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.
I have never read a V.E Schwab book before. For the last few months everywhere I looked online people were talking about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I thought it must be a continuation in a series to have this much hype before its release so I didnt think much of it, just clicked on by, mentally resolving myself to start one of Schwabs established series soon.
Then one day I stumbled across a picture of the gorgeous US cover. The constellation of Addie’s seven freckles mapped out in shining gold. I read the synopsis and I immediately fell under Addie’s spell.
“…it is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”
I preordered a signed copy and waited in anticipation for the 6th of October. I collect books and spend a lot of time admiring exquisitely designed covers but when this little hardback arrived I was blown away. Every layer you unwrap reveals an even more beautiful piece beneath. The intricate shimmering dust jacket, the polished foiled design on the cover and the simple yet stunning artwork for the endpapers. It is breathtaking.
There is much to say about how beautiful this book is, but it is not just a pretty face. Have you ever met someone and just knew that there was something special about them?They have a soul much older and wiser than their age and seem to have reached a deep understanding for life that the rest of us are still blindly grasping for. That’s what this story is. An old soul.
Addie LaRue takes two of my favourite genres, historical fiction and fantasy and tells an enchanting story that spans decades and crosses continents.
Every time Addie closed a door behind her, I felt the overwhelming crush of sadness, knowing that whatever connection she had just made with another character was now over, that it had never even existed. Only Addie would remember these moments, collecting them like precious stones over a long and lonely life. Only first meetings, over and over, until her heart could not bare the pain of meeting that person for the first time once more.
It was tragic but inspiring to follow Addie’s haunting existence through the first half of the book. Imagining what it would be like to live forever without ever having your own home to live in or your own bed to sleep.
My own heart seemed to stop in that bookshop with those simple words. After 300 years, nothing would ever be the same.
This is Addie’s story and it does not pretend to be anything else. The two male characters are cleverly written and their stories woven together elegantly. But really, it is the simple moments of Addie living that matter. Finding her strength in the pages of books, feeling overwhelmed with emotion at her first visit to the opera or basking with the sun warming her skin and a cold glass of wine in her hand.
Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives – or to find strength in a very long one.
Schwab isnt subtle in how much she wants you to remember this book. From interviews I have read she is quite emotional about how much Addie and her story have meant to her over the last decade and I can see why. To me, this book is philosophical fiction. It pushes you to contemplate profound questions about what makes a life worth living if it has no meaningful connection and what does that look like in our own lives.
Addie LaRue is a special, once in a lifetime read and I implore you to pick up one of its stunning editions as soon as you can. After all, you never know when you may have to make a bargain with the devil for more time.
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
I remember Addie.