Published by Tor Books on October 6, 2020
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A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
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.
Bantering Books Review
I remember you.
A simple sentence. Three simple words.
Three simple, yet powerful, words.
Isn’t this what we all desire? To be remembered. To leave a mark upon someone or something, so that our lives will have meaning and purpose. It is what we, as humans, crave.
And it’s what our dear Adeline craves, most of all, in V.E. Schwab’s epic novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
The year is 1714 when we first meet Addie. She is 23, living on her parents’ farm in France, and unhappy because she has been set on a path that is not of her choosing. Desperate to alter the course of her life, Addie prays to the old gods to change her future, to alter the inevitable outcome that awaits her.
One god hears her plea. A god of darkness, who she will come to know as Luc. With him, she enters into a Faustian bargain — in exchange for her freedom and life everlasting, Addie will never be remembered by anyone. She will never be remembered for anything. She will be alone forever.
Until one day, 300 years later, when Addie walks into a bookshop in New York City. And meets Henry.
And Henry remembers.
I am broken. I feel raw and exposed.
Addie LaRue has touched my heart, my emotions, my soul. In a way that not many novels have in recent years. In a way that will linger for quite some time. Perhaps, never to disappear.
It’s a fantastical love story for the ages. A magical ode to the beauty of art. It’s a poignant tale of loneliness and longing, while being a testament to the importance of self-worth and identity.
And it’s utterly enchanting.
But I wasn’t so sure about it in the beginning. Addie LaRue starts off slowly. Very, very slowly. For the first 100 pages or so, my eyes were blurring, glazing over, and I wondered why I was not seeing in it what so many other readers saw.
I stayed the course, though. Addie, herself, held my attention as a character. I was fascinated by the clever premise of the story, and I was mesmerized by Schwab’s stunning prose. (And allow me to emphasize, stunning. Her writing is absolutely beautiful to behold, bordering on the poetic.) All this combined was reason enough for me to continue reading.
Also, being the loyal Schwab fan that I am, I just knew she would pull it off. I knew she would more than make up for the slow start and in the end, make it all worth my while.
And oh, did she ever. My payoff? Henry.
Kind, tender-hearted, gentle, Henry.
And I know that the novel is Addie’s story. She is the vivid star, the center of which all the action revolves. Her stubbornness, determination, and relentless will to survive are unmatched. She’s strong, yet vulnerable, and her yearning for love and remembrance of her life is sad and sobering to observe.
But for me, Addie LaRue is still more about Henry. He is the light that brightens the otherwise bleak narrative. His presence is what solidified my engagement in the story.
And due to the masterful intimacy of Schwab’s writing, she embedded me into his mind, so very deeply. I thoroughly connected with his character, even more so than I did with Addie, and that connection is what broke me. Henry cracked my heart, right down the middle, and the final scenes of the novel left me a sobbing, emotional mess.
I cried like I haven’t cried in years.
And Schwab rightfully deserves every one of my tears.
Trust me when I tell you that Addie LaRue is a reading experience unlike most others. The novel will captivate and move you. It is likely to wreck you.
And it will leave a mark, etched into your heart. To be remembered, always.