The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is truly an original story.
So I’m not a fantasy reader. The closest I get to those kind of stories are the magical realism tales by Rebecca Serle and Matt Haig—a dash of it but not overwhelming. With reading the synopsis of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I though it would be in the same arena but it’s a bit more hardcore fantasy than what I’m used to. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, which I did, but it does go in a random direction that I didn’t expect.
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.
Oh man, this one is a tough one to review—the synopsis says very little on purpose and I don’t want to give anything away! However, I want to look more into the book to help give you an idea if it’s a right fit for you and your book club. I will say there is plenty to discuss with this. In fact, I’m hoping one of you reads this soon so I can talk about my spoiler thoughts!
The story follows Addie throughout her journey of 300 years. You learn exactly why she ends up in this situation but I have to say, it’s not like other time traveler type stories. The fact that she’s forgotten by everyone she meets is an extremely cruel touch. I was also a little worried it would get old but the author handled it in a very interesting way, especially when it comes to the present and a man remembers her name.
The story jumps from the present to the past and we do read about Addie’s journey throughout the decades. I wanted a bit more of how she survived in the past but the story is already lengthy so maybe it’s good that was left out.
Despite the length, I read this one pretty fast. I was so curious about how the man (named Henry) could possibly remember Addie’s name whenever no else could, well, except for one person—the one she made the deal with. Henry and Addie’s dynamic is really engaging and compelling. That’s truly the heartbeat of this story.
I wouldn’t let the length deter you on this one. But I think it comes down to how much fantasy can you take. If you like Time Traveler’s Wife and Life after Life, you’ll most likely enjoy this one. I will say, this one goes a bit more into a random direction than those though. If those type of stories aren’t your thing, I would pass on this one. I’m glad I read it to take a dip into a different genre. And it’s been a couple days since I’ve read this story and I’m still thinking about it.
Check out my book club questions here.