Spoiler-Free Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue




    The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab is an adult historical fantasy novel. It follows a young woman named Addie LaRue who makes a deal with the devil on her supposed wedding night. Desperate to escape her confined life in a little town in France, she makes a deal allowing her to become immortal and live a life of freedom in exchange for her soul. This deal comes with an unexpected cost: everyone Addie meets will immediately forget her.  


Before diving into my review, please note that it is based on my opinion of the book. As you consider my thoughts, remember that you are allowed to have different feelings about this book. If you haven't read it yet, feel free to pick up a copy and form your own opinion on it. 

Content Warnings: Sexual Assault, Depression, Death, Attempted Suicide, Starvation, War, Alcohol Abuse, Abusive Relationship, Drugs.

Note: This book contains some mature and sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers, please proceed with caution.



    First, I just want to say that I completely understand why people might really enjoy this book and I don't want my review to take away from that. However, I personally did not connect with it on the same level and this review will just be sharing my experience reading this incredibly beloved book. I actually found the beginning of the book to be quite mysterious and it did capture my attention, despite how slow it was. The early chapters describing Addie's life and all the events that culminate in her making a deal with the devil were very well-written and really added to the narrative of the story. I definitely did appreciate the writing style and for this reason alone I might consider reading another V.E. Schwab book in the future, I just need some time away from The Invisible Life of Addie Larue first.

    However, despite the early promise I saw in this book, it really failed to deliver what it promised. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue was definitely a very introspective book and you can tell just how much V.E. Schwab put into this book which makes it all the more disappointing that it was such a let down. I think part of my problem coming into this book was that my expectations were too high and this greatly affected my personal reading experience. The pacing just seemed off throughout the entire book, and poor pacing is definitely starting to become a pet peeve of mine. I understand that the story was supposed to be a very slow-paced story that slowly built to a shocking climax which would make the journey worth it. It just did not deliver. I am generally a fan of atmospheric, slow-paced books -- as long as there is some compelling feature present, whether it is interesting characters, a profound message, etc. Schwab lacked these components and this made me question if I should continue reading the book multiple times. The catatonic pacing was present for about 90 to 95 percent of the book with the last 5 percent or so rushing to conclude the story which made it all but satisfying.

    The story really felt like it lacked meaningful development; this was a crucial issue which permeated through both the characters and the plot. Addie and Henry's character arcs really felt underdeveloped. Addie, for her part, lived for over 300 years and yet seems unchanged throughout all this time. This is no personal growth or internal changes that happen in Addie which makes her character stale and stagnant. I never felt at all invested in her character and the double edged sword in this story was the fact that everyone immediately forgot her. While this is the premise and backbone of the book, it also made Addie even less interesting as a character. We never really see any complex character dynamics (with a few exceptions) and this made the book drag on in a very painful way. Henry, on the other hand, had a personality that was as stale as paper -- there were a few meaningful, brief chapters that discussed his mental health issues and I wish the book had leaned a little more into that. Introducing Henry earlier into the story and really delving into his psyche and his backstory would have made the story more compelling and it would have made it easier to empathize with Henry's character. This just sadly seemed like a missed opportunity. By far the most compelling character in the story has to be Luc, his aura of mystery, biting comments, and disappearances/random appearances broke up some of the staleness in the story and added a layer of unpredictability to it. Despite the role he plays in the story, Luc still manages to come off as a conflicted, morally gray character -- often feeling more human-like than Addie or Henry.

    On a quick note, I just wanted to mention how much I appreciated the LGBTQ+ and specifically bisexual representation that was present in this book and how normalized this was. It wasn't a major component in the story but it was just naturally integrated into the characters as an aspect that was merely part of who they are! This book definitely has encouraged me to pick up more LGBTQ+ books in the future. I also appreciated the neurodiversity representation i. this book but I just wish that V.E. Schwab had expanded on it a bit more.

    Finally, I just wanted to briefly discuss just a few of the more glaring issues I had with the plot. The first thing that comes to mind is: why didn't Addie travel more? This is a serious question I asked myself multiple times throughout the book -- throughout the story we only hear mentions of her visiting western countries and major events that happened throughout Europe and the Americas. But for someone who lived over 300 years, why would she avoid travelling around Asia or Africa? This book just seems very white and eurocentric which definitely did not make it any more interesting to read. Again, this just feels like another major missed opportunity for this book. Travelling around the world would seemingly fit Addie's character since she was the girl who wanted to avoid getting married and wanted more time to live a grander life than the one she felt confined to as a woman in her time. The plot was very predictable and the climax of the story which should have made the slow pacing of the story pay off, was something that I saw coming from a mile away. 

    One final thought before I close out this review: it just occurred to me how similar the plot of this story feels to the movie "The Age of Adaline," starring Blake Lively. It feels a little bit like a poorly created knockoff of this movie which makes it even more disappointing. If you love the premise or the idea behind The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, I would recommend you watch "The Age of Adeline."

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy 

Publisher: Tor Books (Macmillan Publishing)


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