Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab. Tor, 2020. 9780765387561. 448pp.

Adeline LaRue, born at the end of the 17th Century in Villon-sur-Sarthe, France, is not content with the village life ahead of her. She wants to travel and discover new things. She’s given some great advice: “Never pray to the gods who answer after dark.” Of course she doesn’t take it.

The darkness comes to her in the form of a handsome man she once drew, Luc, and they strike a bargain: when she’s done with her life, he can have her soul. She’s made a mistake; she’s immortal, but also erased from everyone’s memories as soon as she’s out of their sight.

Her eternal life is lonely. No one remembers her, but she’s finally free to wander the world. Her curse means she can’t put down roots or have a place of her own or really anything at all. She can’t leave a mark on the world in any medium (even stains she makes disappear), and she can’t tell any of her story or even her real name. And even when she can form a bond with others, even if she spends an entire day and night with them, they never remember her in the morning. (Her curse does make stealing fairly easy though.)

Luc tries to get her to give up over and over again, tempts her to give in and give him her soul. But art, and books in particular, give her the strength to go on. And so does pushing at the edge of her curse, trying to find subtle ways to leave evidence of her existence in the world.

And then one day Addie meets a young man who remembers her, and to whom she can tell her story. It’s a love story tinged with the inevitability of loss and the return of Addie’s loneliness, and it’s told in parallel with stories of Luc trying to seduce Addie again and again.


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