Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab // VBC Book Rec

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
V.E. Schwab
Published: Oct. 6, 2020 (Tor)
Purchase at: Amazon or Bookshop
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

On the day of her wedding in 1714 Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil (literally and figuratively). Addie wants to be free. She wants to grow out of the small French village in which she was born. She wants to explore the world without constraints. Bartering her soul for her freedom, what Addie doesn’t realize is that every word has power.

Addie will come to know that the Darkness (later known as Luc) takes Addie’s choice of words “freedom without constraints” to make her near invisible to the world. She cannot speak her name or tell her story. If someone leaves a room or turns away from Addie, she is quickly forgotten, but she is free. Erased. Invisible.

Then, Addie meets Henry who works in a book store. While trying to exchange a book she lifted from the store the previous day, she’s shocked at realization that Henry remembers Addie, he sees her. For the first time in nearly three hundred years Addie has a voice.

I’m finding it a bit difficult to truly convey my feelings for this book, this story, without giving too much away. There’s so much I want to talk about. V.E. Schwab has constructed a beautiful story that’s full of heartbreak yet is, oddly, also very hopeful and speaks to the strength of the human spirit.

Centering on Addie as she recounts her past and current present, V.E. Schwab fully conveys this suffocating feeling of not being able to speak ones truth. Of being overlooked, or quite literally forgotten. Of any formed relationship being relegated to one-sided and having to be rebuilt day after day after day. It seems so exhausting and there were plenty of times when Addie echoes this sentiment.

The really shining thing about this book is Addie’s perseverance. Visited by Luc on nearly every anniversary of their deal, he repeatedly tries to get her to give over her soul to him, to call it quits. Ever stubborn, Addie will not give him the satisfaction and what begins as a battle of wills between the two, devolves into Addie learning that maybe she doesn’t need her voice, she just needs an idea and she needs time—which she has in abundance.  

Seeing Addie thwart the Darkness’s rules in seemingly minute ways, witnessing those small instances having a larger overall impact was absolutely brilliant and beautiful. When Addie meets Henry, the only other being—besides Luc—who remembers her, I had tears of joy for Addie. But I couldn’t in good conscience call their relationship romantic. I think they were each other’s saving graces and while true love could possibly form from that, I don’t think we see such a thing within the pages of this book. Only deep regard and affection.

This contrasts nicely with her relationship with Luc—the only constant in her life for all these years. I think V.E. Schwab played his ambiguity quite nicely. He remains a mystery throughout, one that I really want to crack, but this is Addie’s story and she’s playing her own game where they’re concerned, and honestly I’m 100% Team Addie.

If you’ve read V.E. (Victoria) Schwab, you know to expect wonderful settings, writing, characters, etc. This doesn’t change with Addie LaRue. But having finished I can say with real honesty that Addie is no longer invisible to me. I see her. I hope you will too.  

Sexual Content: References to sex, kissing, references to attempted sexual assault

Content Warning: References to suicide

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