The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Is a life worth living if it is spent alone? As we are faced with the growing truth that we are mortal I am sure at one time or another we have all fantasized about what we could do with time without end. I have often pondered what I would be willing to give up for even an extra fifty years of life on earth. In her most recent novel V.E. Schwab gives us the opportunity to dance through time as we follow young Addie LaRue. She exchanged her soul for a life without end, but it didn’t come without a price.
As Friedrich Neitzsche once said, “The devil is in the detail”. This is a lesson that Addie would have been wise to take to heart. Stifled and caged by her gender and rural surroundings of Villon-sur-Sarthe, France in 1714, Adeline dreamed of a life without obligation. A life full of wonder, new experiences, and the freedom of choice. It is this desire that leads her to be cursed by her own hand. She makes a deal with the devil to live until she is done with it. “You can have my soul when I don’t want it anymore,” she promises, and that’s all it takes to erase the life she had once known.
I love when something I read doesn’t spark a memory or a comparison to another book. That speaks to my soul as something wholly original that needs to be read. To be honest I have not read many fantasy novels that take place in our own world. I prefer to be transported to another world, but I knew within the first few chapters that this book was something different.
The best way I can describe it is a dance through time, seen through the eyes of Addie. As she navigates our modern world as something like a spectator, we are given a passport to her past. All of her 300 long years of life adding up to the final decision we see her make.
There are no large action sequences or epic battles, except perhaps the entanglement between Addie and the Devil for her soul. Even still the book moves. I was carried through the pages by the desire to see if her road would come to an end. Was this to be a story about the entirety of her life? Or just a snapshot of her struggle? As I read the last words, I found myself aching to know more, but not so much so that I was dissatisfied. I believe that to be the hallmark of a tale well told. I was and am still impressed by how beautifully this story was written. V.E. (Victoria) Schwab has gained a new fan.