The premise behind The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab had me hooked. A woman makes a deal with an evil god to essentially live forever. But one day a man comes along and changes the three hundred years of life she’s lived forever.
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You can’t tell me that the premise behind The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue doesn’t intrigue you. It instantly made me think of the film The Age of Adaline which is based around a woman who gets involved in a car crash but doesn’t die and then doesn’t seem to age again. However, she meets a man and desperately wants to grow old with him and die with him. The book is similar to that but not quite as romantic and extended out for a longer amount of time.
Plot – 4.5/5
In the 1700s, Addie LaRue sees her life going nowhere and so out of desperation makes a deal with an evil god to not die until she’s ready to leave this earth. She doesn’t want to die not feeling like she’s accomplished everything she can. However, the deal soon sees her become invisible – no one will ever remember her once they’ve turned their back. Everybody forgets Addie LaRue and so she’s almost a ghost, living throughout history with no one ever knowing she existed.
We are then taken on two journeys – one that focuses on Addie’s experiences after she first finds out about her new curse and the other during the modern-day (set in 2014) where she meets Henry. Without going into too many spoilers – Henry is different to anyone else she’s ever met before and she soon realises this and realises that she’s ready for the curse to end.
I liked the plot of this book quite a bit – I think the premise was well executed as were shown two adjacent storylines – one back in the 1700s in France and Addie’s adaptation of her new curse and then modern-day where she’s mastered it, accepts it and uses it to her advantage. There’s a twist in the middle that I genuinely wasn’t expecting and a couple of moments that had me gripped. This was an average length book but I managed to finish it in just a few days as I was hooked to listening to it (unfortunately I didn’t have the physical or eBook copies). Also, in typical V.E. Schwab fashion, it’s brilliantly written but also very accessible to younger readers.
Characters – 3.5/5
One area that falls a little flat in this book is the characters. Unfortunately, I felt that in trying to make this approachable to younger audiences (despite some of the raunchy scenes) it made some of the characters a little plain and dull. Addie herself wasn’t particularly funny or witty, despite how long her life has been and some of the horrible things she’s seen, her personality is still quite dry. She’s not overly retrospective, she’s not particularly wise or profound as a result of the many years. She does regularly discuss how things that happen to her in the 2014 setting remind her of things that happened in the 1700s settings. But this doesn’t really make her feel like a wisened person.
The other two main characters are Henry and “Luke” who is bred from the evil god she makes the deal with. Luke regularly pops up to taunt her, ask her how bad life is etc but we soon realise there’s more going on than this simple taunting. He’s cruel and cringey – as a lot of the men are in these sort of books, unfortunately. Henry on the other hand is a little more light-hearted – he has passions, interests and dislikes things – making him one of the more built characters in this book. Without spoiling too much, a huge part of his personality becomes the focus for the book too.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue summary – 4/5
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book I desperately wanted to like more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, however, I feel like by trying to intertwine some weak love story elements into it, it lost sight of its potential. This could have been a book about all the incredible things Addie has seen – the life lessons she’s learned through the centuries, the incredible historic moments she’s witnessed. But instead, it’s a story about love – and not very interestingly (not as well done as the Age of Adaline – ironically Addie’s original, full name.)
Read this if you’re a hopeless romantic or read this if you have an interest in historical fiction.