Wow – that’s the only word that comes to mind as I sit here reeling from finishing this book. What an incredible, unique, and beautiful story. I requested this on NetGalley solely based on the hype and being a fan of V.E. Schwab. I only vaguely knew the premise and I did not read the synopsis ahead of time so I went into it mostly blind.
This book reads completely differently than A Darker Shade of Magic series, which is my only experience reading V.E. Schwab. While I really enjoyed those books, they aren’t on my list of favorites. I would honestly, never know this is the same author. There is so much detail, so much nuance, and intrigue that it’s truly captivating in a way I don’t think I’ve experienced in a book before.
I’m not even sure how to articulate the writing style of this book- it’s simple, yet complicated. Personal yet aloof. Happy and yet very sad. I got the same feeling from this book that I did watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the first time – it’s something that’s so wonderful and still tinged with an overarching melancholy that you don’t wish to get out of. It left me feeling nostalgic and homesick for things I’ve never experienced and places I’ve never visited.
It’s a book truly filled with lots of juxtaposition. While I usually prefer books solely in chronological order – this one alternates between the (mostly) present and the long-ago past. We see the struggle Addie endured in the earlier years. The sadness, loneliness, and the heart-wrenching desperation that drove her to make a deal with the devil. But most importantly, we see her wildness and her ‘different-ness’. In the present, we see how her wildness has turned into resourcefulness and perseverance. We see that while she still experiences sadness and loneliness, it’s broken up by happiness and beauty. There are so many emotions readers will experience in this book and I think having the plot shift from past and present serves to keep the readers from feeling like they were thrown into a pit of despair right along with Addie (thank you for this).
Overall, the Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is anything but invisible or forgettable. It’s one of those books that just sticks with you and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. I’m confident it will become a staple in my collection and I see myself re-reading it when I feel reflective of my own life. Thank you for such a special and beautiful book.