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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Kindle Edition
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
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Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, NPR, Slate, and Oprah Magazine
#1 Library Reads Pick—October 2020
#1 Indie Next Pick—October 2020
BOOK OF THE YEAR (2020) FINALIST—Book of The Month Club
A “Best Of” Book From: Oprah Mag * CNN * Amazon * Amazon Editors * NPR * Goodreads * Bustle * PopSugar * BuzzFeed * Barnes & Noble * Kirkus Reviews * Lambda Literary * Nerdette * The Nerd Daily * Polygon * Library Reads * io9 * Smart Bitches Trashy Books * LiteraryHub * Medium * BookBub * The Mary Sue * Chicago Tribune * NY Daily News * SyFy Wire * Powells.com * Bookish * Book Riot * Library Reads Voter Favorite *
In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.
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.
Also by V. E. Schwab
Shades of Magic
A Darker Shade of Magic
A Gathering of Shadows
A Conjuring of Light
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Praise for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue:
"For someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality."
-- Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and winner of multiple Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards
"Victoria Schwab sends you whirling through a dizzying kaleidoscopic adventure through centuries filled with love, loss, art and war -- all the while dazzling your senses with hundreds of tiny magical moments along the way. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue will enchant readers as deeply as its heroine's Faustian bargain; you will find yourself in quick turns both aching with heartbreak, and gleefully crowing at the truly delicious, wicked cleverness in store."
-- Naomi Novik, Nebula and Locus Award-winning author of Spinning Silver
"Addie Larue is a book perfectly suspended between darkness and light, myth and reality. [This novel] is--ironically--unforgettable." -- Hugo Award winner Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the kind of book you encounter only once in a lifetime. . . . A defiant, joyous rebellion against time, fate, and even death itself--and a powerful reminder that the only magic great enough to conquer all of it is love."-- Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M
Praise for the Shades of Magic series:
"Addictive and immersive, this series is a must-read." --Entertainment Weekly, Grade A, on A Gathering of Shadows
"A gem of a tale.... This is a book to treasure." --Deborah Harkness on A Darker Shade of Magic
"Compulsively readable.... With so many worlds on the map, there's plenty left to discover."--NPR on A Darker Shade of Magic
"Feels like a priceless object, brought from another, better world of fantasy books." --io9 on A Darker Shade of Magic--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B084357H23
- Publisher : Tor Books (October 6, 2020)
- Publication date : October 6, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 7091 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 434 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #24 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2022
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V. E. Schwab fills out this tale with vivid details of Addie's very long life wandering through the history of two continents, and the emotional impact of leaving no memory behind, only inspiring ideas here and there, like a classic muse... followed by meeting the one human being who CAN remember her, and give her more than evanescent love.
This novel was absorbing, and I intend to seek out other works by this author.
***“...it is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”***
Adeline longed for adventure as a child. She begged her father to travel with him and see the other cities and was allowed to until she reached an age when she should be thinking of other things like being a wife and mother. But Addie wanted so much more than that. On the day of a wedding she never wanted Addie makes a deal with one of the gods after dark. The gods of the night are not kind and the one she made a deal with wants her soul.
***“I am stronger than your god and older than your devil. I am the darkness between stars, and the roots beneath the earth. I am promise, and potential, and when it comes to playing games, I divine the rules, I set the pieces, and I choose when to play.”***
With a deal struck Addie will not age, she will feel pain but it will not stick, hunger but she will not waste away. Still the cruelty of it is that she cannot draw or write or do anything that might leave a mark on the word herself. She is forgotten by everyone around her and it will be just like that for three hundred years, until she meets a boy who says three words…I remember you.
This is much a character study more than anything else. We follow Addie in her life past and present to learn the full scope of her story. How she went from the child begging in the woods to the woman no one remembers. But Addie has found a way to leave her mark in songs, stories, drawings and paintings. She is the muse that is not remembered, not really but hinted at and almost captured in moments.
***“The first mark she left upon the world, long before she knew the truth, that ideas are so much wilder than memories, that they long and look for ways of taking root”***
The Dark has been her fickle companion through the years popping in to see if she is done with this life and ready to surrender her soul to him. Addie never falters, she never gives but he is the only one that remembers her and in her years alone she finds they are much the same. Let’s just say their relationship is complicated and full of history.
