Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
Writer(s): V.E. Schwab.
Publisher: Tor Books.
Format: Advance Digital Review Copy.
Release Date: October 6th, 2020.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Passion has a way of blurring our rational minds, of pushing us into longing for our most impulsive desires, of breaking us down into vulnerable creatures anxious for comfort, harmony, care, and joy. It is such an intrinsically powerful state that doesn’t seize to overwhelm us on a sudden whim but grows with the appetite of a famished beast. It is during these devastating moments that we spew out our minds with our most-haunting prayers, hoping that someone would hear us, that someone would reach out into our miserable lives to console us with hope, with answers, with solace. But you know what they say: “Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.” Bestselling author V. E. Schwab now returns with an intimate tale of love, loss, and remembrance that testifies to her astounding writing prowess in the literary realm.
What is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue about? In 1714, there was a young lady by the name of Adeline LaRue, born and raised in a stone house just beyond an old yew tree in Villon-sur-Sarthe, France. On the day of her marriage, crushed down by the weight of the expectations set by her parents Jean and Marthe, she succumbs to a desperate desire to escape this life she’s forced into, to be free of these chains, and to make one last attempt to be heard by the new or old gods, even if it meant that only the darkness would answer. And the darkness does, as Addie LaRue makes a Faustian bargain that will leave her cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets but to also live forever. Throughout centuries, she thus embarks on a journey through time where she will have to overcome the obstacles born from her predicament, until, 300 years later, she stumbles into a young man in a hidden bookstore who stuns her with the impossible: he remembers her.
Told through two distinct timelines, one exploring Adeline LaRue’s odyssey through three centuries as she learns the ropes around her bargain with the darkness, and another set in a modern period where the impossible strikes her conscious and presents her with a reality she had never fathomed before, this story is unequivocally author V.E. Schwab’s most intimate chef d’oeuvre. Painted with raw emotions, she offers readers the chance to plunge into the life of a character who’s existence is intangible, one who has witnessed human nature’s complexity firsthand while repeatedly tormented by the darkness that lingers around her, gnawing at her soul as she’s reminded of her loneliness, her fading resolve, and her inability to live. Bathing in a narrative that also serves as a love letter to art and its many forms, whether it’s paintings, music, or literature, the story also strives towards illustrating the immortality of an idea, the suffocating strength of its grasp on our mind, on our memory, and on our life.
Whether it’s the concept of immortality or damnation, author V.E. Schwab delivers a stark and tightly-knit self-contained story that never forgets the ideas on which it is all built on. However, it is her compelling and authentic characters that make this story grow on you from the very first moment that her characters are introduced. Flawed to the core yet unquestionably human through their choices and their behaviours, it is stunning to watch these characters attempt to forge their identities as they embrace the consequences of their decisions and quickly understand the fragility of their lives.
Demonstrating an outstanding ability with words, author V.E. Schwab also never stumbles throughout this story, allowing every single word to magically capture the tone of the story, the atmosphere of each era, and the emotions of her characters. Veiled in darkness, this story will remind you to never take anything for granted, that every instant is precious, that everything you do will leave an impression somewhere, somehow. Nevertheless, author V.E. Schwab will tuck you under a snug blanket of happiness, of love, of longing, of remembering. She will remind you that even if all you see is darkness, there will always be light, somewhere, somehow. You just have to look hard enough.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a visceral and striking cautionary tale that explores the intrinsic and complex nature of love, life, and memories.