❝ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴇᴄʜᴏᴇꜱ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴀʀᴇ ᴀ ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇ ❞ — ʟᴜᴄ, ᴛʜᴇ ɪɴᴠɪꜱɪʙʟᴇ ʟɪꜰᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴀᴅᴅɪᴇ ʟᴀʀᴜᴇ
ꜱᴏᴍᴇ ꜱᴘᴏɪʟᴇʀꜱ ɪɴ ᴛʜɪꜱ ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ.
ᴄᴡ: ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, ᴠɪᴏʟᴇɴᴄᴇ, ꜱᴛᴀʀᴠᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴀᴛᴛᴇᴍᴘᴛᴇᴅ ꜱᴜɪᴄɪᴅᴇ, ᴘʀᴏꜱᴛɪᴛᴜᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴛᴏᴋᴇɴɪꜱᴍ, ꜱᴇxɪꜱᴍ, ꜱᴇʟꜰ-ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀᴛɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇᴄʀᴇᴀᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ᴅʀᴜɢꜱ ᴜꜱᴇ, ᴘʜʏꜱɪᴄᴀʟ ᴀɴᴅ ꜱᴇxᴜᴀʟ ᴀꜱꜱᴀᴜʟᴛ, ᴀʙᴜꜱɪᴠᴇ ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴏɴꜱʜɪᴘ, ᴍɪꜱʜᴀɴᴅʟᴇᴅ ʀᴇᴘʀᴇꜱᴇɴᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏꜰ ᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʟ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ
In France, 1714, Estelle told Addie LeRau not to pray to Old Gods at night. But when the light dissolved into the darkness between her desperate prayer, Addie had called on the Devil itself. She struck a deal that allowed her a lifetime to live, but no gifts came without a price. Addie LaRue is cursed to be forgotten. She would be invisible—a ghost making her way through centuries of sexual encounters, self-pity, attempts at planting ideas about her existence, and repetition of her seven star-shaped freckles. She refused her soul to the Devil no matter how hard he made her curse for her. And one day, three hundred years later, a man named Henry remembers her face—and her name.
The official synopsis of this book on Goodreads is a scam. There is nothing ‘extraordinary’ about Addie’s life, nor does she have a ‘dazzling adventure across continents, history, and art.’ One true thing, though, is that the story does play out across centuries of her life, the flashbacks chapters alternating with the present time—2014. There’s so much to unpack here that it’s hard to keep it brief.
Token POC checklist: A Jewish male lead and his black best friend who doesn’t contribute to the plot.
Besides that, there were 4 to 5 LGBTQA+ characters (including both the leads) whose queerness was summed up by the people they had sex with.
Addie LeRue is a forward-thinking, freedom-seeking girl living in early 18th Century France. She’s not like other girls, you see. She doesn’t want to be married. She looks down on other women who follow the norm and is in a constant state of self-pity even after she’s gifted a lifetime of living. Sure, it’s sad that she’s forgotten, and it can be lonely—but she doesn’t fail to remind us how sorry we’re supposed to feel (I don’t) for her over and over again. Repetition is a problem in this book. Addie narrates 3 centuries of her life—an attempt to get someone to sympathize with her situation while she works towards planting ideas to remind the world she exists. Seven star-shaped freckles, the string of sexual encounters that always end up the same, Luc (the Devil) visiting her to retrieve her soul, and how hard it was for her gets boring.
Are you telling me that Addie’s lived for 3 centuries only to name-dropped a few people in history, briefly mention she worked as a spy during the world war, and spend 2 of those centuries in Europe? The POTENTIAL this book had to do so much more. There was so much history to explore, so many places to go, so many languages to learn besides the ones in the confines of Europe, so many POC historical figures to meet instead of white racist ones, and so many chances at adventures. But no, she wallowed in her loneliness and paved the way for predictable twists and ending.
Henry’s introduction only added to the list of problems this book already has. He’s a boring main character. To give him dimension, the author throws in some mishandled mental health representation, struggle with addiction, a rejected marriage proposal that has Henry spiraling and needing so badly to be enough. I’m in no way minimizing his feelings on this, but I think it was mishandled, and [SPOILER] his problems vanished when he made a deal with the Devil. Addie was only drawn to him because he could remember her name (even that was Luc’s doing) [SPOILER OVER]. It did not feel like love. And it wasn’t.
The Invisible Life of Addie Le Rue was a huge miss, packed with unexplored potential that would’ve made reading this book worthwhile. It was my first book by V.E Schwab, and I was disappointed after hearing such good things about this book. I like her lyrical writing—but even that couldn’t save the book for me.