Henry, ah how I love our broken Henry. He is the first person in three-hundred years to see Addie and remember her. The only person that she can say her name to. Addie sees the real Henry too and it is something he hasn’t had for a while. I do love how broken yet sweet our Henry is.
***“I see someone who cares,” she says slowly. “Perhaps too much. Who feels too much. I see someone lost, and hungry. The kind of person who feels like they’re wasting away in a world full of food, because they can’t decide what they want.”***
Their love affair is sweet and doomed but all the best ones are.
Will this book be for you? That is a good question. I think the answer to that is if you are a more patient reader that loves to get lost in some great prose, interesting characters and don’t mind waiting for a story to slowly unfold, then certainly this could be for you. But if you are look for more things happening during the story then possibly not.
I have one and only one complaint for this and it is that I did want a little more time with Addie and the Dark together bantering and fighting throughout the years. Also, the ending may not sit well with everyone, but I thought it fitting. I think that it is how Addie feels at that moment but I remember the Dark is patient and will most likely change her mind down the road. Time for them is still vastly different.
***“What she needs are stories.
Stories are a way to preserve one's self. To be remembered. And to forget.
Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books.
Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.”***
I really enjoyed my read of this book. It has a lot of things that really work for me in stories. The ending while not perfect, fit well the situation and made me think. I think the Dark is going to surprise Addie once again.
Schwab does a masterful job conveying Addie's despair and frustration, her evolving phychological state, her cat-and-mouse games with Luc as she tries to assert her identity and existence. We feel her triumph when she learns how to bypass the rules of her universe. She feels more alive than some of the people around her. When she finally meets someone who can actually see her, new complications and emotions arise, and the reader wants to see how the situation will evolve. Nothing is predictable in this odd universe.
The only drawback I found was that the middle portion of the book seemed to drag with the introduction of Henry, and I had to keep moving forward before the momentum picked up again. Otherwise, this was a book that kept me wondering and anticipating until the very end.
This intriguing arrangement allows Addie to experience many historic events throughout her travels, but her curse also presents unique challenges and extreme loneliness. I primarily enjoyed the passages that find the heroine scrappily surviving what the world throws at her while finding artistic ways to leave her mark. Less enthralling was the continued reappearance of the “darkness” and the weird relationship that took me out of the story I was enjoying. I wish that had been dialed back a bit, but still, Addie’s journey is a fun and interesting one.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a very character driven book, and Addie as a character is wonderful, because she is flawed. She spends her life forgotten, and so she has picked up a lot of bad habits in order to survive. I really liked the fact that Addie is not perfect, because she is a reflection of human existence. She has gone through so much and yet never loses her love for art, or for life. She has goes through the best and worst of human existence, and still finds joy in the world. She finds something new, and I feel like we all need a bit of Addie in our lives to remind us that joy can be found in the strangest of places. There are so many incredible characters in this book, predominately Henry the person who remembers her and Luc, the devil who cursed her. But each person that Addie meets adds a new layer to the story, and a new outlook and insight into this world. Each chapter was a new exploration, a new idea, explored through encounters with the people surrounding Addie.
The plot seems like a simple ‘person sold their soul to the devil to live forever’ kind of story, but it is so much more than that. There is so much to this book, but it is best left discovered in your own time. This book starts slow, in that it slowly pulls you into its rhythm, flipping backwards and forwards in time between events that all build upon each other. This creates the feeling that it’s weaving you into the story, dropping hints here and there until you’re so caught up in what will happen next that you can’t think of much else and don’t want to stop reading. This is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time, and keeps haunting my thoughts.
‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue’ is thought provoking, and brings up a lot of thoughts about the nature of existence and what it means to live. Can we really live without making a mark on the world, or is it the impression we have on others that makes us real? I wasn’t expecting this book to raise a lot of philosophical questions, and make me rethink the nature of existence, relationship with art and the meaning of life but it did! It made me think a lot about my own insecurities about life, being forgotten and the nature of art and reality. I’m sure a lot of readers won’t be quite so plagued by these thoughts but they were such an important part of the book in my opinion and they have left an impression on me in the most interesting way! There’s also such a focus on art in the book, which ties the whole thing together in such a wonderful way. There was such a love of art that came across in the pages, it felt like a love letter to creativity at times, which I found really inspiring.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. It was beautiful, lyrical, incredibly written and haunting. It took me through such a range of emotions, and left me wanting more. The characters were fantastic, the story was gripping and it lived up to and then exceeded every one of my hopes. Schwab is a master storyteller and this is her best book to date. This book is special, fully of joy and I hope everyone who reads it loves it as much as I do.
Reviewed in Brazil 🇧🇷 on November 19, 2020
(A quick side note about the very poor editing. So many words missing, or extra words that I noticed. And continuity errors! Just one example is that she drapes her coat over a kitchen chair, but later mentions that there are no kitchen chairs! Also, at one point she's talking with someone in the kitchen, then in the next sentence she stands from the bed??? It drove me mad!!!)
I love Addie LaRue. I am awestruck at the resilience and strength she has. If I were her, I'd have surrendered my soul to the devil on the first night is Paris. She has a hunger to live and be free that is intoxicating. And she's not the only character that I loved. Even the fleeting ones were deep and lovable.
The writing is so beautiful. I love Schwab's style! She pulls you into the scene and it's so easy to feel everything the characters are feeling. It's an emersive experience.
Plot is where the book stumbles a little for me. The main plot, Addie making a deal with a God for her soul and the other main plot points (which I won't spoil), is wonderful!!! I loved every second. But there were far, far too many bits in between. I think this book could have been at least 100 pages shorter and you'd still get the entire experience without the parts that drag and make you wonder why everyone is saying such wonderful things about this book!!
But you get past those parts, the main plot takes over and... I shattered. I completely shattered, I'm still crying, I may be crying for a while. It's absolutely devistating and yet stunningly beautiful. I will, happily, read this book again in a few year and still cry my eyes out! At least the second time I'll know to have tissues at the ready!
I have a couple more of the authors books on my shelf, unread, and I'm really looking forward to them now!
This was just a mesmerizing read, and easily my book of the year. I've never read anything from Schwab before, but was simply intrigued by the blurb for this book, however, if any of her other books are even half as good as this one, I would still be pleased. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is one of those rare reads that you know will stay with you for a long time, and reading it I just wanted to savour it. Indeed coming to the last few chapters I was almost bereft at knowing I would soon be leaving this world and these wonderful characters behind.
I have to say in some ways the book was not necessarily what I was expecting, but I loved it all the same. Whilst it does clearly have a fantasy element to it, the book is so much more than that, combining historical and contemporary fiction, together with romance. However, perhaps what surprised me most was just how reflective a read this was, in that it had an almost philosophical feel to it. It makes you ponder and pause. Furthermore, Schwab's writing was simply exquisite. I don't know if this is her usual style of writing, but it really suited the tone of the story. Every word seemed to have been perfectly chosen, every sentence crafted in such a way that it weighed. The prose itself flowed beautifully and was very evocative and lyrical in style.
The story itself spans about three hundred years with the chapters going back and forth, from Addie's early life, to her making this Faustian deal and learning to live with it, to chapters then set almost in the modern day, which is where Addie meets Henry, the man who can remember her. I thought this structure was really effective and kept the story moving, without ever being confusing, and I liked the New York setting for the contemporary aspects.
Of course when you've lived three hundred years, there's an awful lot of content to cover, and so Schwab has to be selective in terms of the parts of Addie's history that we witness and the parts that are left untold. I appreciate that some readers were a little disappointed by this and had perhaps expected the scope of the story to be wider in terms of the places Addie has travelled and the events she has witnessed through history. However, personally I appreciated the more personal story that Schwab was trying to tell, and thought she structured it well accordingly. It made sense to focus more on Addie's early years after the curse as that was when she struggled most to adapt to it, and whilst I would have loved to see Addie on her travels more, having the past narrative mostly in France worked for me, as it was the place Addie always still identified as home and so resonated with her character. Quite often we home in on Addie in the past on the anniversary of her curse, as this is when she most often interacts with Luc (the name she gives the God or Devil who cursed her), and again I thought this was an effective way of keeping the narrative moving forward and conveying their long standing history together.
