The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
Addie LaRue is cursed. She made a deal with the darkness, and for a life of immortality she was forgotten by all. But her stubbornness has kept her alive. Until one day she meets a boy who remembers her…
Blink and you’re twenty-eight, and everyone else is now a mile down the road, and you’re still trying to find it, and the irony is hardly lost on you that in wanting to live, to learn, to find yourself, you’ve gotten lost.
I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked this! I have a history of either feeling ambivalent or loving Schwab’s books, and this was one that had the ingredients of everything I despise (a boy, artsy fartsy shit, a 300-year-old woman who acts like a child, a plethora of Harry Potters with pale skin, black hair and green eyes) and yet mixed them into something enjoyable. And it’s a standalone!
Adeline (not the Blake Lively character, although similar vibes) only acted like a child around humans, but like herself with Luc, the devil character who was the real reason for this book being 5 stars because…he was every Darkling trope combined and yet this time it worked because he had real bite.
I still was incredibly annoyed by Henry (not by his storms though—fully related to those, was annoyed by everything else).
When everything slips through your fingers, you learn to savor the feel of nice things against your palm.
Anywho, after sitting on this for um, almost a month, I did knock it down to four stars
As I thought about it, I kept thinking back on how much like a cupcake this book was. Beautiful packaging. It just looks too good to consume. And then you take the first bite and you’re like, whew that’s sweet. And you eat it and it’s delicious and filling but twenty minutes you’re hungry again and feeling unsatisfied and you don’t know why.
I think I figured it out. Okay, I completely didn’t. And despite my enjoyment of this book I don’t think I’m going to dip my toe into VE Schwab’s waters anymore (yes, this is a weird metaphor. Go with it).
Because like a cupcake, this book drew me into the aesthetic.
Dark, delicious, forbidden. And yes I’m talking about Luc, who was just the most delightfully amoral devil (I still do love the ending).
“Henry has his father’s loose black curls, his mother’s gray-green eyes.”
But I remain turned off by the artsy fartsy lifestyle led by Henry and his woe-is-me-I’m-loved-by-all mentality. I’m tired of boys who look like Harry Potter and Penn Badgley (I initially wrote Ben Padgley and was like, no, that’s not right) had a baby and that baby was I-like-classic-books-and-have-no-personality Henry. Also, Henry is canonically Harry Potter. It’s in the text. I do feel strongly for his feeling of being adrift and his emotional swings to sorrow and heaviness. I feel those so, so strongly.
Then I was like, I don’t get Addie. Her life truly sucks and despite her constantly telling the reader of the wonders of the world, I kept wondering what they were. I didn’t see a lot of it beyond her suffering through everything and hooking up with artsy folks and being a muse with her weird freckles. I did like the commentary on art, though, and the thought of influence and ideas.
Also, I kept thinking about Blake Lively in Age of Adeline, and how Blake Lively and Penn Badgley got married in Gossip Girl and was this entire book just some weird fan-based Inception mash-up of the two???
Okay, this review is now hopelessly garbled and I apologize. My thoughts are everywhere.
On the one hand, I liked it (see final quote below) and on the other, I wasn’t bowled over by it. I loved Luc but was it because I loved the amoral assholery of him? The forbidden that called to Addie and made her love the unloveable? I did love how she was with him, her personality and how she let herself be old and unhuman and sassy in a way that she wasn’t with Henry.
And, okay, I did not like the ending. I mean, I liked one particular aspect of the ending, but not the meta part of the ending.
Overall, I really, really liked everything about the book except for Addie’s relationship with Henry. That just felt like such a weak point. There was no chemistry. No spark. It was only because he saw her and she saw him.
And that’s that for this gobbleyblech of a review! If you stayed through it this long, have a cookie!
He can tell that your heart’s not in it anymore, and he advises you to find another path, and he assures you that you’ll find your calling, but that’s the whole problem, you’ve never felt called to any one thing. There is no violent push in one direction, but a softer nudge in a hundred different ways, and now all of them feel out of reach.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.