Nearing her 23rd birthday in a small village, the Addie LaRue of 1714 wants nothing to do with her family’s plans to marry her to a widowed man nearly twice her age. Desperate to escape, Addie calls upon the gods, making a Faustian deal with a devil named Luc.
Addie won’t age. But she also won’t make an impact on the world nor will anyone she interacts with remember who she is. The deal runs out when grows weary and willingly surrenders her soul to Luc. But Addie didn’t count on the immediate heartbreak of her family instantly forgetting her, leaving her without a home and forced to find loopholes to make minor impressions upon the world for the next three hundred years.
Until one day, she wanders into a bookstore and meets Henry. And while stealing a book (Addie gets by stealing a lot of what she needs since people don’t recall her once she’s out of sight), Henry follows her and confronts her, saying the three words she’s been dying to hear for so long — “I remember you.”
V.E Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LeRue may be her finest work to date. A stand-alone fantasy love story that is sweeping, epic, and intensely personal. Seeing not only Addie but Henry’s story unfold is both spellbinding and heartbreaking. The character-driven narrative covers the gamut of emotion from the hope that Addie and Henry feel upon meeting each other to the overwhelming despair that the cards are stacked against them at multiple points in their lives. Seeing how even simple things like placing an order for food can sometimes be beyond Addie unless she has assistance or stays in sight of the person taking the order will remind you of the magic of everyday things.
Addie’s story is sweet, funny, heartbreaking, and completely compelling. Along the way, Schwab offers commentary about art and its place in our world as well as our human need to connect. You can’t help rooting for Addie and Henry (both separately and together) throughout the story. There are so many wonderful emotional beats to this story, all of them completely earned by Schwab.
As I said before, this may be the best thing she’s written so far. Which given how good her previous work has been is saying a great deal.
A new favorite and highly recommended.
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.