This can be an amazing book for some people, but sadly, I am not one of them. It was beautifully written, but the plot and characters felt lacking to me. It left me feeling kind of indifferent about the whole story. It is a low 3 stars for me.
I was doubtful going into this because I thought that the fantasy aspect would be quite small and because I thought that it might be a bit of a boring book when she is always forgotten and in that way not even able to form relationships. If it wasn’t for a book club, I don’t think I would have picked up this book on my own. I have seen some friends absolutely love it and others that were indeed a bit bored. I was curious to see into which category my thoughts would fall.
As you can probably tell from the title, this book is about Adeline (Addie) LaRue. She is a young women, living in a small village in France in 1714 when she makes a deal with the Darkness to get out of living a forced life. The terms of the deal turn out not as she expected and she now has to go through life and time, unable to leave a mark. Through her brief connections with different people, Addie keeps trying to make a difference, until one day, someone remembers her.
“Ideas are wilder than memories. They’re like weeds, always finding their way up.”
Right from the start I’m seeing again why I love Schwab’s writing so much. It is just the right amount of flowery writing and descriptions while still being straightforward enough for me to breeze through it. I get why so many people love this story, since it can really pull on your heartstrings, but I felt a bit indifferent about the whole thing, which matched my expectations.
I personally thing this book should not be labelled as fantasy. Just think about an avid fantasy reader who is strolling through the library and picking this book up because they loved the Shades of Magic series and think that more fantasy from this author is what they are getting. That must be a real bummer when they then get into it and basically find a contemporary with a tiny magical aspect to it. I’m personally not a big contemporary reader, but I least I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked this up.
The whole plot of the story wasn’t that memorable to me. Addie is making her way through time and through different places, but I must admit that I already forgot a lot about the things that happened and the people she met along the way. I did think that the chapters from the past were nicely interwoven with the chapters from the present and it added some nice reminders of certain things and also did a good job of explaining certain feelings Addie has about certain things that happen in the present because of her experiences in the past. About halfway through the book, a new POV is introduced and I personally think that the story really needed this. I related a lot more to this character than to Addie and enjoyed the fresh view on life that was seen through them. The plot that got introduced because of this was really obvious though. Though, it was clear from the first chapter in this new POV, how this person would be involved in the plot and what things would later on be revealed. This predictability was a big negative point for me.
Now let’s talk about these characters and the lack of depth I felt. As I expected, it is really hard to develop characters and character interactions when the main character is always forgotten. Even when someone does remember her, the interactions seem more out of necessity than out of emotional concern for each other. I felt like both characters were just addressing their own needs and not as much thinking of each other. The romance felt flat to me for that reason. There was a bit of queer rep, but this book was severely lacking in cultural representation even though there was so much opportunity for it. Also the worldbuilding had a lot more opportunity to be expanded in my opinion. We only see Addie in France and New York, while with all the time she has, she has never ventured out to other places when so much could have been done with that. This was a bit disappointing.
Overall, I’m feeling very neutral about this book. I think this can be a great book for the right person, but I am not that person. I need something more that just the characters to get me through a book. I need more plot to string things together and to keep me interested.
Let me know what you thought about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue in the comments.