Review | The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueTitle: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Rating: ★★★★★
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 6, 2020

“The old gods may be great, but they are neither kind nor merciful. They are fickle, unsteady as moonlight on water, or shadows in a storm. If you insist on calling them, take heed: be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price. And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”

If that doesn’t get you hyped for this story, I don’t know if will be your type of thing – but man was it everything I wanted and more!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a whimsical and meandering tale of spite, determination, human connection, and finding your place in the world. We follow Adeline LaRue who in 18th century France has little agency, but desperately seeks to be her own person – free to travel, explore, and answer to no one. But when an ill-worded bargain with an old god leaves Addie erased from the minds of everyone, she begins to carve out a space for herself in clever and unexpected ways.

I thought this story was so well-crafted and well-balanced, given the 300+ years of Addie’s life that has shaped her into the person we meet in her 2014 present time. While I do think I was a bit more captivated by the present, I thought there was a lot still worth exploring throughout the years – and it was a great was to see her relationship with Luc develop. And the atmosphere somehow managed to be consistent throughout all the timelines, creating a unifying feeling but still able to differentiate when in time we were.

Addie is easily one of my favorite characters I’ve encountered this year. I love her fortitude and cleverness. Though ‘out of sight, out of mind’ becomes a reality for Addie, she is able to find ways around the bargain and uses her charms and influence to help create and inspire art throughout history to leave an impression that she was here and had something to say. And seeing her learn and overcome the limitations of the bargain was incredibly powerful and heartbreaking all at once. But she refuses to give up and finds things worth living for – sometimes purely in spite of losing – and it gave me life.

The relationships in this story are all so layered and complex. We know from the very beginning that Addie and Luc’s dynamic is unbalanced and toxic. But there’s still an allure there and there’s an impossible to break connection between two people who genuinely know each other – while we’re still aware that he is the reason that no one else can know Addie. The power imbalance is strong, but through the years in subtle ways, Addie is able to claw some of her power back – and it was a joy to see. And even when the two seem closer, we can never trust if Luc means what he says, or if he just wants to win the game.

Conversely, Addie and Henry – the first person to remember her in over 300 years- have a more pure kindred connection that doesn’t have the passion and angst that Addie and Luc have. But there is a respect, admiration, and knowing between them that’s untainted by a power imbalance. And I just thought they were so sweet together. They had a warmth to their relationship, that would burn steady and comfortable over time, while Addie and Luc is a fire that would consume them both. While I don’t think either relationship is built on love, I think both give Addie things she needs and wants in her life.

This is truly Addie’s story and it’s a character study into perseverance. Everyone wants a connection, to be remembered, to leave their marks or inspire, and Addie – though forgotten and alone, finds ways to achieve everything she wants. And if that’s not a story we need in 2020, I don’t know what is.

“Belief is a bit like gravity. Enough people believe a thing, and it becomes as solid and real as the ground beneath your feet. But when you’re the only one holding on to an idea, a memory, a girl, it’s hard to keep it from floating away”.

Have you read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue? What were your thoughts? Share below!

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