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V. E. Schwab's THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE - An Impossible Choice

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

book cover of V. E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Thanks to Partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the first book I’ve read by V. E. Schwab . . . I’ll definitely be reading more. What a brilliant, compelling, gorgeous novel.

Adeline LaRue, born in France in 1691, is happy in her quiet life with her parents. Her doting father loves to teach her art and writing, and while her mother is less affectionate, Adeline knows that she cares for her. She loves her friend Estele, the village eccentric (primarily because she’s an old, unmarried woman) who freely shares her wisdom with her young friend. Addie’s life changes, however, when, at twelve, she’s told that she can no longer go to town because she’s not a little girl any more. From this time on, the path of her future narrows until, in 1714 at age 23, she makes a deal that changes everything.

Faced with an unwanted marriage, Addie calls on the gods to help her escape. The god who answers is one of the old gods against whom Estele has warned her, but, desperate, Addie shakes off her caution and agrees to an exchange she does not fully understand.

The consequence is a life of invisibility. Addie can interact with people, but as soon as she is out of their sight, they forget her. There are no exceptions—not her parents, not Estele, not her friend from childhood. She can’t affect the world, can’t make a change for better or worse, can’t say or write her own name. She is a ghost in her own life.

What does she gain? Immortality. Imperviousness to lasting pain or illness. Freedom.

And so Addie travels through the centuries, through Europe and across the ocean, until she reaches New York City in 2014. The narrative alternates between Addie’s history and her life in the present-day of the book. Her only constants are her freedom and the old god—she calls him Luc—with whom she made the deal, the old god who waits for her to grow so tired of a life unseen that she’ll give him the soul she promised in exchange for her freedom.

Addie’s path is a winding one, and the novel’s twists and turns are gorgeous and unexpected. I had a hard time putting this one down, drawn completely into Addie’s story. I recommend pre-ordering The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and I can’t wait to read more of Schwab’s work.

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