes the reader to Villon, Le Mans, Paris, Munich and many other places.
And sometimes, when Henry isn’t, Luc is at her side.
☾ what i liked about this book
I loved everything.
I loved the characters – and especially Luc, he is my type of villain – I loved the world-building and I loved the writing.
The whole book was lush thread woven into a story that was so brilliant I find myself unable to find words for how it made me feel.
Addie definitely has a way of making you fall in love with life, and Luc and Henry have a way of teaching you to appreciate what you have, and what you will miss if you throw life away.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue definitely feels like a self-help book for the depressed disguised into one of the best novels that I have ever read.
I can’t say this often enough about a book, but again, I find myself lost for words.
☾ what i disliked about this book
There should have been trigger warnings.
Yes, this is a book meant for adults, but I don’t want to imagine what it is like to have to read about Addie getting raped and being called names as a person wjho has been raped and called names in the process.
As someone who has not experienced this, it is easy to put it off as a social norm that was harsh reality in the 18th century, but the people who have experienced this, shouldn’t be exposed to it in a book without a warning beforehand.
Also, as mentioned in a disclaimer above, BIPoC readers have said that this book is white-washing society and history.
Again: As a caucasian person, I cannot speak on this matter, because it is easy for me to overlook such a thing as this.
However, if you are a BIPoC looking to read this book, I would still advise you to find somebody (or multiple people, even) who has read this book and shares your experiences so that they can tell you how they felt about this issue.
While I cannot speak on it, I acknowledge these issues.
☾ should you read this book?
I think it’s a book everyone should pick up if they can – that is, if they are not sensitive to the things this book mentions.
As I said, this book has shown me, in a very magical way, how beautiful life is, and how little you have to do to appreciate it – and furthermore, how important it is that you don’t throw it away or offer it to a dark being in exchange for something else.
I regret not reading it when I first got my hands on it – but then again, maybe the fact that I waited so long makes me appreciate it even more.
I have to say, I have read Goethe’s Faust, and I wasn’t a fan, and when I heard that this book was about Faustian bargains, I was very skeptical. But, if I could pick betweeen Luc and Mephisto, I would pick Luc any day – even though, or be it because, he wants my soul.