In One Word

In One Word, The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is…

invisible life of addie larue

  • First published in 2020 by Titan Books
  • Format: Audiobook
    • Narrator: Julia Whelan
    • Listening Speed: 1.25x and then 1.5x for the last few hours
  • Listening Time: 5 introspective days

Mournful

  • Matched this up with the Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt ‘a book set in multiple countries. This book isn’t just set in all the countries Addie LaRue has visited in her long life but in multiple centuries as well. For, Addie LaRue has done a deal with a god who answered after dark. She can live an extraordinary life forever but the price is that, as soon as someone loses sight of her, they forget she ever existed. She has drifted through the centuries, haunted by her god/demon/spirit, and has found a way to survive being forgotten every day. That is, until a young bookseller named Henry Strauss tells her ‘I remember you’.
  • Offering up bisexual representation and mental illness representation which definitely earned the book a few points. I kind of wish more had been made of the bisexuality (e.g. how the character overcame her upbringing and realised it was natural) but the mental illness representation was done incredibly well.
  • Unparalleled writing style. There are lots of quotable lines and great imagery. It makes the audiobook a pleasure to listen to. The word ‘palimpsest’ is used multiple times and to great effect. Switching to Henry’s POV was a little jarring at first but I warmed to it eventually. Like The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, it also uses the second person to go over a series of traumatic events to show the victim disconnecting themselves from what’s happening. The narrative also does a good job of instilling a nameless sense of dread in the reader, even when everything is going well for the characters. While you’re reading, you’re glad that the characters are happy but you’re haunted by the feeling that this is too good to last.
  • Rather preferred Addie over Henry though Henry wasn’t as whiny as he could have been. With such a life, it would have been easy to make him look ungrateful. To me, however, the author shows how things went too far very well and does a good job of making him a sympathetic character. He isn’t a spoiled brat, he’s a boy with frequent ‘storms’ of anxiety who isn’t getting the support or even the sympathy for his issues that he needs. I definitely prefer Addie for her determination and ingenuity to make a life for herself despite her curse
  • Not a lot of information is given on Luc, the one Addie did a deal with. The reader is left feeling unsure of even what he is. Is he an old god? Is he the devil? Is he a fae spirit whose deals always backfire on the other party? Who knows? We don’t even know the limits of his powers or how much he knows about Addie’s actions (until it’s way too late). We only learn a few little hints about his influence over the rest of the whole but everything else is kept deliberately blank to amp up the menace and creeping dread that he could appear any moment to ruin things. By contrast, the rest of the world building is done splendidly. The real world is vivid but the magical parts are kept deliberately vague and scary.
  • Fair warning, the pacing is pretty slow all the way through. I can understand why people would lose patience with it. As for me, it was only the characters and only the great style that kept me going until the end, even when I was frustrated at the fact the story wasn’t going anywhere fast. The story, itself, is constantly switching back and forth between past and present too. Each time, the book shows a different but parallel event going on in different points of the timeline e.g. showing Addie struggled to find shelter for the night in the past compared to the many places she could go in the present. That worked very well in this book as I think the story would have been much more disorganised if it had opted for a chronological timeline. Still, if you don’t like timelines hopping back and forth or a story-light book, this one might not be for you.
  • Unconvinced by the romances for the most part. One grew on me after a while but the other didn’t convince me at all. Thankfully, the latter was represented exactly how it is – an unhealthy relationship born simply out of lack of choice. No spoilers over which one that is!
  • Left breathless by the ending. I did guess at how it might end and, while I was in the right ballpark, it still threw me a curveball. Overall, while I didn’t like how slow the story was, I did like the characters and the writing style a lot. This is one of those books, I think, where you just have to give it a go and make up your own mind. You may be pleasantly surprised like I was.

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you agree with my rating? Can you think of a better word to describe it? Please let me know with a like, share or comment.

2 thoughts on “In One Word, The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is…”

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