The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, a review

So I finally picked up The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I’ve heard so much about this book, both positive and negative. But I think one thing most can agree on is that the way this book was pitched? Really didn’t help it. It claims that it’s a love story between an immortal girl and the devil. It’s not.

The real concept of this book is a girl who gives up the ability to make a mark on the world in order to escape a forced marriage and live forever. We discover her learning how to deal with this cursed gift, how she learns to adapt her life to survive. I think that if Schwab had focused in on that more, then this could’ve been perfect.

I did love this book though, I shouldn’t have. It’s not a work of literature. There are a million and one flaws. And yet I genuinely struggled to put this book down every day and enjoyed it immensely. I just needed to know what was going to happen. How Addie was adapting.

One aspect that helped me on a pure reading bases was that the books chapters are short. And then switch between time periods. This means that the book feels fast paced, constantly keeping you on your toes, and because Addie learns to cope with her new life over time we also get a reprieve from the negatives of her early days in the positives of the later ones.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t all that much character development from Addie herself. I feel like everyone else involved changed, whether for better or worse, but she remained locked in her state. I’m not sure if this was intentional by Schwab as part of the curse, but if so I think it was the wrong choice. Also, when talking about the curse, Addie doesn’t age. That’s very convenient. Enough so that Schwab mentions it in the plot. Another thing that could be written off as being because the Devil loves Addie, but it’s just a little too easy.

I really enjoyed the secondary POV that we got to read from, Henry, the first person to recognise her in 300 years. He’s such a pure character, and learns so much about himself. His story is heartbreaking, in more ways than one. One of the things I didn’t like about this book is that Henry felt like he was supposed to supply Addie’s character progression. She uses him, or at least that’s how it felt to me.

The ending of this book was also fucking awful. It feels like it just came out of nowhere, simply because the book was pitched as “Addie ❤ Devil” and they had to make it fit somehow. This book was over 500 pages long and yet it she was insistent on this storyline it needed at least another 150 pages. It was sudden. It took away from all the character progression we thought we’d seen. It was just… so bad.

My last negative is that despite Addie exploring the world in her 300 years. Despite her being teleported (essentially) by the Devil to new locations at his whim, and her travelling herself through various different countries, exploring so much… she only ever went to predominantly white and western countries? Most of the people she speaks to are all white? I understand that as a white author Schwab won’t want to write over an own-voices author, but given this specific premise of travelling it just seems… wrong that she only went to western countries.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 7, Plot: 6, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 6, and Enjoyment: 9, which gives a score of 7.14 and a 4* rating. Which is weird.

Essentially, objectively this book is bad. But regardless of that I seem to have enjoyed the actual process of reading it. I have a feeling this is one I’m going to have to reread in the future to fully develop my feelings on it. Have you read this one? Please let me know which side you fell on!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: abusive relationship, alcohol abuse, assault (physical and sexual), death, depression, drugs, painful intercourse, prostitution, sexism, sexually explicit scenes, starvation, suicide (attempted), war.

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