Whilst I appreciated that Schwab was focused more on the implications of the curse and what Addie had lost, exploring themes such as identity, memory, loneliness and connecting with others as well as leaving a mark on the world, that is not to say that if Schwab ever decided to write a spin off book following Addie on her travels through time, I would not lap it up, as I would be intrigued to delve further into her thoughts on a changing world and experiencing different cultures.
Addie herself was such a memorable character, which of course is ironic, given that no-can can remember her. I loved her resilience and determined spirit, and that she just could not be broken no matter what happened to her and what she lost. She had such a zest for life, and it was easy to appreciate why she became a muse for so many artists, as her spirit just burned so brightly.
The other two central characters in the book are Luc and Henry, and in many ways they are the opposite of each other. Luc, for me, to begin with, was a little one-dimensional, however his character did develop as the story went on, and his relationship with Addie ultimately was very intriguingly drawn. There was an aspect of their relationship that was very compelling, with really interesting dynamics, and yet what I liked, was that whilst still acknowledging that fact and playing on it, Schwab never let the reader lose sight of the fact that this was an unhealthy dynamic. In many ways Luc and Addie represent a toxic and even abusive relationship, due to the fact that Luc always wields such power and is always in a position of control in comparison to Addie, and he uses that and manipulates it to his advantage. There were times when he was incredibly cruel, and yet as the story went on, you could see some change in him, and even some vulnerability, and actually by the story's end perhaps that power balance between them had shifted somewhat. Again there is scope for so much more here, in terms of where and how Schwab leaves the story, though this does work as a stand alone read too.
That leaves Henry, who was just the complete antidote to Luc's toxicity. What I like about this book, is that many authors may have left the focus on Addie and Luc's relationship (and I'm not sure if this is why some readers were again disappointed), but I personally really enjoyed what Henry brought to the story. He is the gentleness to Luc's cruelty, the light to his dark, a safe haven to Luc's unpredictability, and his story works so well interwoven as it is with Addie's. One of the things that Addie herself slowly acknowledges as the story goes on is that she is no longer really human, and given that fact, I think Henry is all the more important to the story, because he is so human. Henry encapsulates all our human fragilities and insecurities, as well as our huge capacity to love. His own arc in this story is such a touching one that Schwab renders really well, sensitively exploring subjects like depression and low self-esteem. However, combined with Addie's arc, this makes for something magical.
Some readers might find their romance a little 'cutesy', and certainly there is a quality to it that doesn't feel quite real necessarily, however, in the context of this story and the way their arcs intertwine and almost fit like pieces of a jigsaw together, for me they just worked. In the final chapter Addie herself reflects on their relationship as 'a gift. Time and memory, like lovers in a fable,' and I agreed with that sentiment. Their time together felt like a pause, a breath, in Addie's longer story, and they were able to complement each other and give the other what they needed in that time they had. Furthermore this relationship contrasted so well with Addie and Luc's, in that there was so much mutual respect and understanding there.
The nature of Addie's curse means that there are not too many other central players in the story, though to Schwab's credit she often managed to render characters who only had fleeting parts in the story, really well, such as Remy for instance and Estele. I also really liked the author's focus on how art in all its forms, can be this lasting imprint. Ultimately we're all forgotten, but in works of art, people live on and touch and influence others.
If you're the sort of reader who likes their books fast paced and action packed, then this definitely is not for you. However, if you don't mind something a little slower and character driven, then I would highly recommend this as book you can easily get lost in. Sometimes the story might seem a little repetitive, but I thought it suited the subject nature, at times having a deja vu feel, that Addie herself experiences so often. The last section of the story really raises the stakes and has this feel as if you're up against the clock (be warned you might need the tissues) and the ending itself was for me perfect.
Overall a very memorable and poignantly rendered story, that ponders on what it really means to live and to leave your mark.
Until one day, someone remembers her.
This book has been hyped all over Bookstagram. Whilst I did enjoy it. I do not think it is equal to the hype. Whilst loads of people say they cried at the end, I was indifferent.