Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Addie LaRue is expected to follow the same path taken by all other young girls in 1714: get married and have a family. Stifled by societal norms and desperate for her independence, she strikes a deal with the devil to live out her life answering to nobody but herself. But with every deal comes a price, and Addie’s curse is to be forgotten by everyone who ever meets her. Deeply moving and poignant, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue will make you laugh, cry, and most of all, fall in love with life and develop a perspective on happiness that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.
There is so much to adore about this novel – while I typically binge books that I enjoy, I found myself savoring every word and page, sometimes reading sentences over and over again. The plot itself is captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which fantasy elements were incorporated into the story; the balance between realism and magic felt perfect. Faustian narratives are far from novel, but Schwab manages to apply her own interpretation to the age-old archetype, creating a stunningly refreshing story that will go down as one of my favorites. Her writing is equally sublime, and every line is infused with so much craft and passion that it is impossible not to feel each moment with Addie. And truly, that is what makes this book so special: everything it makes you feel. It is nostalgic and thought-provoking, melancholic and at once joyous; the multiple dichotomies blend to truly elevate the reader’s emotional experience, and leaves you pondering the true meaning of human desire and satisfaction.
For how much I loved this book, there is not much that I would change. The storyline itself ebbs and flows, so there are certain sequences that progress very slowly. The first few chapters especially took a while for me to get through, and I was only unable to put it down once I read about 50% of the novel. Similarly, certain themes or ideas were reiterated often in moments where subtlety may have been more powerful, and felt a little repetitive. The ending is also somewhat predictable, but I loved it anyways.
I would highly recommend this novel to every reader – especially if you enjoy romance, fantasy, or historical fiction, as there is a little of each genre weaved into this tale. If you do not enjoy slower moving novels then this might prove more cumbersome as events do take time to unfold. Have you read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!