⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Pros: queer characters, magic and mysticism, lovable main character who went through so much, love I rooted for, a story I believed in
I admit, when I first downloaded this via the Libby app on audiobook and saw that it was like 16 hours long, I was like "Oh, I won't be doing this." I had only heard this book mentioned in passing and seen it on shelves in bookstores; I knew nothing about the plot, the author, etc. I was basing my lack of interest purely on laziness in the moment. I am a mood reader, sue me.
Once I finally started the book, I was almost instantly sucked into the story. However, since I was less than eager to start it, I only got a fraction of the way in before my loan expired and I wouldn't be able to renew it for several weeks. Devastation. However, I figured that would make it the perfect book for our April book club read so that is exactly what I did! Let's talk about one of my new favorite books of all time: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
TW: MENTAL ILLNESS, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS/ATTEMPTS, DEATH
The book starts out with Addie, desperate to escape an arranged marriage in 18th century France. She runs off into the woods, calls out to someone, anyone, to save her from this life she wants no part of. She wants to be free, answer to no one, belong to no one. Little did she know, someone was listening.
It is then, that we meet Luc, a deity/demon/god in the darkness who is willing to make a deal. The deal? She can live a thousand lives, be immortal and have to answer to no one, belong to no one. The catch? She will be instantly forgotten the moment she is out of sight and her soul belongs to Luc whenever she decides she is tired of living an invisible life.
If this wasn't enough to hook me initially, the writing would've kept me there. Schwab's writing style was so effortlessly beautiful, immersive, emotional. I instantly believed in Addie, her story, her life.
SPOILERS AHEAD; CLICK HERE TO SKIP THEM
I want to talk about some of my favorite parts of this book and outline some of the talking points we discussed at the book club meeting too. Everyone really enjoyed this book so I could the month of April as a huge success, especially when compared to the first book we read together.
One of the first talking points I had was "would you take this deal?" My answer was 100% yes. I may have tried to word it differently, hindsight and all, but as someone who has a deep fear of dying before I'm "done", the idea of getting to live forever and once I am tired I can relinquish... yeah, sign me up please.
Obviously, I loved Addie and I loved the way she moved through the world, surviving as best she could, never backing down from Luc.
Luc was a great antagonist that you love to hate. I would absolutely read a book all about him, his story and the endless dark deals he's made through time. I wanted more of him in this book once it became clear he was going to keep coming around and messing with Addie, he was just very well written, very intriguing.
Speaking of their affair, I felt like it was definitely enemies to lovers to enemies again. One of my book friends mentioned Stockholm Syndrome but I didn't fully agree. I think it was definitely more of a relationship of convenience; he was the only consistent thing in her long life and she was lonely and I think he probably was too. What do you think?
On the topic of relationships of convenience, another discussion was directed at Henry and Addie's love. Did you believe it was true love or just another form of a relationship of convenience? It all happened so fast but I believed it, I was thrilled when he recognized her in the book store.
When Addie began talking about Luc and keeping Henry away from him, hoping Luc wouldn't know that there had been some sort of oversight... I became suspicious immediately. I know that was partially just wishful thinking on her part, but she had to know that Luc was everywhere, seeing everything all the time. There was no way to hide Henry from him and I knew that immediately. I also knew that Luc probably had a hand in it in some way. The boy who exuded everything everyone wanted. The girl who wanted to be remembered. Yeah, he was involved.
One of my favorite parts of this book is that the characters are queer in the most normal way. I have read a lot of queer books over the years and in nearly all of them, you get the spiel: "I was always this way" or "I knew from an early age I liked women/men" etc. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was so freaking great to read this book where the characters are just queer and no tangent to explain why is necessary. It was written as normally as heterosexuality and my queer little heart sang. I'm told this is a common thing in V.E. Schwab books and to that I say BRAVO and thank you.
My other favorite part was that even though Addie was doomed to be forgotten, her spirit, her essence, her energy transcended time through art. How effing beautiful is that? She was the blur in a photograph, the familiar face in a painting, the feeling you get when you hear a certain song. She was an eternal muse to everyone who loved her, no matter how brief, and that was so damn lovely I could cry and probably will.
YOU'VE REACHED THE SAFE ZONE
Addie LaRue is a new favorite book of mine for sure, I kind of knew that even before the book really got started. It was just a feeling. A girl forgotten, a story remembered forever. I had the best time reading this, I gasped, I cried, I ached. I fully plan to explore more work from V.E. Schwab - even though fantasy isn't my genre. To that, V.E. said, hold my drink. Also, there is apparently a movie in the works? Excited doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling.
Also, please enjoy my GoodReads review and follow me there if you'd like! This review is a great summary of all the things I plan to discuss at length below.